...By Larry John for TDPel Media.
The Silvertown tunnel, a controversial £2bn PFI scheme proposed by Mayor Sadiq Khan, has been unexpectedly listed as an “exemplar” project in London Councils’ new framework for boosting the city’s economy.
Alongside extensions of the Elizabeth line and the Bakerloo line, the tunnel aims to enhance London’s infrastructure and connectivity.
However, eco campaigners view it as an “inner-city motorway” that could exacerbate air pollution.
Despite opposition from Newham and Greenwich councils, the tunnel’s inclusion in the framework comes as a surprise.
Strategic Priorities and Varied Support:
London Councils has identified 67 projects as “strategic priorities” for the capital.
While not all boroughs may support each project, they are recognized as valuable at a pan-London level.
The Bakerloo line extension, which would connect Elephant and Castle to Lewisham, has long been a desired expansion, but the lack of funds has hindered its progress.
The successful implementation of the Elizabeth line has led to calls for an extension of services from Abbey Wood to Ebbsfleet.
In addition to the Silvertown tunnel, other notable projects designated as “Londonwide exemplars” include the West London Orbital rail route, the HS2 high-speed line to Euston (currently paused due to financial constraints), and the DLR extension to Thamesmead.
These initiatives aim to enhance transportation infrastructure and connectivity across the city.
Empowering London with Devolved Powers:
London Councils advocates for greater devolution of power to the capital to facilitate the successful delivery of these projects.
They believe that increased autonomy will enable the realization of their shared vision for a prosperous, inclusive, and sustainable London.
The inclusion of the Silvertown tunnel in London Councils’ framework underscores the organization’s commitment to promoting infrastructure investment and driving economic growth in the city.
Despite opposition and concerns, the framework aims to prioritize projects that have a significant impact at a pan-London level.
As London Councils seeks greater devolved powers, they envision a future where collaboration among boroughs propels London towards a more prosperous, inclusive, and sustainable future.