TfL’s river crossings consultation: Not long left to respond – so say no to the Silvertown Tunnel

TfL website

Transport for London is currently consulting on options for new road-based river crossings at Gallions Reach and Belvedere. This particular consultation does not include the Silvertown Tunnel; that will be subject to a separate consultation, currently expected to start later in September.

TfL has published a broad outline of its plans and there’s already a local group campaigning against the proposed road bridge at Gallions Reach, between Thamesmead and Beckton.

As you’d expect, the No to Silvertown Tunnel campaign is focusing on the proposal for a road tunnel between Greenwich and the Royal Docks. But as the issues are inextricably linked, we’re keeping a close eye on all developments, including these. If you’re concerned about the Silvertown Tunnel, we suggest you take an interest in this too and familiarise yourself with both sides of the argument.

We’ll be responding to this consultation, and we’ll be publishing our draft response. If you’re responding too, we’ve put together this guide to the consultation, with suggestions for answers to particular questions. The deadline’s 18 September (it’s been extended from its original closing date because of technical problems with TfL’s website).

Please note that this is only a guide based on our own reading of the proposals. We will, of course, be publishing guidance on how to respond to the Silvertown Tunnel consultation once it is launched.


The online consultation has 15 questions. Questions 1-8 asks for views on the 4 options that TfL has proposed:

1-2: a new ferry at Woolwich by the early 2020s,
3-4: a new ferry service at Gallions Reach by the early 2020s,
5-6: a bridge at Gallions Reach by 2022-2025,
7-8: a bridge at Belvedere by 2025-2030.

Each of the options has a space where respondents can write in comments.

Question 9 asks respondents to select the option(s) they think TfL should progress. Including an option that says “I do not agree that there is a need for more river crossings”

Question 10 gives space for further comments

Question 11 asks for name, question 12 email address, question 13 home postcode, and question 14 if responding on behalf of an organisation its name.

Question 15 asks how respondents heard about the consultation.



Option 1 – Select support or strongly support. We believe a free ferry, open to pedestrians and cyclists as well as motor traffic, is an essential part of Woolwich’s character – and the current proposals threaten its future.


Option 2 – Select oppose. Under current plans, a ferry at Gallions Reach would mean the loss of the Woolwich Ferry. It could also be precursor to a road bridge between Beckton and Thamesmead.


Option 3 – In light of the questions in the consultation and the options provided, the No to Silvertown Tunnel campaign has decided its position for the consultation should be to oppose the building of a bridge at Gallions Reach.

We appreciate that not everyone who opposes the construction of the Silvertown Tunnel would also necessarily oppose the construction of other river crossings in the area, so we strongly recommend that you read the documents and make up your own mind. Our opposition to the bridge at Gallions Reach is based on the fact that the principles of extra traffic brought about by road building apply equally to this proposal as they do to the Silvertown Tunnel. Building a bridge at Gallions will also increase pressure for a road linking it to the A2, putting homes in Plumstead and ancient Oxleas Woods under threat.


Option 4 – Again, based on the information given in the consultation documents, we have decided to oppose the proposal for a bridge between Belvedere and Rainham. In our opinion, the same issues of traffic growth apply here as with Gallions – and have been proved by a recent study into the widening of the A206 in Crayford, that showed both increased traffic and pollution once the road was widened. This is the road that would carry traffic to any new bridge. Once again, we recommend you review the information and assess the pros and cons yourself.

QUESTION 9 – Select the box for the ferry at Woolwich. We believe action should be taken to reduce traffic coming into London, and public transport connections improved, before any new road-based crossings are considered.

QUESTION 10 – Please use this space to express your opposition to the Silvertown Tunnel. In particular, please express your objection to the proposals’ assumption that the Silvertown Tunnel will already have been built – meaning that these proposals are, in part, an ill-conceived attempt to repair the damage that the Silvertown Tunnel will cause.

Stumped for words? Try these:

“I object to this consultation on the basis that it mistakenly assumes that the Silvertown Tunnel will be built. The Silvertown Tunnel has not been fully consulted on, and it is not clear that it will ever be built. Transport for London has not made an economic case for the Silvertown Tunnel and has not justified its case that a tunnel would alleviate the congestion and air pollution on the approaches to the Blackwall Tunnel. It is wrong to base this consultation and the underlying traffic projections on an insecure assumption and it is therefore entirely flawed.

“Indeed, all studies of road-building done over many years show that building roads brings new traffic, so these proposals would increase congestion and consequently pollution.

“I also object to the proposals, which appear to be an ill-conceived attempt to relieve the congestion that is being caused by lack of public transport and provisions for pedestrians and cyclists.

“It should be a much higher priority to get polluting traffic off the road altogether, by improving public transport and pedestrian and cycle connections in east and south-east London, and to make existing crossings more efficient by dropping the tolling at the Dartford Crossing and improving traffic flow at the Blackwall Tunnel.”

Questions 11-15 complete as appropriate.

While this consultation does not directly involve the Silvertown Tunnel, the more people take the opportunity to object to the proposals, the better. We’d also ask that you copy your responses to your local councillors, MP and London Assembly members to remind them of the huge opposition to the Silvertown Tunnel.