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  • hilly 11:08 am on January 9, 2014
    Tags: , Free Ferry, , ,   

    The Infungibility of Trees 

    A path through Oxleas Wood

    A path through Oxleas Wood

    Last July was the 20th anniversary of People Against the River Crossing‘s victory in its campaign to save Oxleas Wood from a six lane motorway, yet it still seems that the woods are not safe. The statement by badger-bashing Environment Secretary Owen Paterson that “clearing ancient woodland for houses and roads could be allowed as long as developers promise to plant 100 new trees for each ancient one felled” exacerbated my insecurity because the “Disneyland absurdity” of trying to recreate an ancient woodland was one of the key arguments PARC used to defend Oxleas.

    Fungible is one of my favourite words. It means interchangeable or freely exchangeable. For example a pound coin is fungible. If you lend someone a pound coin you would be happy to get any pound coin in return. People, obviously, are not fungible, though sometimes corporate bean-counting spreadsheet bashers behave as if they were.

    Are trees fungible? I don’t think so. At a simple level a 500 year old Oak tree is clearly not equivalent to a new sapling, and when you take into account the land where the tree is growing, its ecology and history, it is even more clear. When one side of the equation is a  hazel or chestnut tree whose shape has developed through centuries of coppicing, that is part of an 8000 year old woodland and that stands in a historic landscape that provided the raw materials for the construction of the Royal Navy’s great wooden ships, there should be no dispute. And what about rare trees like the Wild Service Tree that are found in few places in the UK, that are difficult to grow from seeds, reproducing through suckers from existing trees,  and that are indicators of an ancient woodland ecology. Irreplaceable.

    CBRD (Chris's British Road Directory) Google Earth overlay for Ringway 2

    CBRD (Chris’s British Road Directory) Google Earth overlay for Ringway 2

    This was the heart of the argument that the Oxleas Nine and PARC made to oppose the compulsory purchase orders for the roads to feed the East London River Crossing. The route through Oxleas Wood, Woodlands Farm and Plumstead was slightly to the east of Ringway 2,  shown on the snippet above taken from cbrd.co.uk web site’s superb UK roads database. The orders were for:

     A total of 101,713 square metres of land within the Eltham Park, Oxleas Wood and Falconwood Field area comprising:
    (a) 9,223 square metres of land in Eltham Park, on both sides of the railway line between Eltham and Falconwood British Rail stations; the main part extending east from the swimming pool on the south side of the railway and a small piece lying opposite the swimming pool to the north of the railway (Plot 1);
    (b) 29,777 square metres of land in Oxleas Wood, between Rochester Way in the north and the railway to the south; (Plot 2);
    (c) 9,393 square metres of land at Falconwood Field east of the junction between Rochester Way and Welling Way (Plot 3); and
    (d) 53,320 square metres of land in Oxleas Wood, extending in a wide strip northwards from Welling Way to Shooters Hill/Bellegrove Road (Plot 4),

    As David Black explains in “The Campaign to Save Oxleas Wood”, because the order included “land forming part of a common, open space or fuel or field garden allotment” there had to be land given in exchange that was equal in area and “equally advantageous to the public”. However the land proposed to be given in exchange was part of Woodlands Farm, which already provided some amenity to the public, and it would be fenced off for ten years to allow trees to grow and even then would not have the ecosystem and history accumulated over thousands of years of the woodlands it was to be exchanged for. The objectors argued that this was not equally advantageous to the public.

    The Environment Secretary seems to be saying that this is no longer a valid objection and that the only thing that matters is the number of trees planted.

    This is important because there are still proposals to construct a river crossing – ferry, bridge or tunnel – at the same place as the East London River Crossing. The reports from previous consultations admit that the road network south of the Thames is inadequate to support such a crossing, but doesn’t suggest how this can be rectified, other than a throwaway suggestion of “a tunnel south to the A2”. This is not a convincing suggestion. Elsewhere the report dismisses the option of a tunnel replacing the South Circular to Woolwich in part because it would be “the longest road tunnel in the UK by some margin”; a tunnel under Plumstead and Oxleas to the A2 would be far longer. Also the proposal for a tunnel under Oxleas Wood as part of the East London River Crossing scheme was dismissed on cost grounds, unless it were a cut-and-cover tunnel, which would destroy the ancient woodland anyway.

    The conclusion from the consultation about the replacement for the Woolwich Free Ferry  and the development of a new Silvertown Tunnel was that further work would be done and that for the Free Ferry options which include a new crossing at Gallions Reach a further consultation would be held at the end of last year. Presumably this has been delayed. TfL said:

    In the coming months we will undertake further work to determine the traffic, environmental and regeneration impacts and benefits of the possible new river crossings, building on the initial assessments we have undertaken to date. We anticipate a further consultation later this year on options for replacing the Woolwich Ferry, including the options recently consulted on, allowing stakeholders and members of the public to consider the findings of our impact assessment work and enabling a decision to be taken on a way forward in the summer 2014.

    TfL’s work on the traffic impacts of a Gallions Reach crossing will not, in my opinion, be complete unless they include a convincing, costed proposal for solving the inadequacies of the transport network south of the Thames that politicians commit to. Otherwise the additional traffic generated by the new crossing will overload local residential roads leading to pressure for new roads and a renewed threat to our heritage ancient woodland. It’ll be interesting to see whether TfL provide this as input to their promised new consultation.

    Are trees in ancient woodlands fungible? If you don’t think so there is a petition on 38 Degrees asking Owen Paterson to Save Our Ancient Woodland and to “stop the proposal under ‘Biodiversity Offsetting’ to allow the destruction of our Ancient Woodlands for building.”

    The pictures below show some of the flora of Oxleas Wood that we saw on Barry Gray’s Bluebell Walk last year. There are more photographs in a Flickr set, including Butchers Broom, Ladies Smock, Wood Sorrel, Wild Garlic and, of course, Bluebells.

    Leaf of Wild Service Tree in Oxleas Wood

    Leaf of Wild Service Tree in Oxleas Wood

    Stitchwort flowers in Oxleas Wood

    Stitchwort flowers in Oxleas Wood

    • Jo Lawbuary 12:49 pm on January 11, 2014

      what an excellent post. Biodiversity offsetting is possibly the most moronic of all the coalition’s policies. It shows their true intentions; as asset-strippers where a quick buck is to be valued above all else. I hope we don’t have to fight for Oxleas again.
      By the way, Oxleas also has Cretaegus laevigata -Midland hawthorn. Another ancient woodland indicator.
      Can you please add me to your mailing list. Thanks.

  • hilly 9:15 pm on May 8, 2013
    Tags: Free Ferry, , , ,   

    River Crossing Results 

    Woolwich Free Ferry at Sunset

    Woolwich Free Ferry at Sunset

    Transport for London have published the results of the River Crossings Consultation which they ran earlier in the year. It shows that more than 70% of respondents supported a Bridge or Tunnel at Gallions Reach (71%), and a tunnel between the Greenwich Peninsula and Silvertown (77%). Smaller numbers, just over 50%, supported a new ferry at Woolwich (51%) or Gallions Reach (52%).  The TfL diagram summarising the results is included below.

    Interestingly Greenwich was the borough with most respondents, 34% of the total replies came from the borough. Greenwich people showed the highest percentage level of support for a new ferry at Woolwich and the highest level of opposition to the Silvertown tunnel. Those from Bexley had the highest level of opposition to a ferry or bridge at Gallions Reach, with 25% strongly opposed to a bridge out of 31% expressing opposition. Not surprising given the anticipated appalling impact of increased traffic on narrow roads in the borough such as Knee Hill.

    Snippet from TfL Report on River Crossing Consultation

    What happens next? Well TfL will be considering the issues raised and will produce another report responding to them later in the summer. However they do give some indicative milestones. For the Woolwich/Gallions Ferry options they are:

    … the overall indicative milestones for progressing the review of Woolwich/Gallions Reach options are set out below:
    • April – September 2013: Traffic modelling, engineering, economic analysis and development potential, charging strategy and wider benefits
    • October – December 2013: Gallions Reach options consultation
    • March – April 2014: Presentation of Gallions Reach consultation to the Mayor
    • May 2014: Mayoral announcement on Gallions Reach preferred option
    • Future milestones depend on option chosen but, subject to funding, it is possible to implement a ferry by 2018 or a fixed-link by 2025

    And for the Silvertown tunnel:

    … the overall indicative milestones for progressing the Silvertown tunnel are set out below:
    • April 2013 – February 2014: Traffic modelling, engineering, economic analysis and development potential, charging strategy and wider benefits
    • March – May 2014: Preparation of DCO consultation for Silvertown tunnel
    • June – August 2014: Statutory public consultation on proposed DCO for the Silvertown tunnel (i.e. post decision on Gallions Reach which is planned for May 2014)
    • September – October 2014: Analysis of results of statutory consultation and presentation to Mayor
    • October 2014 – June 2015: Preparation of Environmental Statement and associated documents to submit DCO application to Mayor and Board for approval for submission
    • June 2015: Submit DCO application for Silvertown tunnel plus any additional consents required
    • June 2016: Commence procurement process with OJEU notice
    • December 2016: Decision by Secretary of State on Silvertown tunnel
    • July 2018: Contract award
    • 2018 – 2022: Silvertown tunnel construction

    If the Mayor gives the go-ahead the detailed analysis of the options – Traffic modelling, engineering, economic analysis and development potential, charging strategy and wider benefits – will be done by September this year for the eastern-most options and February next year for the Silvertown Tunnel. I suspect it is only then that the real debate can start.

    I won’t repeat what I think about the proposals, it’s been covered in previous posts, apart from one observation. On the Bluebell Walk through Oxleas Woods last weekend, in the midst of the historic cants of coppiced Hazels and Chestnuts deep in the wood , the walk leader Barry Gray pointed out an old metal tube sticking up a couple of feet out of the ground. This, he explained, was a relic of the water table analysis of the proposed route through the ancient woodland of a motorway from the A2 to a bridge at Gallions Reach. There seems to be a consensus that the roads leading to the Gallions crossing are inadequate for the expected traffic flows. If we’re not careful the woods will be threatened again.

    Oh, and of course it will be the end of the Free Ferry: the new crossings will all be tolled.

    River Thames at Gallions Reach

    River Thames at Gallions Reach

  • hilly 6:39 pm on March 5, 2013
    Tags: Free Ferry, , , ,   

    Cynical Consultations? 

    MOPAC  Draft Police and Crime Plan Front Cover

    MOPAC Draft Police and Crime Plan Front Cover

    Scene at King William Court, University of Greenwich:

    Question: Why are you reducing the size of the Safer Neighbourhood Teams?

    Answer: We’re increasing the number of police in the Safer Neighbourhood Teams.

    Later ….

    Question: The Safer Neighbourhood Teams work really well, why are you reducing their size?

    Answer: We’re increasing the number of police in the Safer Neighbourhood Teams.

    Later still ….

    Question: I’m against the reduction in the number of officers in the  Safer Neighbourhood Teams, why are you doing it?

    Answer: We’re increasing the number of police in the Safer Neighbourhood Teams.

    I felt a strange mixture of confusion and deja-vu  by the end of the Mayors Office on Policing And Crime (MOPAC) consultation event at the end of January. We had been told that each Safer Neighbourhood Team would be reduced in size from two police officers and three police community support officers (PCSOs) to one police officer and one PCSO. We had also been told that the number of officers allocated to SNTs in Greenwich would be increased by 88 (and that we should be grateful for that). Why the difference? No-one was saying, even after a direct question about how SNT resourcing works. It was quite easy for the panel to avoid questions because the chair had cunningly combined questions into groups of three before they were answered, so some questions just weren’t addressed. We did find out that the Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime had to attend a large number of consultation events (poor chap), but not what was so interesting on his mobile phone. We’re also going to have sheriffs apparently.  Hopefully the Sheriff of Shooters Hill won’t meet Robyn Hood in Oxleas Woods.

    I think what was being proposed was that each individual SNT would have fewer officers assigned permanently to it, but there would be a larger pool of officers who would be temporarily assigned to individual SNTs on an as needed basis. It would have been nice to learn how this would work in practice, but the consultation event was kept strictly to one hour, which wasn’t really enough to cover all the issues raised by the new Police and Crime Plan 2013-2017, which also proposes the closure of Woolwich and Greenwich police stations.

    The Consultation on the Police and Crime Plan 2013-2017 finishes tomorrow, 6th March 2013, so there’s not much time to register our views. There’s an on-line form for comments.

    A consultation has also started on the Draft Fifth London Safety Plan (LSP5) which, amongst other things, proposes the closure of 12 fire stations including Woolwich. Again there is an online survey to give our views, and we have until the 28 May 2013 to do so.

    Entertainment at the start of the Save Lewisham A&E March

    Entertainment at the start of the Save Lewisham A&E March

    The MOPAC consultation event made me wonder whether it was worth responding – will it make any difference if everyone says they don’t want police stations to close, or will they just go and do it anyway? There is a recent precedent with the consultation about the South London Healthcare NHS Trust and the proposal by the Trust Special Administrator to close  Accident and Emergency at Lewisham Hospital. Despite the majority of respondents saying they were against the proposal, and despite 25000 people marching through Lewisham to object, and despite nearly 35000 people signing a petition against the proposal,  the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Richard Streynsham Hunt,  decided to do it anyway.

    The Transport for London consultation about the Thames river crossings and the possible closure of the Woolwich Free Ferry seemed to be better than others inasmuch as their reports on previous public feedback suggested that some notice was being taken of our input. But now we hear that Greenwich Council is trying to get the power to build a bridge at Gallions Reach whatever we say and whatever TfL decide!

    What a lot of consultations!  And it can be quite hard work to respond to them: the TSA draft document about South London Healthcare  was some 373 pages of largely impenetrable management gobbledegook; not an easy read. Is it worth the effort when it seems that politicians treat the result so cynically? Yes, I think it is as it is one of the few ways possible to make our views known. But politicians shouldn’t complain about public disengagement with the political process, such as low turn out at elections, when they themselves fail to engage with the public when they get the opportunity.

    One last consultation to mention, as it will shape future planning decisions in Greenwich.  As the council’s e-mail about it said:

    Royal Greenwich is preparing a new planning policy document called the Core Strategy with Development Management Policies.  This document will replace the existing planning policies for the Borough (the Unitary Development Plan) and will be used by the Council to help shape development up to 2028.

    I found the Unitary Development Plan very useful as a means of making reasoned objections to proposed property developments –  it lays down the policies that the planners use to decide what can be built where – so it’s important that its replacement is suitable for the same role. As the Planning Consultation Portal says:

    When it is adopted, the Core Strategy with Development Management Policies will become the key strategic planning document for Royal Greenwich. It will be used to help shape development and determine all planning applications.

    Key features of the proposed strategy are explained in the latest draft document. They include:a significant number of new homes by 2028 the creation of two new mixed use urban quarters at Charlton Riverside and Greenwich Peninsula West. Strategic and development management policies will be used to guide development applications in the borough. These cover a range of topics such as open spaces, infrastructure and environment and climate change.

    Following previous public consultations on the Draft Core Strategy with Development Management Policies we are due to begin our 12 week consultation period on the Proposed Submission Version on the 19th February 2013.

    We have until 14th May 2013 to comment through the Planning Consultation Portal. You will need to register to be able to comment.

    Woolwich Fire Station _ London's oldest operational fire station

    Woolwich Fire Station – proposed for closure

    The Blue Lamp at Woolwich Police Station

    The Blue Lamp at Woolwich Police Station – also proposed for closure



  • hilly 4:51 pm on January 21, 2013
    Tags: Free Ferry, , , ,   

    Bridge Going Nowhere 

    The Ski Jump in Beckton

    The Ski Jump in Beckton

    The bridge going nowhere in the photo above is known as the ski jump.  It’s a section of road over in Beckton that was built in preparation for the Thames Gateway Bridge, but  currently leads to nowhere apart from a dangerous drop.  Maybe it’s a metaphor …

    I’ve been enjoying reading about the  various attempts to create a river crossing between Thamesmead and Beckton over the last few days. It’s a fascinating tale: from  the Ringway suggestion back in the 1930s which became Ringway 2 in the 1960s, then the East London River Crossing in the 1980s and 90s, the Thames Gateway Bridge early this century and now TfL’s Gallions Reach Ferry proposal and the Royal Borough of Greenwich’s campaign for a bridge.

    The historical background and  story of People Against the River Crossing is well told in David Black’s “The Campaign to Save Oxleas Wood” which details the inquiries and court cases, both UK and European, that eventually led in 1995 to the dropping of plans to put a motorway through Oxleas Wood and Plumstead and build the East London River Crossing. A group of local residents known as the Oxleas Nine risked financial ruin from  huge legal fees to appeal to the High Court against the compulsory purchase orders needed to allow the roads and crossings to be built.

    Unfortunately the documents relating to the 2005 Thames Gateway Bridge Public Enquiry are no longer available online, but those I have seen show a similar level of opposition from local residents concerned about issues such as the health effects of air pollution and the risk to Oxleas Wood from the need for improved road links to the A2.

    My reading about the bridge also led me to the Beckton ski jump. It can be seen circled in red on the Google Maps snippet below; it is also one of the possible routes for traffic to TfL’s proposed Gallions Reach Ferry.  Its other claim to fame is that it appeared in a car chase in the TV series Bugs, which culminated in a car driving off the end of the ski jump to explode in the waste land beyond. It’s on YouTube here, starting at about 46minutes in.

    Google Map snippet showing the Beckton ski jump

    Google Map snippet showing the Beckton ski jump

    The map also shows another complication to building a bridge here – the proximity and orientation of the runway at London City Airport, which limits the possible height of the bridge. Campaigners in favour of east London river crossings make much of the disparity in the number of crossings to the west and east of Tower Bridge. Two obvious reasons for the difference are that the Thames is wider the nearer it gets to the sea, and large ships sail up the Thames to Central London (and potentially to a cruise liner terminal in Greenwich). Consequently bridges need to be wider and higher and  are more expensive to build, which seems to lead to them having to carry more traffic. The artists impressions of the proposed Thames Gateway Bridge, below,  from TfL’s brochure show the likely size of a bridge at this location.

    Artists impressions of bridge from TfL's The Thames Gateway Bridge A new bridge for East London

    Artists impressions of bridge from TfL’s The Thames Gateway Bridge A new bridge for East London

    The required height of the bridge means that it has to have longer run-up roads so the overall length is much longer than just the distance across the river, making it very pedestrian unfriendly. Not to mention the high winds in the middle.

    When I started writing this post I intended to focus on traffic modelling. I’m not an expert, but it seems to me that changes to the road infrastructure need to consider the whole network because increasing capacity in one place will simply move the bottlenecks to somewhere else in the network, so improvements should be across multiple sites to try to even out the flows.  Also traffic management measures need to be included to discourage cars and lorries from small, residential roads. I’m still searching for some comprehensible detail on modelling, but I notice that the recently released East London River Crossings Assessment of Options mentions this issue and confirms my feelings about the impact that a Gallions Reach bridge would have on roads through Plumstead and Bexley:

    6.285. The modelling for TGB suggested that it would provide relief for the Blackwall tunnel as well as opening up new travel opportunities further to the east. However, a  key issue is that the road network on the southern side is much less developed than on the northern side, where the road would meet the grade separated A406 and A13 as well as linking (via the A406) to the M11.
    6.286. To the south, the road would meet the east-west South Thames Development Route, a useful distributor road along the southern side of the Thames, but this is lower capacity than the northern access routes, and is generally not grade separated, with congested junctions in Plumstead, Woolwich and Erith.
    6.287. Other routes on the southern side are poorer still, with the roads south into Bexley being largely two lane single carriageway roads, fronted by suburban housing. There was some strong local opposition to the scheme arising from concerns over the impacts in these areas. This led ultimately to the opposition of the London Borough of  Bexley to the scheme.

    This suggests that a ferry at Gallions Reach would be a better option than a bridge because there is a natural capacity limiting effect from a ferry  that will reduce the amount of traffic heading in that direction, though additional action to encourage traffic along suitable roads and away from smaller roads may be needed too. And by analogy with west London perhaps having many smaller scale crossings would be better than one or two  massive congestion generating grand projects like multi-lane bridges and tunnels; an argument in favour of  keeping the Woolwich Free Ferry as well as the new one. I’d be interested to see the results of traffic modelling with this scenario.

    Are there any other possibilities for small east London river crossings, I wonder, and what is the current state of technology for swing bridges?

    We have until 1st February to make any comments on the Transport for London  proposals using an online survey with just 14 questions, or by e-mail to rivercrossings@tfl.gov.uk. There is also an online petition against the Silvertown tunnel.

    Friends of the Earth have arranged two public meetings  about the crossings  – one north of the Thames tonight and another at the Forum in Greenwich next Monday, 28th. They e-mailed with the details:

    North side of the river:
    Monday 21 January 2013, 7-9 p.m.
    St Matthias Community Centre, 113 Poplar High Street, E14 OAE
    Nearest station: Poplar DLR
    South side of the river:
    Monday 28 January 2013, 6.30-8.30 p.m.
    Forum@Greenwich, Trafalgar Road, Greenwich, London SE10 9EQ
    Nearest station: Maze Hill station

    -Air Pollution expert Dr Ian Mudway of Kings College London
    -Transport expert John Elliott, Transport Consultant

    Underneath the ski jump at Beckton

    Underneath the ski jump at Beckton

    On top of the ski jump at Beckton

    On top of the ski jump at Beckton

  • hilly 5:43 pm on January 4, 2013
    Tags: Free Ferry, , , ,   

    River Crossings 

    Councillor Denise Hyland at the launch of Bridge the Gap

    Councillor Denise Hyland at the launch of Bridge the Gap

    The debate about new river Thames  crossings for east London has tended to focus on the proposal to construct a new Silvertown tunnel next to the Blackwall Tunnel. Objectors are concerned that increasing tunnel capacity while leaving unchanged  the roads that feed the tunnels, such as the A102 Blackwall Tunnel Approach, will lead to an increase in traffic jams and hence an increase in air pollution.  A No to Silvertown Tunnel campaign has been started and has launched a petition against the tunnel.

    However the proposal to replace the Woolwich Free Ferry with a new bridge at Gallions Reach could have an equally harmful effect on traffic and air quality in residential roads in the east of the Royal Borough of Greenwich, and in neighbouring Bexley. The Google Maps snippet below shows roughly where the proposed Gallions Reach crossing would be sited (there’s an official picture in a previous post). How will traffic get to this new crossing? The consultation documents express the view that “any new tunnel or bridge at Gallions Reach would be likely to be used mostly by local traffic” because most A2 traffic would head for the tunnels at Blackwall and Silvertown, but there is no backup for this view. Just looking at the map it seems equally possible that A2 traffic would leave the motorway at the Bexley or Danson exits and cut across to the new crossing – through residential streets, down narrow Knee Hill or through East Wickham and Plumstead. This seems especially likely if for some reason the tunnel route is closed.

    Google Maps snippet showing where the Gallions Reach Bridge would be

    Google Maps snippet showing where the Gallions Reach Bridge would be

    The Royal Borough of Greenwich Council is supporting the proposed new crossings, and prefers the option of a bridge at Gallions Reach rather than a ferry. Their Bridge the Gap campaign with Newham Council was launched today, without any trace of irony, near the 124 year old Woolwich Free Ferry which would be closed if the proposals go through. The council believe that building new river crossings is essential to promote economic growth in the borough and create jobs, and they also believe it will  reduce traffic congestion and air pollution. They are relying on Transport for London however for the detailed backup to the proposals such as a cost/benefit analysis and traffic modelling. At the launch Councillor Denise Hyland expected most traffic to approach a new Gallions Reach bridge via Western Way, and said she would oppose any future threat to Oxleas Wood from demand for additional traffic capacity between the A2 and the new bridge. I’m not so sure that future councillors would necessarily have the same opinion if faced with major congestion on small roads.

    Having sat in traffic queues at both the Woolwich Free Ferry and the Blackwall Tunnel I can sympathise with drivers who have to cross the river regularly, but until some more detailed work has been done on the impact of the new crossing on traffic volumes, including the effect on minor roads, it’s not clear that the proposed new crossings will actually solve the problem and may even make it worse because new roads often lead to increased traffic volumes.

    Opponents of the proposed crossings also came along to the Bridge the Gap launch, as you can see in the picture below and on the Kidbrooke Kite blog.

    Objectors at the launch of the Bridge the Gap campaign

    Objectors at the launch of the Bridge the Gap campaign

    The Transport for London consultation on the proposals continues until 1st February and we can make any comments on the proposals until then using an online survey with just 14 questions, or by e-mail to rivercrossings@tfl.gov.uk.

    Also the London Assembly Transport Committee  has arranged a seminar about TfL’s proposals next Wednesday, 9th January. Their e-mail about the seminar gave the details:

    Seminar on River Crossings
    We want to get people and organisations with different viewpoints to discus the need for additional river crossings in East London. A consultation, currently running, by Transport for London (TfL) is seeking views on options including a road tunnel between Silvertown and the Greenwich peninsula. It has also posed the idea of tolling the new tunnel and Blackwall Tunnel.
    This seminar will provide an opportunity to discuss whether there is a need for new river crossings in London, and to consider what options might be needed to address any need for additional capacity. Expert guests (see below) will be invited to raise some of the key issues that need to be taken into account and there will be an opportunity for members of the public to put forward their views and opinions.
    The guests who have been invited to take part are:
    • Michèle Dix, Managing Director, Planning, TfL
    • German Dector-Vega, London Director, Sustrans
    • John Dickie, Director of Strategy and Policy, London First
    • Richard Bourn, Traffic and Planning Campaigner, Campaign for Better Transport
    • David Quarmby, Chairman, RAC Foundation
    The seminar will be held from 2-4pm on Wednesday 9 January in the Chamber at City Hall (nearest Tube at London Bridge or Tower Hill). All are welcome to attend. It would be useful if you are able to register your attendance: transportcommittee@london.gov.uk or 020 7983 4206.

    • Stewart 6:34 pm on January 4, 2013

      Thanks for the great article focusing on the problems with the proposals to the east of the borough. While I recognise the need for more river crossings between Blackwall and Dartford, the solutions being offered do not stand up to scrutiny.

      Reassurances from Councillor Hyland that Oxleas Wood is safe and most traffic will approach from Western Way are disingenuous to say the least. At the last round of consultations on the borough “masterplans” last Spring it was stated that a medium to long-term aim would be to downgrade the A205 at John Wilson Street and the A206 at Woolwich High Street and Beresford Street in order to reintegrate the parts of Woolwich which are currently divided by major roads.

      If this is the case, how is traffic expected to get to Western Way from the South Circular? The only options I can see are to allow a sizeable increase in traffic along the commons, bulldoze through parts of Woolwich and Plumstead to link the Ha-Ha Road junction with the A206 at Burrage Road or go back to the plans to drive a motorway through ancient woodland. With the ongoing regeneration of Woolwich my money is on the latter and the cynic in me says that building an Equestrian Centre on protected Metropolitan Open Land is the first stage in turning greenfield to brown and making the planning process easier.

      Incidentally, a three-month consultation on the final borough Local Development Plan is due to start within weeks.

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