Fears £30 billion ring-road tunnel will blight and pollute Shoreditch

Hackney Council is going to be urged to reject the Mayor of London’s plans for a £30 billion 22-mile dual carriageway ring-road beneath London because of the congestion and pollution it could bring to Shoreditch.

Boris Johnson announced plans for the ring-road tunnel last April in response to forecasts of increases in congestion of up to 60 per cent in Central London in the future, and Transport for London has been carrying out a feasibility study as to whether the Inner Orbital Tunnel might work.

Kingsland Road in Shoreditch and the A12 in Hackney Wick have been put forward as potential entrances for thousands of cars, lorries and vans.

But Chair of the planning committee, Cllr Vincent Stops and Cllr Caroline Selman will warn the tunnel could blight Shoreditch at the council meeting in the Town Hall tonight.

They fear that instead of improving air quality, the tunnel could make it worse.

They said: “It is widely accepted that you can’t build yourself out of congestion.

“Indeed Hackney’s draft transport strategy notes that road building solutions are not appropriate in urban areas such as Hackney.

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“The irony that Shoreditch will have one of the lowest levels of car ownership in the UK and the highest levels of walking, yet it is proposed as the site of what will be a new huge new intersection, this proposal would mean huge increases of motor traffic in Shoreditch.

“It would take a large area of land, the demolition of buildings and the introduction of a tunnel portal and the associated slip lanes.”

They asked the council to support a motion to urge Mayor Johnson to instead adopt transport policies to improve walking, cycling, public transport and to restrain the private car to create a more liveable city.

If it transpires it will be one of the most ambitious infrastructure schemes ever seen in the city.

Michele Dix, managing director of planning at TfL said: “Other cities around the world such as Paris, Oslo and Boston have undertaken these kinds of ambitious projects and have seen dramatic results.

“This project is not about creating a motorway through the centre of London. It’s about freeing up capacity on the city surface, improving air quality and reclaiming space for public parks, pedestrians and cyclists.”