THE MAYOR of London has ridden "roughshod over the wishes of local residents and local councillors" after announcing on Tuesday he will continue with plans for the West London Tram.

On May 9, shortly after Labour were defeated by the Conservatives in the local elections, he said that if public opinion were to move against the West London Tram, then the project would have to be reviewed.

Last week the latest figures from MORI, who conducted a survey on behalf of Transport for London (TfL), the agency behind the implementation of the proposed tramway, showed the majority were opposed to the scheme.

The results found that 44 per cent of residents were opposed to the planned tram and that only 40 per cent supported the scheme.

Despite these findings, Mr Livingstone announced that TfL would be applying for a Transport Works Order for the proposal within a few months, with the ultimate aim of starting work towards the end of 2007.

Councillor Jason Stacey, leader of Ealing Council, said: "This survey confirms that the more people know about the tram the more they are likely to oppose it.

"In Ealing, Hanwell and Acton residents are right to be particularly angry because it is in these areas that Mayor Livingstone's plans entail diverting traffic to neighbouring roads.

"Ealing Council unanimously decided in May to oppose the tram and this survey only confirms our resolve.

"We will fight these proposals every step of the way and if the Mayor takes this muddle-headed scheme to a public inquiry we will take him on."

And Richard Barnes, London Assembly Conservative member for Ealing and Hillingdon, has accused the mayor of behaving undemocratically.

Following the announcement, he said: "Once again, the Mayor has shown his true colours by riding roughshod over the wishes of local residents and councils and no amount of fudging the opinion polls can hide that fact.

"His heavy-handed decision makes a mockery of local democracy; the local electorate made their feelings toward this ill-advised scheme crystal clear at the ballot box, yet to no avail - their pleas have been steamrollered as surely as the Uxbridge Road and its businesses will now be.

"There is a vein of autocracy that runs right to the core of this mayoralty; a stubbornness to listen to popular opinion especially when it concerns his pet projects'."

The West London Tram scheme will cost an estimated £650million to build and Ken Livingstone has already spent £24million on the campaign, according to Peter Hulme Cross, a member of the One London Party.

Mr Hulme Cross, said: "This is a classic case of Ken saying he knows best and ignoring the wishes of the people who live along the route. He still has to get this through a public inquiry and find the funding so hopefully those two things will stop him."