Crossrail would send 5m tons of aggregates on to London roads

Click to follow

Fears that five million tons of aggregates used for construction in London each year will have to be brought in by road rather than rail form one of the major objections to the Crossrail project.

Hearings by MPs scrutinising the plan to build a rail line across London to Maidenhead in Berkshire and Abbey Wood in Kent will start this week, with more than 350 companies, local authorities and individuals slated to voice their concerns over the £11bn project.

Worries about the effects on freight during the building of Crossrail and increased congestion at Liverpool Street station are among the sticking points for the ambitious plan.

Already traders on Brick Lane, the East End street famous for its curry houses, have voiced anger at plans to build an access tunnel in the middle of the street.

The House of Commons committee reviewing the project is due to open its hearings on Tuesday and will sit for up to 69 days over 23 weeks.

The first witness will be the Corporation of London, followed by British Land, which owns the giant Broadgate complex to the north of the City of London.

Both will raise concerns about the effect of Crossrail on Liverpool Street, saying that the volume of extra passengers using the station will be more than it can bear, even with plans to upgrade it.

British Land has hired consultants who predict that traffic flows at Liverpool Street could be three times the number put forward by Crossrail in its draft plans. This would make the station so crowded that guards would have to man the entrances to stop people coming in.

Sorting this problem out could add hundreds of millions to Crossrail's costs.

Another massive problem centres on the plans to shut lines going into Paddington station to enable construction of the western stretch of the project.

This would mean the closure of lines that are used for freight traffic. Organisations including the Rail Freight Group, the Quarry Products Association and train company English, Welsh and Scottish Railway have argued that this would mean that five million tonnes of aggregates brought into London, and quarry waste being taken out of London, would have to be moved to road.

On Thursday, the House of Commons debated the Crossrail Bill, including an amendment to expand the project to Reading in the west and Ebbsfleet in the east.