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Last Updated: Saturday, 15 January, 2005, 09:34 GMT
Protest meeting over new bridge
TfL's image of the Thames Gateway Bridge
The bridge could be completed in 2012
Opponents of a proposed new crossing over the River Thames in east London questioned local councillors at a meeting on Saturday.

The 455m Thames Gateway has been granted planning permission by Greenwich and Newham councils.

But objectors say the consultative process was not thorough enough and claim the bridge will increase both pollution and traffic.

The meeting was at 1315 in the Wrotham Community Centre, south London.

The six-lane Thames Gateway Bridge could be open by 2012 and would link Beckton with Thamesmead.

Map showing the location of the proposed bridge
The bridge will link Beckton with Thamesmead at Gallions Reach
The crossing is designed to have two lanes in either direction for cars and commercial vehicles
It will also have separate lanes, located on the western side of the bridge for public transport, pedestrians and cyclists
The proposed toll is 1 for local car users and 2 for others. Exemptions similar to the congestion charge will apply
The bridge could be upgraded to accommodate Dockland Light Railway or trams in the future
Both Greenwich and Newham councils have sought assurances residents will pay a reduced toll and construction will create jobs.

Steven Joseph of the Thames Gateway London Partnership said the bridge was vital for regeneration of the area.

"Our own independent experts say that this will generate at least 17,000 jobs north and south of the river," he said.

He added residents would face reduced tolls and two of the six lanes would be used by pedestrians, cyclists and public transport.

The scheme has met with opposition from campaigners, who are calling for a public inquiry into the scheme, and say it will damage the environment with traffic and pollution.

Stephen Wise from the Action Group Against the Bridge, said: "The consultative process was not democratic.

"Only about 1% of the questionnaires sent out were returned.

"And the questionnaire asked if they were in favour of a bridge - not a six-lane super-highway."

The bridge still requires the approval of the Mayor of London.

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