Blackwall Tunnel Tidal Flow (Supplementary) [1]

Session date: 
May 21, 2008
Question By: 
John Biggs
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


John Biggs (AM): I have the privilege of representing the good people of Poplar, among other places, who live around the northern exit of the Blackwall Tunnel and who suffer horrendous problems of air quality and congestion as a result of that being the only crossing within Greater London down river from Rotherhithe. There are very real concerns. You need to understand that there are concerns about the continued over congestion of the Blackwall Tunnel and that simply reintroducing contra flow is merely a stopgap. It may itself have severe health and safety problems and you will obviously need to take advice on that.

My question is: will you agree with me that the problems at Blackwall, if they do nothing else, emphasise the vital importance of building another river crossing for road traffic, notwithstanding the environmental concerns, and that there is a certain problem with - and I do appreciate and respect people's concerns about this - with the intense concerns of the people of Bexley about the Thames River Crossing on the one hand, and the same concerns of those people that they should have untrammelled access through the Blackwall Tunnel? Do you recognise that as Mayor you have hard choices and do you recognise that if you stop the reopened inquiry into the Thames River Crossing you will be extending, by several years definitely, the opening date of another road crossing of the Thames in East London and what are you going to do about that?

Supplementary To: 


Answer for Blackwall Tunnel Tidal Flow (Supplementary) [1]

Answer for Blackwall Tunnel Tidal Flow (Supplementary) [1]

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Let me make absolutely clear that I am not opposed to another Thames river crossing. That should be common ground. As I said earlier on, I am not convinced about the current site and the arguments there. My overall objective is to make sure that traffic flows more smoothly where that is reasonable and achievable and I do think it is achievable in the Blackwall Tunnel. One thing you could consider - and I throw it out just as something for you to fall upon like harpies or whatever other things fall upon things - what about the idea of, for instance, deciding that we did not want HGVs to go through the Blackwall Tunnel. Might that not be a way forward?

John Biggs (AM): I am pleased that you have started receiving the advice that looks at the options for that. I would repeat the point then that there is a risk that making a manifesto decision on the other river crossing may delay by three, four, five, six years to 2020, way into your fifth term or something, the opening of another crossing and I would emphasise the real nuisance, pollution, congestion and economic damage that is caused to London by not having a crossing there. I am pleased that you agree with that but I would like to talk to you, perhaps privately, further about how we take this forward.

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): John, I understand you are making these points sincerely and I am sure that you do represent the views of people who have elected you and I will take that on board and I will try to come up with a solution that squares the circle. In all these transport problems you have winners and losers and the name of the game is to maximise the number of winners.