Tuesday 25 March 2014
Bridge East London Campaign launches to push for new river crossing
This morning London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) launched its Bridge East London campaign to call for a long overdue new river crossing east of Tower Bridge.
Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, Lord Andrew Adonis; Mayor of Newham, Sir Robin Wales and Chief Commercial Office for City Airport, Matthew Hall joined LCCI Chief Executive Colin Stanbridge at the University of East London to highlight the benefits that such a crossing could bring to some of the capital's most underdeveloped areas.
Lord Adonis said: "I have met almost no one who is against a bridge being built. People realise it will be transformational for east London.
"We need to get it on the agenda as something that is going to happen, not just have more consultations. What have we done in the last two generations to supplement the work of the great Victorians? We have three times proposed a bridge in east London and three times cancelled it.
"This is a no-brainer in political terms - we should just get on and do it."
Sir Robin Wales said: "In bringing development to an area, if we put the transport in, all sorts of stuff happens. The Olympics happened because the transport links were there, Westfield came to Stratford because of the links.
"Once again we are going to have to fight for something in east London that should be there - we are going to have to fight for a bridge that everyone wants and was ready to go six years ago.
"We clearly need a bridge, we need to make up for the losses caused by its delay and get on with it."
Matthew Hall said: "Without a fixed river crossing, the potential of east London will be inhibited."
Colin Stanbridge said: "We think it's time to unlock the potential of east London - and it needs the right transport infrastructure to succeed so we are calling on Boris to pursue plans for a fixed river crossing."
The speakers were joined by representatives from leading businesses based in east London including Spitalfield Market Tenants Association and Leyton Orient Football Club who signed a giant letter to the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson asking him to commit to a road river crossing between Beckton and Thamesmead at Gallions Reach.
Those who support the campaign are invited to sign a petition to the Mayor on the LCCI website at petition
The campaign launches only days after the House of Commons Transport Select Committee announced that following lobbying from LCCI, one of the three new inquiries that it will undertake in 2014 will be on "Strategic river crossings."
Boris Johnson recently told an audience at MIPIM that 2020 would see "further bridge crossings to the east of Tower Bridge" but has to date not given any more detail. He cancelled the Thames Gateway Bridge project soon after taking office.
The Gallions Reach site has the greatest potential to both ease traffic congestion on either side of the river as it will use different approach roads to the Blackwall Tunnel and also unlock land for much needed housing development.
A twitter campaign under the hashtag #bridgeeastlondon also launched this morning aiming to appeal to businesses and individuals frustrated with the current lack of fixed river crossings.
T: +44 (0)20 7203 1897
M: +44 (0)7827 241528
NOTES TO EDITOR:
1. London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) is the capital's largest and most representative business organisation, with members ranging in size from multi-national companies to SMEs and sole traders.
2. Colin Stanbridge is available for further comment and interview.