Greenwich Tory candidate comes out for Silvertown Tunnel

Essex boys: Alex Wilson, Matt Hartley, Thomas Turrell, Harry Methley and James Worron hit the campaign trail in Thurrock

Essex boys: Alex Wilson, Matt Hartley, Thomas Turrell, Harry Methley and James Worron hit the campaign trail in Thurrock

Greenwich & Woolwich’s Conservative candidate Matt Hartley has come out in favour of the Silvertown Tunnel, the same day he helped canvass for a MP who supports the controversial road scheme.

Hartley revealed his support for the tunnel in a blog post discussing last week’s council scrutiny meeting with officials from Transport for London and rail operator Southeastern.

“I support the Silvertown Tunnel in principle with two significant caveats,” he wrote.

“That TfL make a stronger case over how it intends to mitigate the environmental impact, and that the tunnel brings with it a significant public transport element to address congestion concerns (namely, bringing the DLR to Eltham as Greenwich Conservatives have long been lobbying for).”

When asked on Twitter if he’d withdraw his support if TfL didn’t come up with the goods, he didn’t respond.

Hartley’s comments came the same day he and a team from Greenwich Conservatives went to Essex to help canvass for Thurrock MP Jackie Doyle-Price, who claims the Silvertown Tunnel is “desperately needed” to alleviate problems at the Dartford Crossing.

Doyle-Price objects to a new crossing between Dartford and Thurrock on the grounds that it will cause more congestion and pollution in the area – precisely the same flaw the Silvertown proposal suffers from.

TfL admits the Silvertown Tunnel will increase traffic levels by 20%, while deputy mayor Isabel Dedring told MPs last month that its river crossings proposals could see traffic on local roads double.

There is also a strong body of evidence linking road-building to generating traffic, a phenomenon known as “induced traffic”.

Hartley’s position is much the same as Labour-run Greenwich Council, which has added a long set of caveats to its past unconditional support for the crossing.

But it’s unclear quite how the environmental impact of building a new road can be mitigated beyond planting a few token trees, while a report suppressed by Greenwich Council concluded that a DLR extension along the A102 would not be feasible unless it only ran as far as Kidbrooke. TfL has also said it is unwilling to back an Eltham DLR link.

Labour candidate Matt Pennycook has previously indicated his doubts about the Silvertown Tunnel scheme; Green candidate Abbey Akinoshun has said he is opposed, although the local party has left campaigning on the issue to colleagues at City Hall.

The Liberal Democrats are also opposed, althouh the local party is in such disarray it has not yet selected a Greenwich & Woolwich candidate. It is not known what Ukip candidate Ryan Acty thinks of the scheme.

(See also: Silvertown Tunnel: The perils of the path of least resistance)

2 comments

  1. Paul C

    Disarray? Not at all, we’ve just been piloting a cutting edge ‘driverless campaign’ for HQ. However, the results have been disappointing so we’ll be going back to the classic format and announcing a candidate shortly.

  2. Shivanee

    Why are Greenwich Conservatives spending their efforts in Essex, they should be out talking to people on the the streets of Greenwich. One could be forgiven for thinking the Conservatives and Lib Dems don’t even have a branch here. If they can’t be bothered to even try or field candidates, are they in a position to complain about the lack of democratic accountability of Greenwich Labour Party?

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