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Want to regenerate Greenwich Peninsula properly? Build a walking and cycling link to Canary Wharf

Delta Wharf on the Greenwich Peninsula: Planners should be looking at making it possible to walk and cycle to the Isle of Dogs

Delta Wharf on the Greenwich Peninsula: Planners should be looking at making it possible to walk and cycle to the Isle of Dogs

Planners are currently mulling over new plans to redevelop the Greenwich Peninsula. We think they should be looking at making it possible for its thousands of new residents to walk or cycle to Canary Wharf.

Developer Knight Dragon recently asked Greenwich Council if it could change the 10-year-old masterplan for one of London’s biggest regeneration schemes.

The company’s new plan includes at least 12,700 new homes, education and healthcare facilities, a film studio and visitor attraction and a 500-room hotel.

But plans for a £1 billion road crossing between Greenwich Peninsula and the Royal Docks would put a brake on its plans to regenerate the area, by adding to congestion and pollution in the area.

No to Silvertown Tunnel thinks planners could boost the Greenwich Peninsula’s regeneration at a fraction of the cost by building a pedestrian and cycle connection to Canary Wharf.

It would ease pressure on the Jubilee Line and better connect the peninsula to the economic hub across the river.

Transport for London has already costed a bridge between North Greenwich and Canary Wharf at £90m – adding it could be “iconic” and would be “likely to encourage investment”.

With increasing development on both sides of the Thames, the main stumbling block of such a connection – that it would deposit walkers or cyclists in unattractive areas – is fast disappearing.

A pedestrian or cycle link to Canary Wharf would make Greenwich Peninsula more attractive for employers and residents alike.

Sustainable transport charity Sustrans has long been campaigning for a bridge from Rotherhithe to Canary Wharf – we think a link to Greenwich Peninsula should be considered too.

“The last thing the Greenwich Peninsula needs is more jams and more pollution from the Silvertown Tunnel,” Darryl Chamberlain from No to Silvertown Tunnel says.

“With more development planned along the Jubilee Line and Crossrail tipped to be full soon as it opens, it’s unwise to be relying so heavily on a packed Tube and a badly-thought-through road tunnel to regenerate the peninsula.

“It’s a big ask, but politicians, planners and developers should be looking at linking Canary Wharf and the Greenwich Peninsula for walkers and cyclists.

“It’d provide a link for everyone to use, from chief executives to cleaners, relieving the Tube and connecting communities.”

The formal consultation on the Greenwich Peninsula masterplan ended on 27 April, but Greenwich planners will still accept comments from members of the public. Head to and search for application 15/0716/O.

Find out more:
Cable Car Need and Business Case, Transport for London, 2011. First obtained using Freedom of Information laws by Alistair Johnson.
Our submission to the Greenwich Peninsula Masterplan planning application.

Video: Why TfL’s Silvertown Tunnel won’t cure Blackwall Tunnel congestion

Transport for London constantly claims the Silvertown Tunnel will cure congestion at the Blackwall Tunnel. That’s simply not true. It’ll do nothing to relieve the queues heading south on the A12 through Bow and Poplar, while additional traffic will merely exacerbate the congestion on the A102 and A2 through Greenwich, Kidbrooke, Eltham, Bexleyheath and beyond.

Don’t believe us? We took a Friday rush hour road trip to find out. Unlike TfL’s video, ours contains real traffic…

We’re holding open meetings in October and November

A Silvertown Tunnel won't cure these jams, despite what Transport for London claim

A Silvertown Tunnel won’t cure these jams, despite what Transport for London claim

We’re holding two open meetings for No to Silvertown Tunnel supporters in the next few weeks, where you can find out more about what we’ve been doing and what we’re thinking of doing next. If we met you at events during the summer, we’d especially like to see you there. If you’d like to help us, please feel free to come and share your ideas.

So we know how many people are coming along, please let us know you’re coming by registering using the links below.

Mycenae House, Mycenae Road, London SE3 7SE from 8pm on Monday 20 October.
(53, 54, 108, 202, 286, 386 buses, or train to Westcombe Park)
Register here for the south of the river meeting

Britannia Village Hall, 65 Evelyn Road, London E16 1TU from 8pm on Tuesday 18 November.
(474 bus or DLR to West Silvertown)
This date could move – but please sign up now and we’ll let you know if anything does change.
Register here for the north of the river meeting

What else is happening?

We’re expecting a new consultation into the Silvertown Tunnel (and possible Blackwall Tunnel tolling) to come very soon. We’ll be in touch when it comes out, and we’ll also be in touch with ideas for what you can put in any response.

We’ve launched a petition for TfL to extend the London Overground from Barking to Abbey Wood and Thamesmead – the kind of new river crossing east and south east London is crying out for. Sign up here and please respond to the consultation too.

We responded to TfL’s proposals for road bridges at Gallions Reach and Belvedere. (See also Green Assembly member Darren Johnson’s demolition of the schemes, Liberal Democrat Assembly member Caroline Pidgeon’s opposition; plus responses from GreenwichBexley and Tower Hamlets councils.)

Finally, especially if you’re in south-east London, please add your support to a Bakerloo Line extension to Lewisham, Catford and Hayes – we badly need more public transport, and we feel these plans should be brought forward.

To find out more about what we’re up to, and how you can help us, please come along to one of our meetings.

TfL’s Gallions Reach/ Belvedere crossings consultation: How we responded

TfL website
During the summer, Transport for London launched a consultation into two possible new road bridges across the Thames at Gallions Reach and Belvedere, along with the possible scrapping of the Woolwich Ferry.

While this consultation did not directly involve the proposed Silvertown Tunnel, it did assume that the tunnel was going ahead – a reminder that the Silvertown Tunnel is no solution for east and south-east London’s traffic problems. We also believe Transport for London exaggerated the extent of recent improvements to public transport, and excluded from its assessments the effect of the M11 link road, which opened in the late 1990s, on demand for the Blackwall Tunnel.

We understand many of those who are opposed to the Silvertown Tunnel would prefer to see new road river crossings further down the Thames. However, we believe action should be taken to enhance public transport connections across the Thames, clearing road space for those who do need to drive, before any road-based links are considered.

Here’s how we responded to the consultation.

Option 1: A new ferry at Woolwich. – STRONGLY SUPPORT

A free ferry at Woolwich is part of the history and identity of the immediate area, one which is enshrined in legislation. The removal of the Woolwich Ferry and its replacement with fixed road crossings removes one of the already-limited options for cyclists and pedestrians in east and south-east London. Women in particular will be deterred from making short journeys across the river at the point as the only other free option is the unattractive and unstaffed foot tunnel. It also reduces the flexibility of the local road network in Woolwich and the Royal Docks, including the ability to carry the restricted freight materials that cannot travel through the Blackwall Tunnel. Furthermore, we believe the possibility of closing or charging for a river crossing that is held in much affection by its neighbours has been deliberately downplayed by this scheme. As Woolwich is a key regeneration area which has recently attracted many new residents, and Greenwich Council plans to replace small business accommodation at Charlton riverside with new housing, we believe scrapping the Woolwich Ferry would be folly.

Option 2: A new ferry at Gallions by the early 2020s – OPPOSE

Under the terms of this consultation, the establishment of a ferry at Gallions Reach would mean the removal of a ferry at Woolwich. While we are in favour of free passage across the river, if there is to be a single service which caters for pedestrians and cyclists, then it should be at Woolwich. It appears to us that a ferry at Gallions would simply be an interim measure before a fixed crossing was introduced.

We would be more inclined to support a ferry at Gallions if it operated without charge, if the free ferry at Woolwich was to continue, and a fixed road-based crossing was permanently ruled out.

Option 3: Gallions Reach Bridge – OPPOSE

We object to the Silvertown Tunnel on the basis that it will increase traffic and pollution in south-east and east London. We believe the same failing applies to the Gallions Reach Bridge proposal, and so would not wish to see our neighbours suffer this fate. A study prepared for Newham Council last year shows huge increases in traffic generated by the Gallions proposals through Woolwich, Plumstead, Abbey Wood and Bexleyheath – particularly along side streets such as Knee Hill, Abbey Wood and Griffin Road, Plumstead. Such congestion may tempt future administrations to link a bridge to the A2 at Falconwood, threatening homes in Plumstead and natural habitats at Oxleas Woods. These site-specific proposals mean a bridge at Gallions Reach would threaten the future sustainability of the immediate area. Providing a road-based crossing as a replacement for the Woolwich Ferry would remove a realistic crossing for pedestrians and cyclists – nobody will want to walk or cycle across a long, high bridge on a wet, windy day. Indeed, the consultation documents admit this.

Option 4: A bridge at Belvedere – OPPOSE

As with the Gallions Reach Bridge proposal, we believe this will bring congestion and pollution to Belvedere, Erith and Crayford. A recent study into the widening of the A206 through Crayford shows it led to higher levels traffic and a degradation in air quality in the area; while a road-based crossing here would be even less attractive to pedestrians and cyclists than a bridge at Gallions Reach. The public would also need to be reassured about any impact on Rainham Marshes.

Which of these options should we proceed with? WOOLWICH FERRY

We note this consultation assumes the Silvertown Tunnel will be built. This hardly gives the public confidence that issues surrounding the construction of a road-based connection between Greenwich Peninsula and the Royal Docks are being dealt with in a sensible manner.

We also note that the previous Silvertown consultation was misleading because – unlike this consultation – it downplayed the plan to toll both the Silvertown and Blackwall tunnels, while the Bridge The Gap campaign, which was heavily promoted by both Greenwich and Newham councils, did not mention tolling at all.

Indeed, question 9 is a leading question. We would prefer to have been able to tick a box that supported further river crossings – but ones for public transport, pedestrians and cyclists, rather than boxes that supported further road-building.

If improving public transport infrastructure is leading to growth in the east sub-region, it seems clear that further investment in public transport would provide greater returns. Public transport appears to be a blind spot in the consultation document. The traffic impact report does not address modal shift in detail as no bus routes are planned to be added. Neither is it clear that the increased capacity from Crossrail has been taken into account.

We are instead presented with a futile set of choices. Because of the historic lack of public transport connectivity across the Thames, many people choose to drive. Instead of improving public transport to give drivers different options and to ease pressure on the road network, TfL is instead proposing to build new roads, which will make driving a more attractive option, eventually compounding the problem of congestion.

Indeed, recent improvements to public transport are not as impressive as the consultation documents make out. While the benefits in areas such as Brockley and Shoreditch cannot be denied, it is laughable to suggest the East London Railway is a new development – trains between Rotherhithe and Wapping have run since 1869. The Emirates Air Line is little more than a tourist attraction. It is not strategically positioned, charges premium fares and last October was found to carry no more than four regular users.

While the Docklands Light Railway extension to Woolwich is welcome, it is limited in reach and lacks the capacity for further extension. The huge popularity of this route is proof of the demand for better public transport links across the Thames.

It is insulting to suggest that “there has been a period of sustained investment in public transport capacity across the whole of east London over the past 20 years”. There remains a greater density of public transport provision in west London that cannot be merely explained by the radial nature of London’s transport network.

Even when Crossrail opens, there will remain no local public transport connection across the Thames between Woolwich and the limited X80 bus service at the Dartford Crossing. The HS2 rail service is not an option for residents in south-east London, and charges premium fares for those travelling from Kent. Indeed, driving to North Greenwich and using the Jubilee Line from there is a cheaper alternative.

In fact, the loss of two public transport crossings have been ignored – the 395 bus through the Rotherhithe Tunnel was axed in 2006, while the Ford Motor Company’s ferry service between Belvedere and Dagenham ended in 2003.

With the exception of London Overground and the tourist attraction that is the Emirates Air Line, all the public transport improvements have been focused on trips that eventually start and finish in central London, or Canary Wharf. It remains difficult to make purely cross-river trips. Even when the option’s built in, it remains unavailable – the Woolwich DLR service does not normally run to Stratford International, forcing passengers to make an awkward and unattractive change at Canning Town.

Instead of encouraging people to take to their cars, TfL should be increasing the density of public transport connections between east and south-east London, giving people a choice and clearing road space for those who do need to make journeys by car, van, truck or lorry.

We would also question the exclusion of the boroughs of Hackney, Waltham Forest and Redbridge from this study. These boroughs had massive road investment in the 1990s with the construction of the M11 link road. This new road has had long-term consequences, as it has made the Blackwall Tunnel more attractive to drivers heading north than the tolled Dartford Crossing.

We note that demand for a fixed crossing comes from medium-sized firms in the construction industry. Their needs could be accommodated if east and south-east London had a public transport network dense enough to release new capacity on the roads. We also note that firms involved in road-dependent sectors were over-sampled at the expense of those who are less reliant on highways. This indicates to us that the business survey is not representative of the true nature true of east and south-east London’s businesses – especially as land becomes more expensive following regeneration (for example, Greenwich Council’s Charlton Riverside masterplan envisages replacing industry with housing).

Mayor Johnson’s air quality claims are worthless while he’s planning new roads, Silvertown Tunnel campaigners say

Boris Johnson

Mayor Boris Johnson’s claims to be cleaning up London’s air are meaningless while he’s proposing to build polluting new roads in east and south-east London, campaigners against his Silvertown Tunnel have told MPs.

Johnson will give evidence to the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee, which is investigating the capital’s poor air quality, on Wednesday.

While the mayor talks up his plans for a low-emissions zone in a limited area of central London, the No to Silvertown Tunnel campaign warns the mayor is “failing to see the connection between traffic levels and air pollution in London’s inner and outer suburbs”.

Johnson’s submission also ignores his lack of action in transport and planning policies, including proposing to load more traffic onto the A102 and A2 through south-east London by building a road crossing between Greenwich Peninsula and Silvertown.

Traffic generated by the Silvertown Tunnel would blight communities south of the river from Eltham to Greenwich, and from Wapping to Silvertown and Canning Town north of the Thames.

The No to Silvertown Tunnel campaign has responded by asking MPs to quiz Johnson on why boroughs such as Tower Hamlets, Lewisham, Greenwich and Newham aren’t in his “ultra-low emissions zone”, and to ask why he is embarking on a road-building programme when studies have shown that building roads simply generates extra traffic and pollution.

The campaign has already undertaken two studies of air pollution in the area, to demonstrate just how bad the situation is currently.

“If the mayor was serious about cutting air pollution, he would be scrapping his road-building programme and expanding public transport connections between east and south-east London so residents did not have to resort to their cars to make relatively short journeys,” campaign spokesman Darryl Chamberlain says.

Transport for London is expected to launch a new consultation on the Silvertown Tunnel later this year. Currently, TfL is consulting on separate plans to build bridges at Gallions Reach and Belvedere, which the campaign is advising supporters to vote against.

The No to Silvertown Tunnel campaign is continuing to spread its message, and will have a stall at Britannia Village, Royal Victoria Dock for the Newham Waterfront Festival on Saturday 20 September.


Full text of our submission to the Environmental Audit Committee:

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to make observations on City Hall’s written submission to the Committee. As campaigners against a new road tunnel between the Greenwich Peninsula and the Royal Docks, we note that once again, the Mayor is failing to see the connection between traffic levels and air pollution in London’s inner and outer suburbs. Indeed, while his Ultra Low Emission Zone is welcome news for central London, it risks merely exporting pollution to residential districts which are already blighted by illegal levels of nitrogen dioxide in the atmosphere.

The mayor’s submission ignores his lack of action in transport and planning policies, which we will deal with in the answers to your questions.

1) How effective have GLA policies on air pollution been so far?
We believe that as long as the Greater London Authority plans to build new road-based river crossings to the east of London, many of City Hall’s policies on air pollution will be rendered worthless in boroughs such as Greenwich, Bexley, Newham and beyond. These areas in particular are threatened by his proposals for the Silvertown Tunnel, a vehicle-only crossing between the Greenwich Peninsula and the Royal Docks which will add extra traffic to the approaches to the Blackwall Tunnel, which are already congested in both directions.

In particular, nobody at City Hall has been able to say how the four-lane southbound A2, which is congested most evenings, will be able to cope with extra traffic from the Silvertown Tunnel. The existing congestion contributes to nitrogren dioxide levels of 104µg/m3 at the Bramshot Avenue subway in Charlton, a route used by children attending local schools.

It has been proven that building new roads generates new traffic, which leads to higher pollution levels on the roads. A study by Hyder Consulting conducted for Greenwich Council says the Silvertown Tunnel will quickly overwhelm local roads. The mayor himself even told LBC radio on 1 April 2014 that the Silvertown Tunnel “would [put] much more pressure on that area”.

A more recent study of the widening of the A206 in Crayford – a scheme promoted by the previous mayor – bears this out, this mayor plans to compound the error by adding a nearby river crossing to Rainham. And a study for Newham Council reveals huge increases in traffic through Woolwich, Plumstead, Abbey Wood and Bexleyheath if a road bridge at Gallions Reach goes ahead.

If the mayor was serious about cutting air pollution, he would be scrapping his road-building programme, and expanding public transport connections between east and south-east London so residents did not have to resort to their cars to make relatively short journeys.

The mayor’s planning decisions also reveal a less-than-scrupulous approach to air quality issues, and a disinclination to challenge boroughs in areas where pollution is high. Earlier this year, Mr Johnson waved through a decision by Greenwich Council to allow an Ikea store at Greenwich – despite it being adjacent to one of his own Air Quality Focus Areas, at the Woolwich Road flyover.

Indeed, the mayor appears to be putting too much trust in boroughs on air quality issues. The worst air pollution in Greenwich borough is in the area by Plumstead station, yet that does not appear on his list of focus areas. Nor does Woolwich Road in Charlton, another area blighted by poor air, and one that will suffer if the Silvertown Tunnel is built. It is also surprising to discover that Bexley has just one air quality focus area, in Erith – despite frequent traffic congestion in areas such as Welling.

2) What are the pros and cons of the proposed ultra-low emission zone?
Clearly, the ultra-low emission zone (ULEZ) is great news for those who live in central London. But in practice, it will make little difference to the vast majority of Londoners. Indeed, it risks exporting the problem further out, rather than dealing with the problem. If the mayor wishes to make a tangible difference to Londoners’ lives, he should be extending the ULEZ far beyond central London. But instead, he is happy to encourage polluting traffic from Kent and Essex to use inner London as a rat run, by pressing for the Silvertown Tunnel.

3) What questions should we be asking the mayor?
– Why have you not included the boroughs of Southwark, Lewisham, Greenwich, Tower Hamlets and Newham in the ULEZ?

– What effect would including the boroughs of Southwark, Lewisham, Greenwich, Tower Hamlets and Newham in the ULEZ have on your plans to build road crossings at Silvertown and Gallions Reach?

– Why do you continue to push a road-building programme when studies have proved that building new roads generates more traffic?

– Do you accept studies that show building more roads generates more traffic?

– What are you doing to challenge London boroughs to up their game when it comes to dealing with issues surrounding air pollution?

– What consideration do you give to air quality when assessing planning applications?

– What have you done to address poor air quality outside central London?

We hope the committee finds these observations and questions useful.

Come and see us at the Newham Waterfront Festival on 20 September

Britannia Village from the Thames Cable Car

If you’re coming from south of the river, you could take the cable car to the Newham Waterfront Festival

We’ll be in Silvertown itself on Saturday 20 September, meeting people at the Newham Waterfront Festival, which begins at 2pm at the Royal Victoria Dock.

There’ll be fun for all the family, with free, themed children’s activities including an interactive bubble show, storytelling and a mermaid dancing show. There’ll be live music from 70s band The Real Thing, and walking tours of the Royal Docks with historian Kathy Chater, before the day ends with a fireworks display at 7.45pm.

You’ll also be able to meet us and talk about the threat to the Royal Docks posed by the Silvertown Tunnel, which would emerge just a few hundred yards from the festival site. We’ll be on land that’s been kindly given to us for the day by the directors of Britannia Village, the housing development that faces onto the dock.

Much has been said about the threat the Silvertown Tunnel poses to communities south of the river, but increased traffic flows generated by the tunnel would also blight areas through Wapping, Limehouse, Poplar, Silvertown and Canning Town.

Britannia Village residents are among those under threat from TfL’s plans for the tunnel, which have been endorsed by Newham Council and its elected mayor Sir Robin Wales. We’re grateful to the BV management for allowing us to join them for the afternoon.

If you’re coming from north of the river, take the DLR to Royal Victoria or buses 147 or 241. If you’re coming from south of the Thames, we’ll be right underneath the cable car – Greenwich and Newham residents can get half-price return tickets.

July update: Horn Fayre and TfL’s latest river crossings consultation

Lewisham People's Day

Our Lewisham People’s Day stand in Mountsfield Park

Here’s the latest news from the No to Silvertown Tunnel campaign.


We’ve been out and about this summer, meeting new supporters and letting people know exactly what Boris Johnson is planning for east and southeast London. We had a great time at both the Plumstead Make Merry festival on 7 June, and Lewisham People’s Day on 12 July.

We’re not stopping there. Come and see us at the Horn Fayre in Charlton Park this coming Sunday (27 July, 11am-4pm). And in September we’re hoping to be at an event in Britannia Village, Silvertown – we’ll have more details nearer the time.

You may have heard about a new public consultation launched by Transport for London into new Thames road crossings at Gallions Reach, between Beckton and Thamesmead, and further downriver between Belvedere and Rainham.

The No To Silvertown Tunnel campaign is focusing on the existing proposal, for a road tunnel between Greenwich and the Royal Docks. We don’t have a policy on other river crossings, real or imagined.

But as the issues are inextricably linked, we’re keeping a close eye on all developments, including these ones for Gallions and Belvedere. 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.

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

No to Silvertown Tunnel campaign members are currently wading through the small print of TfL’s official consultation documents, and have uncovered some interesting assumptions that simply don’t stack up.

The public consultation closes in September, and TfL may release more details through the summer. So, for the time being, we suggest that you hold fire with any responses.

Well before the consultation period closes, we will come back with detailed thoughts on the TfL proposals that you may wish to include in any response.


We are looking for stories about how traffic and pollution have affected your life. If your health has suffered, or you simply cannot hang washing outside owing to the filthy air, please drop us a line at Your story could be valuable in building up the case against the Silvertown Tunnel.


Another effect of an increase in traffic on the Blackwall Tunnel approaches and other roads would be an increase in noise levels. Noise pollution blights local communities, contributing greatly to stress and other health problems.

Take, for example, the A102, which passes right next to people’s homes and gardens. Would you be willing to record sound levels for us, using free applications available for smartphones and tablets? If your street is affected by traffic noise, and you would like to take part in this citizen science exercise, please drop us a line at

No to Silvertown Tunnel in the summer: our first fête, two awards

Summer’s here and has brought with it all sorts of fêtes and festivals to our part of town. We’re keen to talk to as many people in our area as we can so we thought we’d go along to the Plumstead Make Merry. The Make Merry’s a fabulous community event – all kinds of people are represented, from political parties to local companies, to groups like us – 7,000 people turned up to have a look around, have their face painted, hook a penguin or listen to the bands.
Things did not get off to a very auspicious start: it was raining stair-rods as we turned up to put our stall up and we trudged about trying to put our balloons, badges and leaflets in order. The weather is obviously on Plumstead’s side, though, and just as the fête opened to the public the sun broke through and it was wonderful for the rest of the day.
As you know, one of our biggest concerns about the planned tunnel is the effect it will have on South East London’s air quality. As air pollution is largely invisible, we thought we could all do with some help trying to visualise what it might look like, so we enlisted some very talented children to draw us some pictures:
Meanwhile we spoke to their parents about our concerns about the Silvertown Tunnel. Time and again we were telling people about plans they knew nothing about.  We’re not really surprised – this has been our experience so far when talking to people round and about – but we are concerned.  We know the public won’t have much time to consider the proposals when the consultation on the development starts later in the year, so we need to keep putting our message out. We handed out our No to Silvertown Tunnel badges – this season’s must-have accessory – to as many people as we could, and we hope they find as many chances to wear them as they can.
Our stall wasn’t the only thing happening last Saturday: Darryl Chamberlain and Stewart Christie of our committee were presented with Clean Air in Cities Awards for 2014 by Simon Birkett, the Director of Clean Air in London to recognise their contribution to improving air quality in London. It’s always good to see hard work rewarded – well done, Darryl and Stewart!
We’ll be out and about again over the summer: you can find us next at Lewisham’s People Day on 12th July 2014.  Come down and join in the fun  – we hope to see you there!



A102 fire shows why the Silvertown Tunnel’s an insane idea

TfL traffic cam shot

This morning’s fire close to the Blackwall Tunnel approach has revealed the “insanity” of plans by the Mayor of London to build a new road across the Thames from there to the Royal Docks, campaigners against the Silvertown Tunnel have warned.

A fire in a repair yard at Peterboat Close has caused closures on the A102 as the London Fire Brigade works to put the blaze out, with smoke billowing across the area earmarked for a Silvertown Tunnel approach road.

Transport for London, Greenwich Council and Newham Council claim a Silvertown Tunnel would provide an alternative route for drivers affected by delays at the Blackwall Tunnel.

But today’s fire shows their claims to be misleading, as it has resulted in the closure of the A102 as far south as the Sun-in-the-Sands roundabout, causing frustration for thousands of drivers – a closure that would also hit the increased levels of traffic that would also be using the Silvertown Tunnel.

The site of the fire is adjacent to where Transport for London wants to build the slip roads for the Silvertown Tunnel.

At 10am on Thursday, queues were fanning out across south-east London – something a new road tunnel would only make worse.

Transport for London has predicted a 20% increase in traffic using the tunnel approaches if a Silvertown Tunnel is built, while mayor Boris Johnson has said the capacity would be “doubled”. Greenwich Council and Newham Council have backed TfL’s plans.

“We’re pleased to hear nobody has been injured in the incident, but today’s fire has shown the insanity of TfL’s plans for a new road tunnel at Blackwall – the road network simply can’t cope with it,” No to Silvertown Tunnel spokesperson Darryl Chamberlain said.

“It’s a sad fact that the A102 and A2 are often closed by accidents and other incidents – yet Boris Johnson, Greenwich Council and Newham Council want to rely on these roads more and more to get people across the river. None of them have even put together an economic case for the tunnel.

“The Silvertown Tunnel’s just a lazy cop-out of an idea. We should be looking at getting more traffic off the roads and building more public transport and making it easier and safer to walk and cycle, instead of encouraging more traffic and wondering why there’s gridlock when something goes wrong.”

The fire comes as No to Silvertown Tunnel releases the results of its second “citizen science” survey of air quality, conducted in association with Don’t Dump on Deptford’s Heart and Network for Clean Air.

The readings, which were taken at sites across five London boroughs in January, show horrifying pollution levels right where people live, work, shop, and go to school.

Results included levels of over two-and-a-half times the EU air pollution limit next to the A102 at Bramshot Avenue, Charlton, a favourite route for children to walk to school, and levels well above the EU limit at schools in Deptford and Charlton.

A map showing all the results is available at

April update

Smog and traffic which can only get heavier: Charlton Road, 5pm on 2 April

Smog and traffic which can only get heavier: Charlton Road, 5pm on 2 April

Welcome to the April update from the No to Silvertown Tunnel campaign.
  • You can’t have failed to notice the recent grotty air in London. Dust from Saharan sand has made the problem of pollution all too visible, but it’s home made motor vehicle traffic that causes most of the problem. We’re calling on Transport for London as well as Newham and Greenwich Councils to ‘get the sand out of their eyes’ and accept that building new roads such as the Silvertown tunnel will only make this worse.
  • We’ve submitted evidence to two official consultations. One was on amendments to the Mayor’s London Plan, which would swing planning policy in London behind building more new roads. The other was from the London Health Commission, on how transport impacts our health.
  • We’re now up and running with our bank account. If you would like to support our work, the details are:

Sort code: 08-92-99

Account number: 65714195


  • Would you or your community group like to carry out your own study of air pollution in your area? Mapping for Change is offering funding to help four community groups to undertake air quality mapping projects, similar to the ones we have carried out. Applications need to be with them by 30 April.
  • Did you know there are local elections coming up next month? If you get a candidate on your doorstep, or one of their helpers, ask them what they think of the Silvertown Tunnel. Are they going to fight it? Then please tell us what they said –
  • Do you want to see more spaces for cycling in your neighbourhood? You can use the London Cycling Campaign’s #space4cycling campaign to ask your local councillors and candidates to help push for cycle safety – and why not add a message about the Silvertown Tunnel as well?

Is there something else you’d like to know or would you like to be involved in any future volunteer projects that we run? You can drop us a line at, or find us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks for all your support so far,
from all of us at the No to Silvertown Tunnel Campaign

London in the dock over air pollution

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The people of London know all too well the foul state of the air they breathe, and scientific studies confirm that air pollution from motor vehicle exhausts routinely exceeds statutory limits designed to protect our health. Pollution from vehicle fumes can lead to respiratory illness and premature death, and the problem is particularly acute in many British cities.

Following persistent breaches of regulations governing air-borne pollutants such as nitrogen oxides and particulate matter produced in the burning of fossil fuels, the European Commission las month launched legal proceedings against the UK for failing to deal with poor air quality. As with all EU regulations, the 2008 air pollution directive was drawn up with full and equal participation from the UK government.

As concerned residents of southeast London, we in the No to Silvertown Tunnel campaign have in the past year conducted two citizen science experiments looking at nitrogen dioxide levels near to major roads, including those linked with the Blackwall Tunnel. In the first of these studies, concentrations of nitrogen dioxide were found to exceed legal limits at around half of the monitored locations. In the worst case, the pollution level was nearly twice the permitted maximum. Results from the second, more extensive survey are due soon – watch this space.

Given the perilous and worsening state of our air, the Mayor of London and other local politicians should do away with plans to bring even more traffic congestion and pollution to the region. We are calling on them to scrap plans for a Silvertown road tunnel, and instead support sustainable Thames river crossings which prioritise public transport, pedestrians and cyclists.