Archived press release
Press & Media

Friends of the Earth criticised Transport for London (TfL) today after its Board approved a controversial new bridge across the Thames, despite the fact that a full environmental impact assessment has not been completed.

The environmental campaign group said that the proposed £450 million Thames Gateway Bridge between Beckton in the east and Thamesmead in the south-east of London will increase traffic and pollution and be of little benefit to the local community, who have not been properly consulted. TfL is now expected to apply for planning permission.

Friends of the Earth's London Campaigns Co-ordinator said:

"This is a bad day for the people of East and South East London. This new bridge will bring little to the area except more traffic and pollution. But the fight is far from over. We will continue to campaign against this bridge and Transport for London's short-sighted vision that supports it being built."

Friends of the Earth opposes the proposed 6-lane road bridge because:

  • It would lead to an increase in traffic levels in the area, bringing more pollution and congestion to some of the poorest parts of London, where car ownership is low anyway.
  • A top independent expert [1] says it would do little or nothing to relieve unemployment locally, and that there are better and cheaper ways to help regenerate the area.
  • The bridge would result in "worse journey times for most people" according to one transport expert [2], and a report for John Prescott's department says the bridge "could even be counter productive" to business development because of the added congestion.
  • Road transport is also one of the biggest contributors to climate change which threatens extinction to a quarter of the world's species in the next 50 years.
  • The recent public consultation on the bridge was flawed, as there was inadequate information available and no alternative schemes were offered. People should be offered real choices on what transport options would best help their area and improve transport access.

The report for the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister: Llewelyn Davies and Steer Davies Gleave with Roger Tym & Partners and Atkins, for the ODPM "Relationship between Transport and Development in the Thames Gateway", July 2003 ¬

For more on Friends of the Earth's views on the Thames Gateway bridge, see

or see ¬


1. Professor John Whitelegg has written a report: "Thames Gateway River Crossing: a social, economic and environmental assessment", January 2002, for the Simon Woolf Charitable Foundation.

2. John Elliott has written a report: "A Solution looking for a Problem - a review of Transport for London's proposals for river crossings in East London and their traffic impact", March 2003, for Transport 2000.

If you're a journalist looking for press information please contact the Friends of the Earth media team on 020 7566 1649.


Published by Friends of the Earth Trust