Thursday, 26 July 2007

Thames Gateway Bridge

Yes I know, a little bit out of my area but I confess a professional interest in this project as well as my local interest. The government has decided to reopen the public inquiry, thereby postponing a decision on whether or not to build this major bridge. They say that they want to further investigate information that has come to light since the inquiry closed last year, but it's just a fudge. The inspector recommended that the bridge should not be built. He said that the case for building it - that it would stimulate regeneration in the Thames Gateway - had not been sufficiently proven to outweigh the disadvantages.

The report says: "In my view, the key to this is the economic regeneration benefits claimed for the scheme. If they had been robustly shown, they might have been sufficient to tip the balance. But I do not consider the evidence to be strong enough or reliable enough to outweigh substantially the disbenefits of the scheme in terms of increased traffic, reduced safety, increased air pollution, and a shift against walking, cycling and public transport, in favour of the private car."

The environmentalists have got a very strong point on this; there is no way that Ken can promote this scheme while claiming to be trying to reduce pollution etc through congestion charging in central London. It can only serve to generate additional traffic and increase pollution in what is already one of the worst polluted boroughs in - is it the UK?

Just so you know - I DO support the congestion charge, I DO use public transport almost every day, I also cycle and walk regularly, and I also own a car!


Anonymous said...

This is good news and I hope a nail in the coffin for the Thames Gateway Bridge. One of the budget concessions that Greens on the GLA insisted on as part of their deal with Ken Livingstone was £50,000 to allow those campaigning against the bridge to commission expert research (a tiny amount compared to the money that has been spent promoting the bridge). I like to think that this was significant in enabling strong arguments against the bridge to be made and heard.

Brockley Nick said...

By that rationale, why not just knock down every bridge and tunnel in London so no-one can go anywhere, thereby reducing traffic at a stroke? I support the congestion charge, cycle to work and drive a car. I also used to live by the Blackwall Tunnel and know to my cost how inadequate that infrastructure is.

It's a bridge, so that people can get across the river, without driving all the way to Dartford or joining the traffic jams at Blackwall Tunnel. Furthermore, it would have provided new options for buses and cycle lanes.

This is a terrible result in my opinion. East London is blighted by the lack of routes across the river, compared with the west. This delay just compounds the problem.

Knit Nurse said...

Yes Nick, west London has many more river crossings than east. And the levels of congestion are at least as bad.

Brockley Nick said...

Levels of congestion on river crossings in west london? No way are they as bad. But anyway, the main differences are that if one bridge is blocked in west london, it's a few mins to the next one. And people don't have to do massive detours in their journeys to get across. As a result, both sides of the river relate to eachother properly. North and south east london feel like completely different cities.