LONDON BUSINESSES this week said that the government's decision to call a public inquiry into plans for the £455M Thames Gateway bridge would delay the project for two years.
hey said they were 'extremely disappointed' at the deputy prime minister John Prescott's decision to order the inquiry.
But environmental groups including Friends of the Earth and Transport 2000 welcomed the move saying that the bridge had not been properly assessed for its local and regional impact.
onsultant Halcrow has designed the crossing as a dual three-lane road link across the River Thames between Beckton and Greenwich in east London.
It is seen by supporters as a crucial part of the sustainable regeneration plans for the Thames Estuary region.
But the project has been described as a 'wolf in sheep's clothing' by Transport 2000, which says it is a motorway in all but name.
Business lobby group London First said this week the bridge had already been through 'an exhaustive consultation process and has wide-ranging political support plus and a comprehensive funding package'.
London's transport authority Transport for London said it expected an inquiry.
'Given widespread support for the bridge we hope a date will be announced shortly' said TfL project director Michael Clarke.