The area has been identified by Mayor of London Ken Livingstone as an area of the Thames Gateway ready for major regeneration.

The line would help service over 10,000 new homes which could be built. There is also the possibility of commercial development and new jobs by the thousand.

A DLR extension would help the necessary investment and provide fast and frequent routes to Canary Wharf and the City.

To assess local interest in the proposals, a recent meeting brought together representatives of Newham, Barking and Dagenham and Havering councils and developers and landowners.

The audience was shown the possible routes and options and the result was an overwhelming vote in favour of a route to Dagenham Dock for an interchange with the C2C main line rail service.

I have been lobbying for this extension for some years now, said John Biggs who represents the, City and East London on the Greater London Assembly.

Building it will be a major boost for East London and will help take forward job creation, new housing and provide an improved environment. I am a great fan of the DLR, which has repeatedly succeeded while other railway projects have got bogged down and delayed.

The DLR will now prepare plans for route options which will be followed by consultation.

Selection of the best route will take into account various obstacles in the area, such as the Beckton sewage works and the river Roding while ensuring that the extension is integrated with future development proposals.

An application under the Transport & Works Act will be submitted to Government for permission to construct the extension.

DLR 's role has always been one of regeneration, said Ian Brown, chairman of Docklands Light Railway Ltd (part of Transport for London).

Since it opened over 15 years ago, there have been extensions to Bank, Beckton (for the Royal Docks) and Lewisham.

We are about to start construction of an extension to London City Airport and North Woolwich which we hope will be closely followed by a further extension under the Thames again to Woolwich ArsenaL There are also plans for an extension to Stratford International.

The level of support for us to plan a route to Dagenham Dock via Barking Reach is very exciting and we look forward to a successful partnership with the councils and other agencies that will become involved.

This new 3.5-mile extension, from Gallions Reach and with five new stations, could cost £150million. It could start in 2006 and be open for passengers in 2009.

Information from Docklands Light Railway. 30.01.03