Last year Transport for London released plans to build a new toll bridge linking Rainham to Belvedere. The proposal, if implemented would be due for completion by 2025 and the implications are that both construction and completion would have a large impact on the local area. During the initial consultation over 7000 people responded, highlighting they would like to see a new crossing at either Gallions Reach or in Rainham. Only 400 residents of Havering had their say. In response to this Jon Cruddas MP for Dagenham & Rainham has launched a consultation of his own in order to gauge the feeling of the community towards the plans. Jon will be reporting the views of residents back to TfL for their consideration so that they have all the relevant consultation data to make an informed decision.

After looking at the detailed reports presented by Transport for London Jon Cruddas is seeking assurances and will be contacting TfL surrounding the following points:

  • The identification and management of rat-running risks
  • The possible impact on air quality needs to be assessed
  • Are there suitable plans in place to ensure that local infrastructure can cope with the influx of traffic i.e. new roads, congestion management?
  • What plans are in place to manage increased economic development potential?
  • Will public transport be effected/improved?
  • What benefits will the proposed link bring to the local area?

Local road impacts

The detailed report highlights that the crossing would connect Marsh Way opposite the Mardyke residential area to Bronze Age Way in Belvedere. It is anticipated that if the site is chosen over Gallions Reach it would facilitate either a bridge or tunnel, both of which would take about four years to complete. During this period the technical report states that there is a ‘risk that the infrastructure cannot be accommodated in the available space.’ Highlighting that the current adequacy of local road networks would struggle to cope with the increased traffic flow.

The report also assesses the impact of enlarging the A2016 roundabout, suggesting that it would necessitate the closure of lanes and surrounding roads, ‘causing disruption to the travelling public.’

During the works there is also the risk of increased waste on local roads, and congestion due to HGV’s delivering building materials – much like the issues previously dealt with during the Orchard Village/Mardyke redevelopment.

Economic factors

It is estimated that the initial cost of the project would be between £500m-£900m and a further £0.5m to operate each year.

The crossing would significantly improve access and opportunities for businesses and residents across the local area and all of East London. It will reduce travel time to centres of employment across the river and has the potential to bring over 120,000 more businesses and over 190,000 more jobs within an average 37 minute commute of the local area.

It is suggested that a new bridge or tunnel would support regeneration and increase the potential for the creation of homes in London Riverside Opportunity Areas.

The impact on housing and land value can go either way as the report highlights. It can mean that with improved transport links and business opportunity that house prices will rise. However on the flip side it could mean more traffic and the deterioration of local infrastructure which will put a strain on the area and effect land value negatively. Pending a decision on the proposal a more in depth report would need to be compiled.

Environmental constraints

The report starts by highlighting that ‘building a bridge at Belvedere could lead to some disturbance of natural habitats.’

On the south side of the Thames the tie-in to the A2016 would cut through a Deciduous Woodland BAP Priority Habitat, a BAP Priority Habitat is one that has been identified as being the most threatened, and requiring conservation action under the UK Biodiversity Action Plan.

On the North side of the Thames the bridge would be less than 1km from Rainham Marshes which is an RSPB Nature Reserve, it is speculated that the increase of traffic during and after construction would have only a minor air quality impact.

Currently the Dagenham Ford site is home to London’s largest wind farm consisting of three wind turbines, leading the way on clean renewable energy. The supporting technical documentation to the report provided by Transport for London highlights that; “The removal of a wind turbine located on the bottom right-hand corner of the vehicle hardstanding area would be required by the bridge… A second wind turbine would potentially be rendered inoperable by the approach ramps to the bridge.” The loss of the wind turbines at the Dagenham Ford plant would have a huge impact on local renewable energy production.

There are also suggestions that exiting waterways such as the Ingrebourne River, and an unnamed waterway which passes under the Ford site, cannot be easily diverted to make way for approach roads without having a negative impact on natural habitats.

It is projected that there would be no risk to current flood defences during or after the period of construction.

The Environment Agency have also stated that due to the make-up of the land which comprises primarily of Landfill, Made Ground, Recent Alluvium, River Terrace Gravel and London Clay, there is a high possibility of encountering contaminated land or unexploded ordnance due to the extensive bombing during World War II.

Summary

Jon Cruddas MP commented: “In light of the variety of risks set out in the technical report I don’t think it is right that only 400 residents had their say on the plans. The proposed crossing highlights fantastic potential for economic regeneration, in terms of job accessibility. However we have to ensure that if the plans are passed there is as little negative impact on the local area as possible.

“After reading the report it is the environmental and structural impacts that present as most concerning, but if the proposal is passed and implemented properly it is a great opportunity for us. It is because of this that we must get it right. To do that I want to know what residents think. I will be taking residents views directly to TfL to make sure they have accurate consultation data for the area before they make a final decision.”

You can submit your views on the proposal via email: jon@jon-cruddas-mp.net

Or by post at no cost to yourself – just write the address on an envelope and pop it in the post:

Jon Cruddas MP, FREEPOST - RTLB-KKKZ-RXJH, 598 Rainham Road South, Dagenham RM10 8YP