Hundreds of cars will gather this Bank Holiday Sunday for another ‘London Tunnel Run’ event on the Isle of Dogs. A tunnel run is an event where people their cars through tunnels in convoy to show them off and enjoy the engine sounds reverberating through the tunnels.
Westferry Circus, Canary Wharf and the Limehouse Link are particular attractions.
Convoys of cars head for Tower Hamlets for the Tunnel Run from all over the country.
According to posts on Facebook this year 9,000 people have responded and up to 14 UK convoys and one from Germany will fill the traffic tunnels of the Isle of Dogs.
“People tunnel running at Westferry Circus lower level has been a recurring problem for years,” said Tower Hamlets Cllr. Andrew Wood (Conservative, Canary Wharf).
“They love tunnels as the noise reverberates and echoes inside as they drift or rev engines. The problem for us is that Westferry is one of only two routes into and off the island and because Canary Riverside apartments and hotel are physically linked to the tunnel section they feel the vibration of engines.”
“Lack of sustained response from authorities”
“Most of the tunnel racers are not bad people they just love cars and love to parade them but when some of them start drifting on public roads and revving engines they keep residents awake at night.
What has been lacking is any sustained response from the relevant authorities.
This [Bank Holiday Sunday] event has attracted a lot of interest with convoys being organised from all over the south east and even further afield.”
MPS promise ‘robust’ response
Last year the policing operation to stop the Tunnel Run was not effective.
This year the Metropolitan Police Service seems to be running the show and have made it clear they are not standing for any nonsense, promising to deal with any problems ‘robustly’.
Tower Hamlets seems to have been seen as a soft touch in the past. With this perception and the acoustics of the Canary Wharf tunnels have made the borough the destination of choice for tunnel runners.
Some roads will be closed, Section 59 notices have been authorised for specific areas to give police officers powers to seize any vehicles before, during or after the event if the vehicles are associated with crime or Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB).
Cllr. Wood told LW that the police warning has resulted in a response from the organisers advising them of the risks. Many of the tunnel runners come from outside of London and are increasingly being dissuaded from travelling further afield as other local authorities get better organised.