Silvertown build costs Khan backing from Friends of the Earth

The proposed Silvertown Tunnel will increase traffic in south-east London and undermine many of the Mayor’s other measures to improve the capital’s toxic air

The hugely polluting Silvertown Tunnel scheme, backed by both Labour’s Sadiq Khan and the Tories’ Shaun Bailey, could see both candidates in Thursday’s Mayor election lose the support of Londoners who are rightly concerned about the climate crisis and the capital’s toxic air.

Today, influential environmental group Friends of the Earth issued an assessment of the Labour and Conservative candidates’ policies and statements and found them both to be lacking.

Friends of the Earth has 2million members around the world. In a statement issued this morning, FoE said, “As a politically impartial group, our aim is to ensure all parties have the strongest possible policies on the environment. We will hold the next London Mayor and London Assembly – whoever that may be – to the promises they have made to us and the public through their manifestos and pledges.”

With just days until the election, neither Mayor Khan nor Bailey have signed up to the Friends of the Earth climate pledge.

Despite strong opposition from locals and environmental groups, who fear that the road tunnel will encourage much more motor traffic use and a resulting increased in air pollution across south-east London, construction work on the project has already begun on the Greenwich Peninsular site.

Sian Berry: Greens’ candidate gets support from Friends of the Earth policy assessment

“Concerned about London’s illegally toxic air, and the need to prioritise the climate emergency that the Mayor declared 28 months ago, Friends of the Earth local volunteer groups across London have rated the four main mayoral manifestos against Friends of the Earth’s 10-point Climate Action Plan for London,” they said.

The Green Party manifesto scored highest, at 31 out of a possible 36.

This was followed by Labour’s manifesto at 27.5, the Liberal Democrats on 18.5, and the Conservatives on a paltry 17.

“Whoever wins the election will need to push ahead to secure rapid cuts in carbon emissions from London,” Friends of the Earth member Tim Root said.

“This means getting stronger national policies, and much more funding for energy efficiency retrofits of existing homes in our city.

“We will continue to lobby the Mayor, whoever it is, to be as bold as possible, for example by scrapping Silvertown and introducing Smart Road Charging, and we will support them by lobbying central government for support.

“There were good points in all of the manifestos but we’d like to see a greater focus on ensuring those who are most at risk to the effects of climate change are put at the centre of decision making and aren’t pushed further into inequality, for example low-income and people from ethnic minority communities are already frequently in areas with the highest levels of pollution and most lacking in accessible green space.”

Key points from the manifesto audits include:

  • All the manifestos and candidates expressed support for climate action. But they differ widely in detail and commitment. For example, the Liberal Democrat manifesto had some good policies, including calling for scrapping of the proposed Silvertown Road Tunnel project, but was too short to address all the necessary policy areas. It is a LibDem council, in Sutton, that gave planning approval to the polluting Viridor incinerator.
  • The Green Party is clearly committed to radical action across the board on climate, and to involving people in that process. Friends of the Earth welcomes the proposals for helping workers in carbon-intense industries like aviation to transition into greener jobs.
  • Labour’s manifesto is based on years of developing and implementing policies for London. The commitment to protect the climate is strong but appears set to make a big error by going ahead with the Silvertown Tunnel that would increase emissions and waste £2billion that could go on green transport.
  • The Conservative manifesto also makes commitments on climate change, but neglects some policy areas, and would weaken some environmental protection like the extended Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) and Congestion Charge zone.

Read more: Greens’ Berry wants to end TfL’s unfair fares for outer London


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This entry was posted in 2021 London elections, Croydon Friends of the Earth, Environment, London Assembly, London-wide issues, Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, Shaun Bailey, Sian Berry, Waste incinerator and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Silvertown build costs Khan backing from Friends of the Earth

  1. Peter Underwood says:

    If you want green then you have to vote Green

  2. Ian Kierans says:

    Cant fault a person for banging the drum for their party and sounds a nice slogan, But I wonder what colour honesty? Do we have an honesty party? Do we have integrity in public office and especially non elected officials? Farage was bleating for 16 years about non elected officials and their antic’s in Europe. Not ea fan oh his parties but perhaps our political parties should be looking at the antic’s somewhat closer to home. So perhaps it would be better to campaign across all parties so that there is a united voice by all Councillors and other politicians and we all start selecting candidates that actually represent people and not vested interests? No matter a persons political hue we all want clean air for our health and our children so why has this not been a priority for either Tory or Labour whilst in power. It is not just Silvertown it is polluting incinerators waste disposal failure to enforce building codes and the massive cuts in the Pollution and other enforcement departments. Ask your candidates about those and listen to Simon and Garfunkal Sound of Silence whilst waiting for the reply!

  3. Lewis White says:

    The air in SE London along the Thames is well known as being of the lowest quality. The Thames creates a microclimate, affecting a zone from Deptord downstream to the Medway estuary. Pollution, (once from oil refineries and industry, now mainly from cars and vans), sits , not moving, for days.

    The real problem, it seems to me, is that once you have a new, open crossing, all manner of businesses on the “Essex side” will know that now can now easily get to the Kent side, so they can quote for jobs, and get there without being stick in a n hour long traffic jam. And Kentish firms, vice versa.

    So, more traffic is generated. Not just existing traffc spread out.

    More shopping trips from S to N and N to S.
    More people living on one side, and working on the other. Children being driven to school too.

    The grass on the other side of the river always seems greener.

    It’s sick. I really pity delivery drivers who will, after a year or so of enjoying the blissfully empty new crossing, gradually find that the word ets round the Tom Tom network, and they are joined by hundreds of thousands of fellow drivers per year, Then, back to jams, jams, new jams.

    Roll on, road taxing. Per mile. With a sensible yearly ration of untaxed miles for us all.

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