Come to our meeting: Community Links, Canning Town; Thursday 9 June, 7pm

Canning Town street sign

Roads in Newham and Tower Hamlets will be flooded with new traffic from the Silvertown Tunnel

We’re holding a public meeting in Canning Town on Thursday 9 June, and we’d love to see you there.

TfL’s Silvertown Tunnel plans will dump new traffic in Silvertown, Canning Town and Poplar, providing a new route for HGVs to cross the river and add to pollution and congestion in communities close to its northern exit.

The £1bn tunnel will also do nothing to ease the southbound queues that back up past schools and homes on the A12 towards Bow. And the queues that build up for events at the ExCel centre will only get worse. The video below shows a queue over the Lower Lea Crossing during last year’s Baby Show.

So we’re holding a new meeting at Community Links, 105 Barking Road E16 4HQ at 7pm on Thursday 9 June. We’ll have speakers from both sides of the Thames who will outline the threat the tunnel poses – and what you can do about it. Want to invite friends? Use our Facebook event page.

Community Links is a short walk from Canning Town Tube and DLR station – if you’re coming from south of the river, it’s just one stop up from North Greenwich on the Jubilee Line, or a few stops from Woolwich Arsenal on the DLR. Buses 5, 69, 115, 276, 300, 330 and 541 stop outside.

There’s also an opportunity to put concerns about the tunnel directly to Sadiq Khan at the State of London debate, at the O2 in Greenwich on Thursday 30 June. Tickets are free for the event, which begins at 7pm.

Canning Town by Nico Hogg published under Creative Commons licence CC BY-NC 2.0.

The Silvertown Tunnel is no solution for the Blackwall Tunnel’s failures

Delays hit the Blackwall Tunnel

The Blackwall Tunnel closure caused gridlock across south-east London – but a new tunnel at this point is not a serious solution to these problems

It’s the nightmare that haunts hundreds of thousands of drivers. And it happened on Tuesday morning, right as the rush hour began. A mobile crane managed to shed a load of diesel and hydraulic fluid all over the northbound Blackwall Tunnel.

Cue huge jams and a lengthy closure as south-east London’s road network ground to a halt while the difficult task of resurfacing the tunnel began. Three-hour delays for buses were reported at the height of the disruption, while howls of frustration could heard from as far away as the Kent coast.

None of this is good for the lives of people who live near the tunnel. It’s no good for the wider economy, either.

But the proposed Silvertown Tunnel is no solution to Blackwall Tunnel woes – whether huge failures like Tuesday’s, or the minor closures that happen every day.

It fails as a diversionary route – blighting Canning Town and Poplar

As a diversion route, the proposed tunnel is inadequate for the levels of traffic that use Blackwall each day. Normal operation would see it restricted to just one lane for normal traffic, with another set aside for buses and HGVs. At times of disruption, all traffic would be able to use both lanes… only to hit a set of traffic lights at the tunnel’s northern exit.

Many drivers from south London and Kent assume they’ll be able to just fly away from the Silvertown Tunnel once they cross the Thames. That won’t be the case on a good day, and it certainly won’t happen on a bad day. Northbound traffic would emerge at a rebuilt Tidal Basin Roundabout – a junction that’d be controlled by traffic lights.

At Tidal Basin Roundabout, you can head right towards Silvertown and local roads through the Royal Docks; or left to the Lower Lea Crossing and the Docklands. There’d be no direct route for the majority of diverted Blackwall Tunnel traffic to reach the A12 towards Bow – to do that you’d need to proceed through three more congested junctions, all of which are vulnerable to jams on the A13 or on the Limehouse Link/ Aspen Way.

With the Silvertown Tunnel in place, a Blackwall Tunnel closure would be likely to spread traffic jams across both sides of the Thames, grinding Lower Lea Crossing, Leamouth Road and East India Dock Road to a halt.

If you were heading towards Essex, you’d end up on local roads through Silvertown and Beckton which aren’t up to the job of taking all the diverted traffic.

Traffic jams will still blight south-east London – and wreck bus services

Meanwhile, traffic would start queuing back from Tidal Basin Roundabout, through the Silvertown Tunnel, and back down the A102 as before. As usual, buses would take the biggest hit, with route 108 rendered unusable, just as it is now.

And all this is taking TfL’s highly dubious assertions of a minimal traffic increase from the Silvertown Tunnel at face value. New roads have an unfortunate habit of generating new traffic, so the combined Blackwall and Silvertown approach would be significantly busier than it is now.

It’s also worth saying that the location of the Silvertown Tunnel makes it impractical for A12 drivers when the southbound Blackwall Tunnel packs up; you’d either be stuck on the northern approach or crawling through Stratford, West Ham and Canning Town.

River crossings and the roads around them will always be vulnerable to disruption – even the network of bridges in west London suffers badly when one is closed. The Silvertown Tunnel would merely add pressure to existing roads – particularly the A102 – and would be little use when things go wrong with Blackwall.

Cut traffic levels, cut the number of jams

The only way you can guarantee reducing congestion is by reducing the amount of traffic on the roads – and giving Londoners alternative ways to cross the river, such as by public transport, on foot, or by bike. This would free up space for those who need to use the roads.

Now he is mayor, we are calling on Sadiq Khan to commission a thorough review of the Silvertown Tunnel, as he promised, along with the other crossings proposed under his predecessor.

All of us – drivers, residents, and commuters – deserve fresh thinking on this issue, and not the same old “solutions” that are bound to fail, just as the Blackwall Tunnel did on Tuesday.

Where do the candidates stand? Think of the Silvertown Tunnel when you vote this Thursday

Polling Station by Paul Wilkinson used under Creative Commons licence CC BY 2.0

London elects a new mayor this Thursday. Unlike most elections, every vote counts in this one – so your choice could help decide whether the Silvertown Tunnel goes ahead or not.

There are many, many issues that will influence your vote, but you may wish to consider the candidates’ views on the Silvertown Tunnel before casting your votes.

You have a first choice and a second choice on the pink ballot for mayor. This means you can vote with your heart with your first preference, and your head with your second choice.

It’s also worth considering the tunnel when voting on the orange paper – the party list ballot that decides some of the membership of the London Assembly, the body which scrutinises the mayor’s policies.

Over the past seven months we’ve been contacting candidates, meeting some of them, reading their manifestos and keeping up with their interviews to find out where they stand on the Silvertown Tunnel.

We’re also grateful that so many other people have also been in touch with them, reminding them that the Silvertown Tunnel is the wrong solution to London’s traffic problems.

Caroline Pidgeon - picture from London Liberal Democrats

Anti-tunnel: Caroline Pidgeon

One candidate has included scrapping the tunnel in her main manifesto – Liberal Democrat contender Caroline Pidgeon. As a former Southwark councillor – and current London Assembly member – she’s well aware that the Silvertown Tunnel is not a parochial issue affecting only Greenwich, Silvertown or Poplar – the extra traffic the tunnel will attract will clog up streets right across east and south east London.

Her manifesto says:

“We will oppose the proposed Silvertown Tunnel, which would exacerbate congestion at a cost of £1 billion.”

We’ve met Caroline and her team and are grateful for her support, which has included asking outgoing mayor Boris Johnson tough questions about the scheme. She also heads her party list for the London Assembly – on the orange ballot paper.

Sian Berry - picture from London Green Party

Anti-tunnel: Sian Berry

We’ve also had consistent support from Sian Berry, the Green Party’s candidate for mayor. Her manifesto commits her to scrapping all new roadbuilding projects in London. Local manifestos for east London and south-east London highlight the threat from the Silvertown Tunnel.

“We will cancel plans for new road-building schemes, including river crossings and new road tunnels. Instead, our investment plans will be for new river crossings for people on foot, bikes and public transport.”

Sian spoke at our public meeting in Greenwich in October 2013, and also helped us in her old day job as roads campaigner for our friends at Campaign for Better Transport. She’s been emphasising her opposition to the tunnel in recent weeks, including bringing it to a national audience on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

Again, Sian heads the Green Party list for the London Assembly – on the orange ballot paper – where she aims to replace outgoing Green assembly member Darren Johnson, who has also asked tough questions of the mayor about the tunnel. We’d like to thank Darren for his work.

Sadiq Khan

Wants a review: Sadiq Khan

Labour’s Sadiq Khan made his first comment on the tunnel last month, distancing himself from TfL’s proposals. He said they “do not fully take into consideration the importance of greener transport, and imposing a toll is in many people’s minds a tax on East and South East Londoners”.

He added: “We need a proper joined up review, looking at river crossings and improved public transport connections east of Tower Bridge, but in a strategic fashion, not piecemeal like the current mayor.”

And last week he told Londonist:

“My concern is that there’s not a proper plan to have crossings that don’t have an adverse impact on air quality, the environment and the people in the south east of London.”

Five Labour boroughs – Lewisham, Southwark, Hackney, Waltham Forest and Newham – have opposed the current Silvertown Tunnel plans in the most recent TfL consultation, and it’s good to see Sadiq recognise the serious flaws in the proposal.

We’d be happy to meet him and explain more about why the tunnel is bad for London.

Zac Goldsmith - Conservative Party

Pro-tunnel: Zac Goldsmith

Which brings us to Zac Goldsmith, the Conservative candidate. His campaign team may wave around placards reading “cleaner air”, but in the case of the Silvertown Tunnel, it’s just hot air – he’s a wholehearted supporter.

According to his manifesto:

“I will back a new, privately-financed tunnel at Silvertown as part of my Action Plan for Greater London, with construction starting from 2018… To ensure it doesn’t add to air pollution, I will levy higher charges for dirty vehicles, while offering discounts for the cleanest cars.”

Zac’s basically taking TfL’s current proposal and passing it off as his own, with the addition that he’d charge highly polluting vehicles more to use the tunnel.

This actually risks even worse pollution than TfL’s current plans, as the filthiest vehicles would then start clogging up other streets looking for the nearest free crossing.

For someone who spent 10 years as editor of a magazine called The Ecologist, it’s a frighteningly naive proposal, and deeply disappointing. Maybe he’s being very badly advised. Or perhaps for Zac, clean air only matters in the west of London, where he has campaigned against Heathrow Airport expansion.

Of the other candidates, Ukip’s Peter Whittle has not addressed the Silvertown Tunnel directly, but he has said he is against building new river crossings for cars.

Care about clean air and congestion? Cancel the Silvertown Tunnel

It’s an election where candidates are very keen to boast how much they care about clean air.

Communities across east and south east London deserve clean air as much as their neighbours in west and central London – so we’ll be looking for the next mayor to cancel the Silvertown Tunnel at the first opportunity.

As far as the orange ballot paper is concerned, we can’t emphasise enough how Greens and Liberal Democrats have asked tough questions of the mayor, in contrast to other assembly members. If the next mayor decides to push on with the Silvertown Tunnel, this sort of scrutiny will be badly needed.

Whatever happens on 5 May, we’ll be watching the results closely, both for the mayoral and London Assembly elections.

And whoever wins can be sure of one thing – we’ll be in touch to say hello as soon as they’ve got their feet under the table.

Main photo: Polling Station by Paul Wilkinson, used under Creative Commons licence CC-BY-2.0.

Send them a postcard – tell Zac and Sadiq to scrap the toxic tunnel

our postcard to Zac and Sadiq

It’s time to tell mayoral candidates what you think of the Silvertown Tunnel scheme and our high levels of air pollution – and we can help.

The No to Silvertown Tunnel campaign has produced postcards that you can send to Zac Goldsmith and Sadiq Khan, and others, to make them think about what Transport for London’s plans will do to our health and well-being.

We’ll be distributing them in the coming days for you and your friends and neighbours to sign and post.

You can pick some up from us at café drop-in sessions, on April 4 and 13, or email us at

If you’re local to Charlton, Blackheath, Greenwich or Eltham, we’re happy to deliver by hand – if not, we can post some to you.

The more cards the candidates receive, the more they’ll take note of the serious effects the Silvertown Tunnel’s increased road traffic levels will cause. (You could also use them to thank Sian Berry and Caroline Pidgeon for their continued support of our campaign to scrap the scheme.)

On Monday 4th April you’ll find us at the café at the Forum at Greenwich, Trafalgar Road, SE10 9EQ from 1:30 to 2:30 pm. Then from 3:00 to 4:00 pm we’ll be at the lovely Pistachio’s Café in East Greenwich Pleasaunce, Chevening Road, SE10 0LA.

On Wednesday 13th April, we’ll be at the Old Cottage Café, Charlton Park, SE7 8UB from 1:30 to 2:30 pm, and then at Mycenae House, 90 Mycenae Road, SE3 7SE from 3:00 to 4:00 pm.

Please join us to hear what the two candidates are saying (hint: not a lot), pick up postcards for yourself and friends and neighbours, and find out what you can do in the next stages of the planning application.

Opposition to the Silvertown Tunnel is growing – so what happens next?

A southbound jam on the A2 in Eltham - a scene that'll be even more common if the Silvertown Tunnel goes ahead

A southbound jam on the A2 in Eltham – a scene that’ll be even more common if the Silvertown Tunnel goes ahead

You might have seen some statements from TfL recently about what’s happening with the Silvertown Tunnel scheme. There’s a few things they’re keeping quiet about, and a few things you can do right now, so we thought we’d give you a quick update on where we are with the scheme.

The more people know about the Silvertown Tunnel, the more they realise it’s a barmy idea. Transport for London’s consultation results are starting to prove that.

TfL’s 2014 consultation – which was one big advert for the tunnel – had 83% of respondents backing the scheme.

But in last autumn’s consultation, this figure fell to 58%. Considering all the effort TfL has put into trying to sell the tunnel, that’s a big drop.

It’s not just public support that’s ebbing away. Lewisham and Hackney councils passed motions against it, while Southwark and Waltham Forest councils also submitted objections to the scheme.

Most tellingly, even Newham – which actually campaigned for the tunnel in 2013 – has told TfL it is unhappy with its current plans. Of the three boroughs closest to the tunnel, only Greenwich is still an enthusiastic supporter of the scheme – despite local MP Matt Pennycook also coming out against the tunnel.

The tide’s turning against the tunnel – but what happens next?

TfL had always planned to apply for permission to build the tunnel this spring, and that’s what’s happening. The TfL board met last week and gave approval for it to submit a Development Consent Order (DCO). This would give it powers to go ahead with building the tunnel.

This was expected – outgoing mayor Boris Johnson chairs TfL, and he’s keen to get the ball rolling before he leaves. (Of course, once he’s gone, the ball can be stopped. More on that shortly.)

If TfL does submit the DCO this spring, you’ll have the chance to make your own individual objection to the scheme. Because the tunnel is deemed a “nationally significant infrastructure project”, it must go through a different process than normal.

You can make an early start by signing up with the Planning Inspectorate, which will send you updates on the scheme. If TfL does apply for permission, you can then register as an “interested party” and submit objections. More on that if it happens.

After Boris – tell the next mayor to cancel the tunnel

The mayoral election is getting closer, and the winner will be able to cancel the Silvertown Tunnel the moment they get the keys to City Hall.

So it’s vitally important that you tell the candidates for mayor and the London Assembly to scrap the toxic tunnel – or they won’t get your vote. Please remember this if you get a knock on your door in the coming months.

And even if a candidate promises to scrap the tunnel, please tell them to put it in their manifesto and to keep talking about it – this would help our campaign a great deal.

Current candidates include: Sian Berry (Green), George Galloway (Respect), Zac Goldsmith (Conservative), Sadiq Khan (Labour), Caroline Pidgeon (Lib Dem), Sophie Walker (Women’s Equality) and Peter Whittle (Ukip).

More new roads – take part in the other crossing consultations

We’d encourage you to respond to TfL’s other crossing consultation, on options for road crossings at Gallions Reach (between Thamesmead and Beckton) and Belvedere. You’ll find it on TfL’s consultations website.

Many of the issues with the Silvertown Tunnel also apply to these new crossings.

If you’re concerned by TfL’s plans, visit Bexley Against Road Crossings.

There’s also a consultation on the Lower Thames Crossing, which would run between the M2 and M25 in Kent and Essex – visit Highways England for more.

And finally…

Boris Johnson announced last week that TfL is looking into building huge road tunnels across London – one would feed straight into the Blackwall Tunnel northern approach at Hackney Wick, the other appears to run under Greenwich and the Royal Docks to Beckton.

If you want to stop the spread of these new roads across our capital city, please help us stop the first one – let’s get the Silvertown Tunnel cancelled.

Our annual general meeting is on Thursday 18 February at Mycenae House, Blackheath at 8pm. We hope to see you there!

Tell London’s mayoral candidates – scrap the Silvertown Tunnel

London's mayoral candidates include Sian Berry (Green), Zac Goldsmith (Conservative), Sadiq Khan (Labour) and Caroline Pidgeon (Liberal Democrat)

London’s mayoral candidates include Sian Berry (Green), Zac Goldsmith (Conservative), Sadiq Khan (Labour) and Caroline Pidgeon (Liberal Democrat)

The final public consultation into Transport for London’s Silvertown Tunnel proposals is over. But it’s not too late to do your bit to stop the £1bn toxic tunnel – because London’s next mayor can axe the project in 2016.

We were delighted with the response to our campaign against a new road which is likely to increase congestion and pollution in neighbourhoods on both sides of the river. We’re grateful to everybody who took the opportunity to speak out – and to those who told us how useful they found our suggested response.

And we’d especially like to thank our brilliant volunteers who helped us deliver 10,000 leaflets to homes on both sides of the river – many to people who’d never heard about TfL’s scheme before.

More than 100 people came to our public meeting at the Forum in Greenwich last month. We’ve found that the more people find out about the Silvertown Tunnel, the more they don’t want it.

What happens next?

We expect TfL will announce it is going ahead with the tunnel in early 2016 (probably around February) – essentially so mayor Boris Johnson can have it signed off before he leaves office.

It’s expected to apply for planning permission in the spring, with TfL hoping a final decision will be taken by the Secretary of State for Transport in the summer of 2017.

But this timetable isn’t set in stone. And the new mayor can change all this by scrapping the scheme as soon as he or she is elected. So May’s City Hall elections are vitally important.

Conservative Zac Goldsmith and Labour’s Sadiq Khan are yet to say what they’ll do. Both are well aware of the problems with the tunnel scheme. But we don’t yet know what their thoughts are.

What can I do?

We need as many people as we can to get in touch with them – Goldsmith at, Khan at – and tell them they’ll lose votes if they continue with TfL’s toxic tunnel.

Want to support a candidate who’s against the tunnel? Get in touch with Green candidate Sian Berry at or Liberal Democrat contender Caroline Pidgeon (

If you get canvassed by any of the parties – tell them you oppose the Silvertown Tunnel. And ask your MP, assembly member and councillor what they’re doing to influence the mayoral candidates – get in touch with them via

The Silvertown Tunnel is a threat to a great swathe of London – that’s why both Hackney and Lewisham councils passed motions against it. If you can take a few minutes to email a mayoral candidate with your concerns, you’ll be doing thousands of people a huge favour.

Lewisham Council votes to oppose TfL’s toxic Silvertown Tunnel

Lewisham councillors fear the Silvertown Tunnel will make the notorious queues on the South Circular even worse

Lewisham councillors fear the Silvertown Tunnel will make the notorious queues on the South Circular even worse

Big news with just a few days left of TfL’s consultation – Lewisham Council has passed a motion opposing the Silvertown Tunnel.

Councillors unanimously passed the declaration, which said the planned tunnel between Greenwich and the Royal Docks “risks exacerbating rather than dispersing” traffic congestion in the area, including on the A2 and the South Circular Road in the borough.

The resulting increase in congestion also risks “a deterioration of air quality in the London Borough of Lewisham”, affecting the health of residents, it added.

Lewisham follows in the footsteps of Hackney, which passed an anti-Silvertown Tunnel motion in July.

TfL’s consultation into the £1bn scheme – the final one before it applies for planning permission – closes on Sunday. However, the final decision on whether to go ahead with the tunnel will rest with whoever succeeds Boris Johnson as London mayor next May.

See our guide to opposing the tunnel. The London Cycling Campaign also has some tips on how to say no.

Labour councillor and cabinet member for resources Kevin Bonavia poured scorn on TfL’s claims about traffic heading to the proposed tunnel.

“What TfL don’t say is how they’ll deal with the approach roads,” he said. “All they’ll have is a widening of the A102 near the tunnel – nothing about the approach roads further up.

“What does that mean for us in Lewisham, on the A2 and South Circular? More congestion.”

He also criticised TfL’s admission that there would be a “negligible” worsening of air quality in the borough because of the tunnel.

“We are suffering poor air quality now. That is simply not good enough,” he told fellow councillors at Lewisham Town Hall.

“This proposal is poorly planned, poorly placed, and only harm the poor congestion and poor air quality our residents face.”

Environment cabinet member Rachel Onikosi seconded the motion, accusing TfL of “over-egging” the case for the tunnel as a “congestion killer”, while fellow Labour councillor Suzannah Clarke said plans to toll both Silvertown and Blackwall Tunnels were a “financial penalty” on local people.

Green Party councillor John Coughlin branded the Silvertown Tunnel “virtually nonsensical”, adding it was a “massive missed opportunity” for cyclists, who have few options for crossing the Thames.

“I seriously question TfL’s assertion that the Silvertown Tunnel will ‘virtually eradicate’ congestion on the Blackwall Tunnel approaches,” he said.

“We all know that if you build more roads, you get more cars; and when you get more cars, you get more air pollution – this is not a difficult thing to get our heads around.”

The motion was passed by all councillors present.

“We’re pleased Lewisham has become the second borough to pass a motion against the Silvertown Tunnel. It shows it’s not just a parochial issue in Greenwich and Newham – by generating more traffic, the Silvertown Tunnel will affect people’s lives across south and east London,” No to Silvertown Tunnel chair Nikki Coates said.

“The Silvertown Tunnel won’t do anything about the terrible traffic problems south-east London faces – in fact, it’s likely to make them worse. We’re glad Lewisham Council has recognised this and hope London’s mayoral candidates follow suit.”

Time’s running out: Here’s some help in saying NO to TfL’s toxic Silvertown Tunnel

Rochester Way traffic jam

A southbound jam on the A2 in Kidbrooke – in 2014, TfL predicted 20% extra traffic would use this route, adding to pollution and congestion

Transport for London’s consultation into the Silvertown Tunnel ends on Sunday 29 November. You can find out more about why the tunnel’s such a bad idea on the rest of our website. We’ve already submitted our response – and you should submit yours too at

If you’re looking for some ideas, here are some suggested responses. Everyone will have a slightly different view, so feel free to add your own comments, or amend ours as you see fit.

(Want more detail? Here’s our FULL 18-page response.)

Wherever you live, please also tell your local councillors, London Assembly members and MP you object to the Silvertown Tunnel. Find them at

Do you support the Silvertown Tunnel scheme as a means to address congestion and closures at the Blackwall Tunnel, and support future growth in London?


If you have any comments about our intention to apply for consent to build and operate the Silvertown Tunnel scheme, please let us know in the space below.

The Silvertown Tunnel will not reduce congestion. Indeed, it is very likely to increase southbound congestion on the A102 and A2, and general congestion on the A1261 Aspen Way and A1020 Leamouth Road, Lower Lea Crossing and North Woolwich Road, and on other roads in east and south-east London.

[You may have a better idea of how the Silvertown Tunnel will affect roads in your part of London – so please feel free to add your own thoughts and name the roads you think will be affected.]

London’s future growth would be better secured by investment in public transport provision.

It is inappropriate that this statutory consultation is taking place on the strength of preliminary assessments. This means environmental risks have not been fully assessed in the final public consultation. We are not being presented with full assessments.

Connections to the existing road network: We have described the proposed design of new junctions to link the tunnel to the existing road network. If you have any comments on the design of these new junctions please let us know in the space below.

The only changes envisaged to the existing road network are in the immediate vicinity of the proposed tunnel. The consequences of the scheme further north and south have been ignored.

The planned widening of the Blackwall Tunnel Southern Approach fails to include provision for the inevitable increased traffic heading for the two tunnels. Junctions on the A102 and A2 further south, for instance at the Sun-in-the-Sands, are already under considerable pressure, and are set to remain so. Many residents fear the loss of their homes in the future.

The two A102 flyovers, at Woolwich Road and Blackwall Lane, will experience exceptional strain on their infrastructure. Engineering assessments already indicate they are in a poor condition. This extra strain will result in considerable additional expenditure to ensure their safety.

North of the Thames, the proposal to elongate the Tidal Basin Roundabout – where there are many homes under construction – will result in a sharp decline in the area’s air quality and a huge increase in noise pollution.

Currently, entry and exit roads to this roundabout and links to the A12 and A13 are narrow and complex. These roads are likely to become congested and development in the area will not permit any changes to the layout.

Construction impacts: Our proposals for constructing the Silvertown Tunnel are at an early stage, although we have included our initial thoughts on what temporary road closures and diversions might be necessary. If you have any comments on our construction proposals and their potential impacts please let us know in the space below.

The Silvertown Tunnel’s heavy reliance on the A102/A2 corridor will be exposed by four years of disruption if construction goes ahead.

Public transport users and residents of Greenwich Millennium Village, City Peninsula and nearby developments will bear the brunt of this. North Greenwich station already struggles to cope with the evening rush hour and O2 events. Disruption from road closures and construction traffic will make this worse.

North of the river, the effects of 200 lorries per day on the Silvertown worksite will harm the environment for those moving into new developments in this area.

While the Greenwich side will see fewer movements, the peak period of 140 lorries per day will add to the noise pollution faced by those who live near the A102, particularly around Westcombe Hill and Siebert Road.

User charges: As part of our plans for the new Silvertown Tunnel we are proposing to apply a user charge to both the existing Blackwall Tunnel and the proposed new tunnel in order to manage traffic demand and pay for the new tunnel to be built. The level of the charge would be set closer to the time that the Silvertown Tunnel opens, taking account of the conditions that exist at that time. Further details are set out in the ‘Preliminary Charging Report’, which is available to download. If you have any comments on our proposals for user charging please let us know in the space below.

TfL suggests it can limit the number of vehicles using the Silvertown and Blackwall tunnels by applying user charges. But as TfL will always be under pressure from users and politicians to make these charges affordable, it won’t be able to react to traffic volumes as easily as it suggests.

If these charges are the only thing protecting our neighbourhoods from excess traffic and additional pollution, TfL needs to provide robust evidence to show that the number of vehicles will be kept at a manageable level. TfL has not provided sufficient evidence so far.

The suggested user charges place an unfair burden on residents and businesses of south east London and Kent, as the peak hour charging applies to the northbound tunnel in the morning rush hour and the southbound tunnel in the evening.

Driving a car will remain the cheapest method of crossing the river at any time outside rush hour (including at weekends, when no charges will apply).

At rush hour prices, driving is cheaper if the car carries just one additional passenger. This seems unlikely to encourage drivers to shift to other modes of transport, meaning demand for the tunnel will still be very high.

Environmental effects: We have described the likely environmental effects of the Silvertown Tunnel scheme and described some mitigating measures we would take. Further details are set out in the ‘Preliminary Environmental Information Report’ (PEIR), which is available to download. If you have any comments on the likely environmental effects of the scheme and the proposed mitigation measures, or on any of the information set out in the PEIR, please let us know in the space below.

There isn’t enough definitive information presented here to allow anyone to come to the conclusion that the tunnel is safe.

Air quality modelling will only be completed after the scheme is no longer being consulted on. We should not be building new roads that risk placing our neighbourhoods in danger. TfL argues the air quality impact will be limited because user charges will limit the number of vehicles using the crossing. If this assumption isn’t safe, then neither is any reassurance about pollution.

The disruption caused while the tunnel is being constructed will be immense. TfL hasn’t done enough to reassure anyone that construction traffic can be kept off local roads, or that it can mitigate the noise of construction.

Traffic impacts: We have described the traffic impacts of the Silvertown Tunnel scheme and explained that we would monitor its effects on traffic before and after opening. Further details are set out in the ‘Preliminary Transport Assessment’ and ‘Preliminary Monitoring and Mitigation Strategy’, which is available to download. We would take appropriate measures to mitigate any negative effects that might occur as a result of the scheme. These measures could involve adjusting traffic light timings or other traffic management measures. If you have any concerns about the effect of the Silvertown Tunnel scheme in any particular location, or comments about how we might mitigate these, please let us know in the space below.

Even before the new tunnel is built, there is already heavy traffic through the southbound Blackwall Tunnel during the morning rush hour. This traffic won’t be charged at peak rates under the proposals.

There is very often congestion on both approaches to Blackwall at the weekend as people travel to shopping and leisure events on both sides of the Thames. Yet there are no plans to apply a user charge at weekends. With these facts in mind, it is unlikely that the planned user charging scheme will stop the congestion and pollution we see at present.

On both sides of the river, the new tunnel will funnel traffic in both directions into road networks that aren’t ready for the additional vehicles.

As the intention is to direct HGVs to use the new tunnel, northbound HGV traffic will be encouraged to use the A13. Pollution readings from the A12/A13 junction at East India Dock Road suggest this route is already over-burdened by traffic.

Meanwhile, southbound traffic from the existing and new tunnels will both be funnelled into the A102/A2, which already suffers from congestion, particularly in the evening rush hour, as traffic heads through Kidbrooke.

The only way to ease the burden here would be to ensure a net reduction in southbound traffic, which this scheme won’t deliver.

Much of the information that the public needs to make an informed decision on whether the Silvertown Tunnel is an adequate solution to traffic problems just isn’t available.

TfL promises to monitor traffic impacts for five years after the new tunnel opens and for two years before opening (2020 on current dates). If TfL wanted to present accurate information, this monitoring should already have started.

Cross-river bus services: The Silvertown Tunnel scheme would give us the opportunity to introduce new cross-river bus routes for east London. We have described an illustrative cross-river bus network for east London in the ‘Preliminary Transport Assessment’, which is available to download. If you have any comments on the introduction of new cross-river bus routes please let us know in the space below.

The only thing stopping TfL from running more buses across the Thames at this point is TfL. Additional single-deck buses could be run through the Blackwall Tunnel. Passengers have called for a more frequent service on the existing route 108, but these requests have been rejected.

Any other comments: Do you have any comments on any other issue connected to the Silvertown Tunnel scheme. If so, please let us know in the space below.

PFI arrangements will mean that in the long run, TfL will pay more money to build new infrastructure than would have been the case if the project was funded by central government or via bond offers. As the scheme depends on user charging to pay the construction costs, TfL has a reason to make sure traffic volumes aren’t drastically reduced – even though this is what safeguarding public health requires.

According to the scheme documents, one of the main reasons for building the tunnel is to make the road network more resilient to blockages and closures of the Blackwall Tunnel.

Yet the scheme retains a tunnel built for horse traffic in 1897 and does not attempt to rectify its design shortcomings. It seems likely that any resilience improvements will be limited – particularly as both tunnels will still rely on the Blackwall Tunnel Southern Approach and its two flyovers that TfL assessments state are in a “poor” condition.

The consultation documents only present the best case scenario for use of the Silvertown Tunnel after it’s built. It does not adequately reflect the risks to local neighbourhoods if the best case doesn’t come to pass. For example, the documents don’t reflect the costs associated with ill-health brought about by higher levels of air pollution – early death, loss of productivity through ill-health, healthcare costs, etc, if it’s found that current models are incorrect and there is an increase in vehicle emissions once the tunnel is built.

£1 billion spent on this scheme is £1 billion that isn’t being spent on improving public transport in east and south-east London. Public transport services on this side of the capital are a long way behind provision to the north and west. Spending money on roads before public transport will widen this gap.

Defra’s air quality models, used for this scheme, depend on the assumption that diesel vehicles will meet EU standards by the compliance date. The recent Volkswagen scandal has shown this assumption to be unsafe. Much more analysis of the safety of increased volumes of traffic needs to be carried out.

TfL argues that development won’t happen without enhancing the road network. But it also argues that development is already planned, and so will require additional roads. Both of these things can’t be true. Considering that development across east and south east London has already been boosted by public transport improvements, it seems more likely that neither of these things are true.

Come to the No to Silvertown Tunnel public meeting – 12 November, The Forum at Greenwich

Wednesday night's southbound tailback on the A102. A new tunnel feeding into this is only going to make matters worse.

Wednesday night’s southbound tailback on the A102. A new tunnel feeding into this is only going to make matters worse.

We’re holding a public meeting about the Silvertown Tunnel on Thursday 12 November and we’d love to see you there.

We’ll be talking about why the tunnel is a bad idea, and sharing some of the things we and others have discovered in TfL’s small print. We’ll also have two special guest speakers. Dr Ian Mudway of King’s College London will be talking about air pollution, while transport expert Christian Wolmar will discuss the tunnel’s effect on the road network.

After that, we’ll be opening the meeting up for your questions. We’ve invited politicians from across the political spectrum, from MPs and mayoral candidates to local councillors, and we’re sure it’ll be a lively discussion. (Want to ask your local representatives if they’re coming? Use

We’ll also have a guest chair for the evening – Jonn Elledge, the editor of CityMetric.

The venue will be the Forum at Greenwich, Trafalgar Road SE10 9EQ, and the meeting starts at 7.30pm. The Forum’s a few minutes’ walk from Maze Hill station, and a short 129 or 188 bus ride from North Greenwich station.

If you can make it, we’d be grateful if you could sign up for the event via Eventbrite, so we have an idea of how many people will be coming, but registration isn’t obligatory.

It’d be great to see you on 12 November – please spread the word (here’s a Facebook page and a flyer/ poster to print off).

And if you haven’t already, please take time to express your opposition to the toxic tunnel through TfL’s consultation – we’ll be providing a suggested response very soon.

No to Silvertown Tunnel public meeting flyer

It’s time to say no: Londoners deserve better than TfL’s Silvertown Tunnel plans

Southbound queues on the A102 will be even more common if the Silvertown Tunnel is built

These southbound A102 jams will be among the bottlenecks the Silvertown Tunnel will make worse if is built.

Transport for London is letting residents, businesses and councils down with its latest plans for a controversial road tunnel between the Greenwich Peninsula and Royal Docks, we’re telling the press today.

The No to Silvertown Tunnel campaign says Londoners should reject TfL’s proposal to add a third tunnel alongside the existing Blackwall crossings, flooding roads with more HGVs and generating extra traffic and pollution.

Londoners can reject the proposals in a formal consultation that begins today.

Mayor Boris Johnson has said he wants to see the tunnel built – at a cost of £1bn, to be financed using PFI contracts – but whoever succeeds him can cancel the scheme upon taking office next May.

TfL claims tolling both Blackwall and Silvertown Tunnels will result in no overall extra traffic – yet its modelling has shown increased traffic levels on the A102 Blackwall Tunnel approach and on other roads in east and south-east London.

Moreover, tolling has not stopped the Dartford Crossing from being a magnet for congestion. Time and again evidence has shown that when a new road is built, new journeys are generated and the result is higher levels of traffic overall.

The Silvertown Tunnel is also designed to provide a new route for HGVs, bringing more polluting lorries onto the streets of inner London. Full environmental assessments have not been carried out, despite widespread worries that the tunnel will increase pollution.

“It’s time to put this toxic tunnel out of its misery,” No to Silvertown Tunnel co-founder Darryl Chamberlain says.

“The Silvertown Tunnel is doomed to fail. It’ll increase traffic across a great swathe of London, it won’t cut pollution, and it’ll worsen traffic jams both north and south of the river – particularly around Canary Wharf and heading south along the A102.

“Londoners should kill this tunnel off by saying no in this new consultation.”

Councils have been played for fools by TfL

Hackney Council passed a motion against the tunnel in July while Lewisham and Southwark Councils have deep worries about the scheme and its effects on their local roads. Hackney North MP and shadow cabinet minister Diane Abbott has also spoken out against the tunnel.

Even Newham’s elected mayor Sir Robin Wales, who backs the crossing, acknowledges it will increase congestion.

Meanwhile, conditions placed on the scheme by Greenwich Council – such as demanding extensions of the Docklands Light Railway and London Overground to Eltham and Abbey Wood – have failed to materialise.

“We know all too well how difficult it is to cross the river. But building a new road will only make the situation worse, harming not just the environment but also the local economy,” No to Silvertown Tunnel chair Nikki Coates says.

“It’ll concentrate even more traffic and pollution around Canary Wharf and the Blackwall approaches – particularly in the evening – and generate extra jams elsewhere as other drivers avoid tolls by switching to the Rotherhithe Tunnel.

“The boroughs have been played for fools by TfL – they should join us in rejecting this dangerous scheme, and call for the money to be spent on public transport instead.”

How do I say no to the Silvertown Tunnel?

Quite simply, you should respond to the public consultation and say NO to the Silvertown Tunnel, and explain why you think it’s unacceptable.

The full consultation documents are huge – we’ll be studying them over the coming weeks and we’ll be offering a more detailed opinion on what’s on offer soon.

But in short, we believe the tunnel will make our traffic and pollution problems worse:

– It’ll increase traffic in the wider area around east and south-east London, and fail to relieve congestion at Blackwall Tunnel and on its approaches, particularly heading southbound.

More traffic will lead to extra pollution across areas of east and south-east London.

– We also think TfL isn’t looking at alternative ideas for river crossings. You may have your own ideas, but we’d like to highlight two non-road possibilities – extending the London Overground from Barking to Thamesmead and Abbey Wood, and a walking/cycling link between Canary Wharf and Greenwich Peninsula.

The other important things you can do are:

Tell your friends and family to respond to this consultation – and say no.

Tell your local representatives you’re saying no and ask them what they’ve been doing. Are your councillors, MPs or London Assembly members doing anything to stop the toxic tunnel? If not, why not? Use to get in touch.

Tell London’s mayoral candidates, who can cancel the Silvertown Tunnel next year: Sian Berry (Green), Zac Goldsmith (Conservative), Sadiq Khan (Labour), Caroline Pidgeon (Lib Dem), Peter Whittle (Ukip).

We’re also looking for people who can distribute leaflets in their areas. If you can help us, drop us an email on info[at]

Tell London’s mayoral candidates: No to Silvertown Tunnel

City Hall by Maciek Lulko

Whoever takes charge at City Hall next year can cancel the Silvertown Tunnel. (City Hall by Maciek Lulko used under Creative Commons licence CC BY 2.0).

It might be August, but we’ve reached a vitally important time in our campaign. Political parties are choosing who they want as their candidates to be the person who can cancel the Silvertown Tunnel – the next London mayor.

If you could find the time to email at least one of the potential candidates, you could make a huge difference to our campaign.

The more people who tell these candidates they are opposed to the Silvertown Tunnel, the better. So if you can help us, we’d be really grateful.

Labour mayoral candidate Christian Wolmar says: No to Silvertown Tunnel

Transport expert Christian Wolmar, who is standing to be the Labour party’s candidate in next year’s mayoral election, has branded the Silvertown Tunnel “a deadly disaster” for east and south east London.

“There is no way we should be building infrastructure that, as TfL admits, will make air quality worse. Poor air is already killing more than 4,000 Londoners every year and that scandal must be stopped,” he says.

“We need better public transport and facilities to encourage more people to walk or cycle. History has shown us that building more roads attracts more traffic. The Silvertown scheme is no exception.”

We’re grateful to Christian, who has consistently supported our campaign and spoke at our annual general meeting in January.

If you’re a Labour supporter and would like to back him to be the party’s candidate, visit or the Labour website to find out how to sign up.

Please tell the other Labour candidates: No to Silvertown Tunnel

But what about the other Labour candidates? We’ve heard very little about the Silvertown Tunnel from Tessa Jowell, Sadiq Khan, Diane Abbott, David Lammy and Gareth Thomas. If you’re thinking of picking them in Labour’s selection, please drop them a line to find out their position on the tunnel.

Remember, Hackney Council’s decision to oppose the tunnel demonstrates that this isn’t a local issue that just affects a few thousand people – Boris’s toxic tunnel would have consequences right across London. If you get a response, please let us know.

Please tell Tory, Green and Lib Dem candidates: No to Silvertown Tunnel

The Conservatives have just announced their candidates, and if you’re a party supporter, we’d be grateful if you could remind their hopefuls of the damage the Silvertown Tunnel would do. They are: Zac Goldsmith, Syed Kamall, Andrew Boff and Stephen Greenhalgh. Again, we’d love to know any response you get. Just as with the Labour selection, non-members can vote for the Conservatives’ candidate too.

We’re really grateful for the consistent support the Green Party has given us, particularly at City Hall. The Greens are opposed to the Silvertown Tunnel, but if you’re a supporter, we’re sure their candidates wouldn’t object to a reminder of what a serious issue this is. They are Jonathan Bartley, Siân Berry, Tom Chance, Benali Hamdache, Rashid Nix and Caroline Russell.

Finally, we’re also thankful for the backing Caroline Pidgeon has given our campaign, and we’re delighted she’s standing to be the Liberal Democrats’ candidate. We’re waiting to see what the final shortlist looks like, but for now you can get in touch with the hopefuls via Lib Dem Voice.

Is there any other way I can help stop the Silvertown Tunnel?

If you’re in the emailing mood, you could ask your local councillors, MP or London Assembly members – what are you are doing to oppose the Silvertown Tunnel? Use to find out who they are and to get in touch.

If you’d like to help us in other ways, then we always need funds to produce leaflets and other campaign materials – we’d be very grateful for any donations. We also need volunteers to help deliver leaflets over the coming months. If you can help, please drop us a line at

Hackney Council declares its opposition to the Silvertown Tunnel

Hackney Town Hall

Hackney Council has demanded the toxic Silvertown Tunnel road scheme is axed – adding pressure on London’s mayoral hopefuls to pledge to abandon the controversial road scheme.

A motion put before the council on Wednesday night called for the £1bn tunnel, between Greenwich Peninsula and the Royal Docks, to be scrapped because it would increase traffic and air pollution across east London.

“You cannot build your way out of congestion,” the motion read, adding: “The additional road capacity would lead to a significant increase in motor traffic in Hackney and significantly worsen air quality in this borough.”

Labour and Liberal Democrat councillors joined forces to pass the motion at Hackney Town Hall.

The tunnel, proposed by current mayor Boris Johnson and Transport for London, would increase capacity for traffic from Kent into east London – particularly HGVs, which are banned from the northbound Blackwall Tunnel.

It would also worsen bottlenecks on both sides of the river, particularly on roads which struggle to cope with existing traffic levels.

“Citizen science” air quality studies conducted by the No to Silvertown Tunnel campaign have found nitrogen dioxide levels well above EU levels in areas close to the proposed tunnel and its approach roads.

And Hackney’s call for the tunnel to be scrapped shows politicians are beginning to recognise the scheme will also do damage to a much wider area.

Labour mayoral hopeful Christian Wolmar has condemned the scheme as “a deadly disaster” while Lewisham and Southwark Councils have also expressed serious concerns.

Introducing the motion, Cllr Richard Lufkin (Labour, Shacklewell) said: “Building this tunnel will have a significant effect on traffic flow and air quality in this borough. Increased motor traffic would come flooding into Hackney, most probably at the East Cross/ Hackney Wick junction, and spread right across the borough.”

Seconding the motion, Cllr Peter Snell (Labour, Dalston) said: “The Silvertown Tunnel introduces a huge increase in lorry capacity in particular across the Thames, bringing them much, much closer to central London. It will increase the pressure on Hackney’s streets.”

Hackney’s cabinet member for neighbourhoods, Cllr Feryal Demirci (Labour, Hoxton East & Shoreditch), said: “In addition to the congestion, air quality will be worsened. Thirty per cent of asthma in children in London is caused by poor air quality. In Hackney alone, we have 18 schools within metres of roads which carry more than 10,000 vehicles a day. ”

Liberal Democrat Cllr Abraham Jacobson (Cazenove) called for more sustainable crossings of the Thames: “We can have a tunnel – but for cycles and pedestrians. All you’ll have is more capacity bringing more cars. We don’t need it. Nobody needs it.”

No to Silvertown Tunnel campaign chair Nikki Coates said.

“We’re delighted that Hackney councillors have made clear their opposition to the Silvertown Tunnel. They have recognised that this toxic tunnel will only increase traffic and air pollution in east and south east London, making a bad situation even worse.

“We hope other councils and London’s mayoral candidates will sit up and see that this poorly thought-through scheme will do damage right across our city.

“The next mayor must cancel the Silvertown Tunnel.”

Air pollution is blighting Newham and Tower Hamlets, our study finds – and the Silvertown Tunnel’s HGVs would make it worse

Campaigner Chris Taylor gets to grips with a pollution tube in our citizen science study

Campaigner Chris Taylor gets to grips with a pollution tube in our citizen science study

East Londoners who already have to endure toxic levels of air pollution will face more HGVs thundering through their neighbourhoods if the next London mayor does not cancel the controversial Silvertown Tunnel, campaigners are warning.

The road tunnel, which is being promoted by current mayor Boris Johnson, will run from Greenwich Peninsula to the Royal Docks, and is being designed to attract HGVs that cannot use the existing Blackwall Tunnel.

The No to Silvertown Tunnel campaign, which represents residents on both sides of the Thames opposed to the new road, measured nitrogen dioxide levels at 25 locations in Poplar, Canning Town and Silvertown, across he boroughs of Tower Hamlets and Newham. The “citizen science” study was carried out in February using tubes attached to lamp posts.

Most readings were above the EU legal limit of 40 microgrammes per cubic metre, with some near double the level.

Dots indicate where we placed tubes. The star indicates the northern exit from the Siilvertown Tunnel.

Dots indicate where we placed tubes. The star indicates the northern exit from the Siilvertown Tunnel.

Nitrogen dioxide pollution at the tunnel’s proposed northern exit at Tidal Basin Roundabout is already at 65µg/m³, while the junction of East India Dock Road and Leamouth Road – which will see extra HGVs heading to the A12 – saw readings of 75µg/m³.

We also recorded 71µg/m³ where Newham Way meets Butchers Road in Canning Town, close to Kier Hardie Primary School.

Nitrogen dioxide levels at North Woolwich Road, by the Britannia Village housing development, reached 63µg/m³, while levels outside Hadlow Primary School in Canning Town break EU limits at 44µg/m³.

On Poplar’s Aberfeldy Estate, we found levels of 63µg/m³ on Abbott Road.

Mapping For Change, a charity which helps local communities campaign on issues relating to their neighbourhoods, funded the study.

Backers of the Silvertown Tunnel include Newham’s elected mayor Sir Robin Wales, who admitted to MPs earlier this year that his borough would see more congestion as a result of the scheme.

“The Silvertown Tunnel is being sold as a silver bullet for pollution and congestion, but in fact it’ll make matters worse by making it easier for heavy lorries to come into east London from Kent and the Channel ports,” No to Silvertown Tunnel chair Nikki Coates said.

“We’re being told it’s needed to relieve Blackwall Tunnel congestion, but existing routes north of the river such as the Lower Lea Crossing and East India Dock Road already struggle to cope with traffic levels.

“We shouldn’t be encouraging HGVs to use east and south-east London as a bypass – the consequences will reach far and wide. Instead we need better measures to deal with oversized lorries before they reach Blackwall Tunnel, and more investment in better walking, cycling and rail connections across the Thames.”

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.

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.