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Livingstone to fund Nimbys

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London Mayor Ken Livingstone could fund local objections to major infrastructure projects in the wake of the public inquiry into Marks Barfield's Thames Gateway Bridge, it has emerged.

According to senior sources at Transport for London, the mayor is considering offering financial assistance to local interest groups with 'clear environmental concerns' over projects like the controversial bridge project.

Livingstone has already provided £50,000 to help objectors put forward their case at the bridge public inquiry.

Now he has asked Greater London Assembly officers to consider the possibility of setting up a fund for other similar infrastructure projects where there are clear environmental concerns, that may, in the absence of opposition from public bodies, justify assistance being provided to local interest groups.

The decision to proceed with such a fund; its precise remit and timescales have not yet been determined.

Hailed as the cornerstone of the government's Thames Gateway proposals, the bridge between Newham and Greenwich in south-east London continues to receive heavy criticism from a growing number of opponents.

Those concerned about the viability of the £455 million project include Richard Rogers - the man behind the government's own Urban Task Force - and Bexleyheath-based campaign group Action Group Against the Bridge (AJ 18.11.04).

by Rob Sharp

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