What’s happening with the Silvertown Tunnel? A quick update…

Wednesday afternoon smog over the A102 heading away from the Blackwall Tunnel

Wednesday afternoon smog over the A102 heading away from the Blackwall Tunnel

The public examination into Mayor Sadiq Khan’s Silvertown Tunnel proposals is in full swing. Here’s what we’re doing while all this is going on – and a couple of things you can do, too.

Khan backed the Silvertown Tunnel after becoming mayor, but the final decision isn’t down to him. We’re now in a six-month process of public hearings overseen by the Planning Inspectorate.

A three-strong panel is sifting through the arguments, and they will make a recommendation on whether or not to back the tunnel in April 2017. It then goes to the Secretary of State for Transport for a final decision.

As part of this, we’ve submitted a 9,000-word written representation, drawing on views from residents and transport experts as well as our take on what’s in TfL’s application. You can read our written representation on the Planning Inspectorate’s website – along with everyone else’s.

We attended the first hearings, which were held at ExCel in October.

Who’s saying what?

What struck us as interesting is that the major landowners on the Greenwich Peninsula – Knight Dragon and the firms behind the O2 – are currently objecting to the scheme because of the way it will be constructed.

It seems to us that the reliability of TfL’s traffic modelling will be the key to whether this gets approved or not – since everything else follows from that.

Yet we’re seeing demands from Newham Council and others to give residents discounts on using the tunnel, along with heavy hints from Sadiq Khan that this could be on the cards – even though this would throw TfL’s predictions for traffic levels in disarray.

The next set of hearings will be at the Crystal, also in the Royal Docks, next week. They’ll be dealing with traffic modelling and compulsory purchases of land. We’ll be at the hearing on traffic modelling on 7 December. There’ll be further hearings in January, at a location to be decided.

If you’ve any questions about the planning process, give the Planning Inspectorate’s project team a call on 0303 444 5000 or visit its website.

What else is happening?

If you have a moment spare, there are some more things you can do…

  • Ever wanted to carry out an air pollution study in your neighbourhood? We’ll shortly be announcing a scheme to help communities carry out the kinds of studies we’ve done in the past. If you’d like to team up with neighbours to do one yourself, have a think about it – we’ll announce more details soon.
  • The Mayor is still consulting on his plans to tackle air pollution in London. We believe the Silvertown Tunnel will undermine these proposals, and that the Ultra Low Emissions Zone should cover all of Greater London, not just the area within the North and South Circular. Tell him what you think (you can mention the tunnel at question 14): https://consultations.tfl.gov.uk/environment/air-quality-consultation-phase-2/
  • Live north of the proposed tunnel? There are plans to include new pedestrian crossings on the A12 at Bromley-by-Bow. Find out more, and how to respond, from Diamond Geezer: http://diamondgeezer.blogspot.co.uk/2016/11/bromley-by-bow-south-masterplan.html
  • Live south of the proposed tunnel? TfL and Greenwich Council are planning to rip out the bus lane through Greenwich Millennium Village. Take part in the consultation: https://consultations.tfl.gov.uk/roads/west-parkside/

Finally, we’re having some Christmas drinks on Sunday 18 December at the Woolwich Equitable pub, General Gordon Place SE18 5AB – opposite Woolwich Arsenal National Rail/DLR station. We’d love to see as many people as possible – we’ll be there from 7.30pm.