Select Page

Four of the main candidates for the mayoralty give their views on one of the most divisive and important issues in east London, river crossings


Caroline Pidgeon, Lib Dem

I don’t support building more road river crossings in east London. What I do support is a pedestrian and cycling bridge between Rotherhithe and Canary Wharf I think that’s where we need to be investing money. We don’t need more roads where we can just see the expansion of cars and lorries.

Sadiq Khan, Labour

All the evidence from around the world is that river crossings help regenerate an area – but we can’t do it at any cost. We’ve talked about air pollution and the dangers of more cars so it’s got to be done in a sensitive way so we’ve got to explore options to regenerate those areas and have more river crossings.

Sian Berry, Green Party

I’ve been working with a lot of people who are expert on those crossings and it comes back to air pollution again. If we have to do everything we can to get air pollution within legal limits as soon as possible then we definitely can’t be doing anything to make it worse and the river crossings actually would do that. I’m in favour of getting people across the river, I’m in favour of cycling and walking crossings especially between Greenwich Peninsula and Canary Wharf and I want to see more public transport links but no new roads.

Zac Goldsmith, Conservative

There are some very powerful equity arguments for creating those crossings in a part of London where they don’t exist. The big concern has to be air quality so the bridges have to be built and used and financed in a way that encourages that shift to cleaner vehicles. And we know that the bridges won’t happen unless they’re tolled but that gives you an opportunity to create carrots and sticks so I would support more crossings, but on that proviso.

■ Candidates were speaking at a London Chamber of Commerce organised mayoral hustings at the London School of Economics

What we say

The main candidates in the London mayoral election all rally round the same flag when it comes to the east London river crossings.

Yes, they love the idea but, no, there shouldn’t be cars. No, we don’t like air pollution but, yes, we love little puppies and candy floss.

This is, of course, the kind of fanciful yes-but-no triangulation that we must come to expect in the next few months. Everyone must be assured, no-one must be turned away but, when stripped of its wrapping, the package has nothing of substance at the centre.

Sending bikes from Rotherhithe to Canary Wharf is pleasant enough on a Sunday afternoon but it is not a solution to the enormous growth that east London is undergoing.

You want housing? Build crossings. Unpalatable, maybe, but nuanced and complicated? No.

Read more 9 things we learnt about the key mayoral candidates