Have your say on the Silvertown Tunnel by 19th Dec
November 17, 2014
The Silvertown tunnel is a third and fourth Blackwall tunnel for East Greenwich residents. These river crossings are proposed by the Greater London Authority (GLA) to run from the Peninsula to Silvertown across the river. Transport for London (TfL) is currently holding a public consultation which closes on 19 December.The proposed tunnels will be big. They will more than double the capacity of the current two Blackwall tunnels. If built, their capacity will be much bigger than the Dartford crossings. About 50 percent bigger.
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 1000 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 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.
Public transport investment
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.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.