EALING and Hillingdon Greater London Assembly member Richard Barnes said Ealing Council would look "increasingly incompetent" if it pressed ahead with the west London tram scheme.

He also predicted that Hillingdon Council would soon launch a joint official bid to oppose the tram with Hammersmith and Fulham Council.

He said: "It has the economics of a madhouse and environmentally it is even worse. It is reducing everything to the level of lunacy."

"I can't believe how any bureaurocrat sitting in a darkened room could come up with this scheme. They have the collective brain power of an amoeba."

Mr Barnes said he would be going directly to Ken Livingstone to try and get the proposed tram scheme dropped.

But Ealing Council remains resolutely in favour of the scheme.

A spokesman said: "Doing nothing about the traffic problem in west London is not an option. We all know first hand how bad traffic is along Uxbridge Road and it is getting worse.

"The west London tram supports the council's aim of encouraging motorists to switch to public transport to reduce pollution and congestion and will help to revitalise local town centres by linking local communities and bringing the workforce closer to jobs."

She added: "It will ensure Ealing residents have access to a fast, comfortable and reliable transport service."

Opposition to the scheme has been growing because of concerns about substations and compounds.

Seven electrical substations will convert high voltage supplies of 11 kv to the 750 v needed to power the trams, and will be placed a minimum of 1.2 miles apart.

Eleven work compounds will be used to store materials while the track is laid.

Penny Wark, of anti-tram group Save Ealing's Streets (SES), is urging residents to voice their opposition to the tram.

She said: "It is clear Transport for London is pushing this scheme ahead, and therefore it is really important that people of west London tell TfL what they think about the latest proposals.

"Clearly it is not appropriate to have a big construction compound by a school as lorries and children don't mix, and many of the other proposals need to be examined in detail.

"Everyone should make sure TfL knows what they think because we have shown in the past that if enough people say they are not happy changes can be achieved."

Residents have until December 16 to respond to the consultation.

Keeping track of progress

* Three controversial giant depot sites will be used for the four-year construction process to store building materials and machinery. They will be at Shepherds Bush Green, West Middlesex Golf Course, Greenford Road, Southall; and London Underground Sports Ground, Acton.

* If all goes according to plan, the tram will be up and running in 2013.

Before then it has to get approval in the House of Commons and be subject to a public inquiry.

* The route from Uxbridge to Shepherds Bush, a distance of 13 miles, will have a total of 41 stops.

It will run along the A4020, the Uxbridge Road, through Acton, Ealing, West Ealing, Hanwell, Southall and Hayes End.