East London residents have called for action to be taken against “terrifying” car races in local tunnels.
Residents on the Isle of Dogs claimed that huge groups of noisy modified cars regularly gather on the streets and tunnels in the area, including Westferry Circus.
They also claimed this the cars could block access in and out of the isle, including to emergency services.
One resident said the noise from the cars was so loud it drowned out the TV in their 10th-floor flat.
Locals have called on the Met Police and Tower Hamlets Council to take firmer action to prevent the events, saying they lead to anti-social behaviour and are a danger to residents.
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Tower Hamlets resident Samia Hersi said that the “tunnel runs” had been going on for years, but that nothing was being done to stop them.
She said: “I’m 25 now, I remember seeing these runs when I was 12 years old when my family tried to drive through it.
“There’s very little notice so people in the area find out about it when it actually happens.
“There’s speeding and there’s all these cars blocking up the road so it’s literally impossible for you to get out, it causes such a big traffic jam and blockages in the area.”
(Image: Samia Hersi)
Samia, who is standing as a councillor for the Conservative Party in Canary Wharf ward in next year’s local elections, added that the runs were a danger to emergency services.
She said: “The road infrastructure around here is not the greatest and this doesn’t help. Just further down the road on Westferry Road there’s a fire station and they need to go through Westferry Circus in order to respond to emergencies.
“You’re terrified that you might get in an accident… the amount of noise that just vibrates and vibrates throughout the whole area, it’s terrifying.”
Another resident, who lives next to where the events are held, said that the noise from the cars was deafening.
The resident, who did not want to be named, said: “I live on the 10th floor, and with the window closed I can not hear the telly.”
They later added: “We need support from the police and we need support from the council which we do not have, and because of a bunch of idiots the council and the police need to waste resources they do not have.”
Andrew Wood, the councillor for the area, also condemned the behaviour and called for tougher action from the police and council.
He said: “It’s a major concern… At a previous event an ambulance tried to get through and couldn’t and had to turn around and go back in the other direction.
“The only time they [the police] were proactive was when we told them in advance it was happening… they arrived at five o’clock and just shut the tunnel down so nobody except for emergency vehicles were allowed in.”
However, he added: “There’s been other times when the police are just really busy elsewhere and they just don’t have the resources – there’s really potluck as to the kind of responses that we get.”
A spokesperson for the Met Police said: “We are aware that events of this nature can cause significant disruption and distress to the local community due to excessive vehicle noise, anti-social behaviour and inconsiderate driving.
“When we are aware of these events taking place in advance we will work closely with our colleagues at traffic and our partners at the council to take measures to prevent them taking place.
“Any offences will be dealt with robustly and proportionately to prevent disruption to the community and road users.”
The Local Democracy Reporting Service contacted Tower Hamlets Council for comment.