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Silvertown Tunnel - Outline Proposals and Consultation

Outline of the Proposals


The proposed Silvertown Tunnel will double the capacity for motor vehicles to cross the river from the Peninsula.  New tunnels will take traffic to Silvertown on the north bank.  Transport for London (TfL) leads the project and has so far held two public pre-consultations.  The official statutory consultation is planned for summer 2015.


The proposed tunnels will be big.  If they more than double the capacity of the current two Blackwall tunnels they will be much bigger than the Dartford crossings.  About 50 percent bigger.


Case for the new tunnels


TfL’s case for a vastly increased set of tunnels in East Greenwich rests on three positive impacts.  They argue that a bigger crossing will Reduce congestion and therefore pollution at the Blackwall tunnel.  They also argue that it would improve the Resilience of the crossing, which, it is said, is disrupted up to a 700 times a year by large trucks attempting to cross to the north.  Lastly it is held that new bigger tunnels would help the Regeneration of places like East Greenwich.


The assessments to support these arguments have yet to be done and published by TfL.  A reduction in congestion will rely on new tolls on all vehicles crossing the river.  An Environmental Impact Assessment is being prepared, as is a final set of traffic forecasts.  An Economic Impact Assessment will also be published before the statutory consultation.  So far, EGRA has called for this information to be published as early as possible and in a way that can be read by we the people, and not just experts.  Only then can we make up our minds.


Case against the new tunnels


The arguments in favour of new Thames' tunnels are contested.  A campaign “No to Sivertown Tunnel” is opposing the plans.  Opponents say that a bigger crossing will simply increase traffic. The last time the tunnels were doubled, in 1968/69, peak traffic more than doubled within twelve months. This may hugely add to traffic pollution in the area, levels of which greatly exceed legal limits already. Resilience, say opponents, could be better addressed in this information age, by intercepting trucks before they approach the tunnels. 


Finally, the critics of the case for building new tunnels to add new traffic to our roads suggest that regeneration would be better served by investing in public transport. The South East still lags other parts of London in good bus, tube and rail links.


All tunnels (old and new) would be tolled


If the decision were made to build the tunnels, towards the end of 2015 according to TfL, then all vehicle crossings of the river here would be tolled. Tolls would be needed to pay for the new tunnels and, it is proposed, would be applied to both the new and the existing ones.  There would be different charges for various vehicles and the indication would be that they would be similar to the Dartford levels. No longer would cars or vans be able to cross the Thames from East Greenwich to Newham for free.


What you can do now


Read the argument for new tunnels by Transport for London, and also those against by “No to Silvertown Tunnel” campaign.  And make your views known whatever they are.  Use the online consultation and/or write to our GLA member, Len Duval.

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