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Last Updated: Tuesday, 13 September 2005, 07:43 GMT 08:43 UK
Greens fight 455m Thames bridge
Artist's impression of the Thames Gateway Bridge
The bridge faces stiff opposition from environmentalists
Critics of plans to build a huge Thames toll bridge in east London will argue their case as the public inquiry into the 455m project re-opens on Tuesday.

Its backers see the Thames Gateway Bridge from Newham to Greenwich as a crucial part of one of the biggest regeneration projects in the UK.

But among those lining up to fight it are Friends of the Earth, London Assembly Greens and Transport 2000.

They will argue it will just bring more traffic and pollution to the area.

Among evidence to be presented to the inquiry, which re-opens on Tuesday after a summer recess, will be the findings of transport experts on the potential impact of the bridge.

BRIDGE PLANS
Map showing the location of the proposed bridge
The bridge would link Beckton with Thamesmead
It would have two lanes in either direction for cars and commercial vehicles
There would be separate lanes on the western side for public transport, pedestrians and cyclists
The proposed toll is 1 for local car users and 2 for others
The bridge could be upgraded to accommodate Dockland Light Railway or trams in the future

It is part of plans to build about 120,000 new homes, along with schools, health centres, transport links and other infrastructure, over a 40-mile wide area stretching from London into Essex and Kent.

But objectors say Mayor Ken Livingstone is dealing his own public transport policies a blow by supporting the "six-lane super highway".

Richard Bourne, of campaign group Transport 2000, said: "Building the bridge would mean that the development of the Thames Gateway, perhaps the most important urban regeneration scheme in Europe, would proceed along discredited and out-moded car-dependent lines."

But others say the bridge is vital for the regeneration of the Thames Gateway.

Supporters point out that two of the six lanes would be used by pedestrians, cyclists and public transport and say it will generate at least 17,000 new jobs on both sides of the river.

Initial costs will be met by a private company, which will recoup the funds through tolls and government funding.

Local councils have given planning permission, but want assurances residents will pay a reduced toll and construction will create jobs.






FROM OTHER NEWS SITES:
IC SouthLondon More fury at bridge inquiry - 16 hrs ago
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SEE ALSO:
Backing for 385m Thames bridge
25 Mar 04 |  London


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