Select Committee on the Crossrail Bill Minutes of Evidence


Examination of Witnesses (Questions 7480 - 7499)

  7480. MR CARRIER: Transport for London originally estimated that there would be approximately 20 million journeys across the Thames Gateway Bridge annually but this was reduced to 18.3 million as a result of its revised traffic modelling. Following on from the lead by my Lord Chairman, the source of that figure is in Exhibit 13.[73]74

  7481. In the Thames Gateway Bridge Inquiry Report to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and the Secretary of State for Transport, the inspector said: "The case for the Thames Gateway Bridge has been assessed without Crossrail, but sensitivity tests assuming that both the Thames Gateway Bridge and Crossrail are built have also been covered in the evidence in support of the Thames Gateway Bridge scheme. Crossrail is presently planned to terminate at Abbey Wood Railway Station. The GWT is also intended to terminate there. Abbey Wood Station lies close to Harrow Manorway/Knee Hill corridor, where there is concern amongst objectors as to the impact the Thames Gateway Bridge scheme would have on congestion. I share the concern of the objectors that there is no means of assessing the overall effect of these different and separately considered elements of what is put forward as a package of measures to improve accessibility and public transport with a view to achieving regeneration." Please see Exhibit 14 for that particular quote.[74]75

  7482. The inspector also said: "The transport assessment for Crossrail takes no account of the traffic arising from the Thames Gateway Bridge that would use Harrow Manorway. Without Crossrail, congestion in Harrow Manorway would increase as a result of the scheme and its associated mitigation measures, and the Crossrail transport assessment finds that Crossrail would increase traffic further, there and on nearby roads. It seems to me that this would worsen traffic conditions there to an extent that has not so far been considered." Please see Exhibit 17 in that respect.[75]76

  7483. In the fifth sentence of paragraph 8532 of the minutes of evidence of the Select Committee in the House of Commons on the Crossrail Bill, Day 32, Tuesday 16 May 2006, please see Exhibit 15.[76]77 Mr Elvin said in regard to entry 153, that was the one mentioned earlier on, in the Register of Undertakings and Assurances: "Can I make it clear that in offering that undertaking it is anticipated that those discussions will be against the background of the transport system as it is and with regard to other future developments in the transport system, such as the Thames Gateway which only finished at inquiry on 6 May. So it will be against the background of both planned and existing highway measures".

  7484. Notwithstanding the assurance given to Bexley Council, please see Exhibit 16, in paragraph 15 of its current Petition it is still seeking assurances that all three schemes have been considered comprehensively, their cumulative impacts as a whole modelled properly and that necessary works to mitigate the combined impact have been or will be drawn up as part of the Crossrail scheme.[77]78 I am conscious of the fact that it has been mentioned this very day, or just before today, that further assurances have been given to Bexley Council.

  7485. Turning to paragraphs 5(5) and 5(6) of my Petition and Exhibit 4, the report of Mouchel Parkman on the Highway Impact of Crossrail, which was commissioned by Greenwich Council to undertake an independent preliminary assessment to establish what works to highways the Promoters should reasonably be asked to underwrite, this report was firstly mentioned in the second sentence of paragraph 7954 of the minutes of evidence of the Select Committee in the House of Commons on the Crossrail Bill, Day 30, Wednesday 10 May 2006. Please see Exhibit 18.[78]79 Mouchel Parkman now refers to itself as Mouchel.

  7486. CHAIRMAN: So be it. You go ahead, we understand.

  7487. MR CARRIER: Mouchel's representative was here today with Bexley Council. If Mouchel's website is to be believed, Mouchel is one of the UK's largest providers of consulting and business services in the highways sector. It works with local and regional highways authorities throughout the UK and Ireland to provide the planning, design, operations and maintenance services. It has longstanding relationships with TfL and many London and metropolitan boroughs, county councils and unitary councils up and down the country, and also provides a combination of consultancy, business and technological services in the rail sector, working predominantly with Network Rail and London Underground.

  7488. Bexley Council has advised me that this report was prepared to support Greenwich's case for a station at Woolwich and focuses on capacity restraints around the station. Since that report a new Crossrail station at Woolwich has been accepted and I have noted that in the fifth sentence of paragraph 7955 of the minutes of evidence of the Select Committee in the House of Commons on the Crossrail Bill, Day 30, Wednesday 10 May.

  7489. CHAIRMAN: You do not need to read out all the references, just tell us what Mr Chard said.

  7490. MR CARRIER: Mr Chard, Greenwich Council's Principal Planner (Transport) said: "We also understand the Promoters' estimate that, if a Woolwich station is included in the project, then about 25 per cent of potential passengers at Abbey Wood could transfer to Woolwich, and possibly it might be more with appropriate highway management and new bus services. The required highway works would then be less, hence one of the financial benefits of a Woolwich Crossrail station would be cost savings to the Promoters at Abbey Wood." The Promoter, in its response to my Petition, has stated that Mouchel's report was referred to but not used as evidence during the House of Commons Select Committee and that the London Borough of Greenwich has not adopted the report or its recommendations. As regards its use as evidence a draft thereof was certainly the subject of cross-examination by counsel for the Promoter as can be seen from paragraphs 7997 to 8017, inclusive of the Minutes of Evidence—

  7491. CHAIRMAN: You do not need to read out all the references, Mr Carrier.

  7492. MR CARRIER: I am sorry, my Lord. I confess that I do not know whether the Greenwich Council adopted the report or its recommendations. I was, of course, heartened to learn of the inclusion of Woolwich as a Crossrail station but that good thing does not dispel my concerns regarding the transport issues. I am not in a position to challenge Mr Chard's understanding that the Promoter has estimated that 25 per cent of potential passengers at Abbey Wood could transfer to Woolwich, and possibly it might be more with appropriate highway management and new bus services. However, unless the report of Mouchel is not considered to reflect the true situation I am not convinced that a reduction by one quarter or thereabouts can reverse the Greenwich Council's view, nor Mouchel's, that the effect of a Crossrail station would be to overload the adjacent highway network—please see the fourth bullet point from the bottom of page 20 of that report.

  7493. In response, also, the Promoter has said that the overall level of mitigation required should be relatively minor and it was not expected that mitigation measures will extend to the major highway works, and, secondly, that the Promoter does not agree that Crossrail will have a colossal traffic and environmental impact on the road network and the provision of a station at Woolwich would reduce its impacts even further.

  7494. Though, in the Promoter's response, it is stated: "Whilst the Promoter agrees that the cumulative impacts of projects need to be understood and mitigated appropriately, we believe that the potential measures required to mitigate Crossrail impacts would not be of a sufficient scale to justify the delays you propose." Unless I am interpreting the Promoter's response incorrectly, it does not appear to address the cumulative impacts of the three projects.

  7495. I have cited in paragraph 5(5) of my Petition the reason why the overall level of mitigation would not be relatively minor. Then one only has to read the report of Mouchel and consider the cumulative impacts of the projects that I have described in order to come to the conclusion that the Promoter's view that Crossrail will not have a colossal traffic and environmental impact is not well founded.

  7496. Adverting to paragraph 5(7) of my Petition, Knee Hill can be identified on exhibit 9, the map of the area, just below the red circle (it follows on from Harrow Manorway after the roundabout).[79]80 As I have stated, Bostall Woods are in the London Borough of Greenwich. Lesnes Abbey Woods are in the London Borough of Bexley. Exhibit 21, provided by the Woodland Trust, shows ancient woodland in blue and brown and secondary woodland in green.[80]81 Both woods are part of a Site of Metropolitan Importance for Nature Conservation (SMI 15) in the classification system devised by the London Ecology Unit. The successor to that Unit is the Mayor's Biodiversity Team.

  7497. Exhibit 22 is an email dated 13 March from the Mayor's Principal Policy Officer (Biodiversity) to me, attached to which is a map showing the current boundary of the SMI and a copy of the current site description from its database.[81]82 In the Thames Gateway Bridge Inquiry Report the Inspector said: "I have indicated above my concern that Knee Hill is not really suitable to take additional traffic. I accept that TfL would be able to limit total traffic over the bridge by tolling, but I cannot see that they would be able to influence by tolling what route was taken by traffic which had crossed the bridge. It remains a matter of concern to me that additional traffic would use Knee Hill if the bridge were built. Having said that, if Knee Hill were not widened, then I do not consider that the additional traffic from the proposal would do any substantial damage to the SMI. If Knee Hill were to be widened, it clearly would."[82]83

  7498. The Inspector also said: "I conclude that, so long as Knee Hill is not widened, the extent to which the scheme would be likely to have an impact on the local flora and fauna and conservation sites is limited. It would be much more substantial if Knee Hill needed to be widened."[83]84 I understand that, at this point in time, Knee Hill does not feature in any way whatsoever in the Promoter's plans for the development of the road network in the local area. Of course, no one knows yet what proposals will be promulgated when there is available a full Transport Impact Assessment with reliable assumptions and traffic figures.

  7499. In paragraph 5(4) of my Petition I said that the traffic and environmental impacts of the Thames Gateway Bridge and Crossrail on the London Borough of Bexley are as great if not greater than any authority. That statement derives from a number of sources which I shall now mention: in paragraph 7.39 of a report on the Thames Gateway Bridge to the Greenwich Council's Planning Board on 14 December 2004 there is a view expressed by the Bexley Council that traffic and environmental impacts on Bexley are as great if not greater than any other authority.[84]85 In paragraph 11—



73   74 Committee Ref: A38, Para. 9.82, The Thames Gateway Bridge Inquiry (BEXYLB-4_05-064) Back

74   75 Committee Ref: A38, Para. 9.123 & 9.124, The Thames Gateway Bridge Inquiry (BEXYLB-4_05-065) Back

75   76 Committee Ref: A38, Para. 9.183, The Thames Gateway Bridge Inquiry (BEXYLB-4_05-068) Back

76   77 Oral evidence taken before the House of Commons Select Committee on the Crossrail Bill on 16 May 2006, HC (2006-07) 235-III, Para 8532 [Mr Elvin] (BEXYLB-4_05-066) Back

77   78 Committee Ref: A38, Crossrail Register of Undertakings and Assurances No. 153 (BEXYLB-4_05-067) Back

78   79 Oral evidence taken before the House of Commons Select Committee on the Crossrail Bill on 10 May 2006, HC (2006-07) 235-III, Paras 7954, 7955, 7957 (BEXYLB-4_05-069, -071, and -073) Back

79   80 Committee Ref: A38, Multimap of Abbey Wood (BEXYLB-4_05-060) Back

80   81 Committee Ref: A38, Woodland Trust map of Abbey Wood (BEXYLB-4_05-077) Back

81   82 Committee Ref: A38, Correspondence from the Mayor's Principal Policy Officer (Biodiversity) to Mr Roy Carrier, 13 March 2008 (BEXYLB-4_05-078) Back

82   83 Committee Ref: A38, Para. 9.250, The Thames Gateway Bridge Inquiry (BEXYLB-4_05-081) Back

83   84 Committee Ref: A38, Para. 9.256, The Thames Gateway Bridge Inquiry (BEXYLB-4_05-082) Back

84   85 Committee Ref: A38, Para. 7.39, A Report on the Thames Gateway Bridge, Greenwich Council Planning Board, 14 December 2004 (BEXYLB-4_05-083) Back


 
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