TfL’s latest email campaign shows it’s playing dirty over the Silvertown Tunnel

The Blackwall Tunnel may be congested, but the Silvertown Tunnel will not help traffic on its approaches

The Blackwall Tunnel may be congested, but the Silvertown Tunnel will not help traffic on its approaches

We’ve discovered that Transport for London is playing dirty in its battle to build the toxic Silvertown Tunnel. It’s launched an email campaign asking motorists to come up with reasons why it should go ahead with the £1 billion project.

We’re hugely grateful to the campaign supporters who sent us the emails they received from TfL – and their replies explaining why the Silvertown Tunnel is a bad idea.

Despite election rules prohibiting publicity on controversial matters, TfL used its database to email members of the public last Friday (24 April) to ask them about their experiences of congestion at the Blackwall Tunnel.

TfL email

“We would like to hear from people who use the Blackwall Tunnel or who are affected in some way by the congestion at the tunnel. Are you often delayed by congestion at the Blackwall Tunnel? How does a lack of river crossings in east London affect your everyday travel?,” the mail reads.

“Your feedback will help us to make clear the pressing need to address the problems at the Blackwall Tunnel, and could help us to secure the powers that would be necessary to build the Silvertown Tunnel,” it ends.

TfL’s appeal for help comes after its most recent consultation revealed widespread fears that the tunnel will increase congestion on local roads, leading to even worse air pollution. TfL was also criticised – even by tunnel supporters such as Greenwich Council – for a lack of data to back up its assertions about the scheme.

The price of the project appears to be spiralling, too. City traders were told last week the project would cost £1 billion – an increase on the £750m quoted in last year’s consultation, and the £600m cited in 2012. The news came in a Thomson Reuters wire story about KPMG teaming up with TfL to help finance the project.

We think Transport for London should stop using dirty tricks to promote its its toxic tunnel – especially at election time when public bodies should be acting neutrally.

It’s already packed a consultation full of leading questions and assertions that fall apart under scrutiny. Now it’s failed to come up with adequate data to back up its claims, it’s asking drivers to come up with anecdotes to support its plans.

Nobody’s pretending Blackwall Tunnel queues aren’t a problem – but the Silvertown Tunnel is the wrong solution in the wrong place. It will simply pile more pressure onto local roads and make the situation worse.

Instead of casting around for Blackwall Tunnel horror stories, TfL should be looking to cut traffic levels on London’s roads while boosting public transport, walking and cycling in the area instead.

If you’ve had an email, please feel free to respond – and tell TfL why the Silvertown Tunnel is such a bad idea.