Final Silvertown Tunnel consultation begins

Detailed plans for the proposed Silvertown Tunnel have been released (image: TfL)

Detailed plans for the proposed Silvertown Tunnel have been released (image: TfL) - Credit: TfL

The final consultation has begun into the proposed Silvertown Tunnel.

The statutory consultation will run until November 29, the fourth such survey on the tunnel.

Comments will feed into the final application, which will be submitted early next year.

Richard de Cani, Transport for London’s (TfL) managing director for planning, explained the tunnel would help relieve the pressure on the existing crossing.

“The Blackwall Tunnel is currently the only crossing between Rotherhithe and Dartford, ignoring the Woolwich Ferry,” he said.

“The problem with Blackwall is that it’s a Victorian tunnel that was built before cars existed. When there’s a problem, there’s nowhere for the traffic to go and you can be queuing for 30 or 40 minutes.”

The project has been openly criticised, with London Assembly member Darren Johnson calling for more public transport links instead.

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The Green Party member said: “Instead of building new roads which will generate more traffic, the mayor should be thinking about extra public transport links.

“London has been growing at the rate of 100,000 extra people a year for over a decade now, but car traffic has declined by 1 per cent a year during that time.

“We have kept London moving by increasing capacity on public transport and encouraging people to walk, or cycle more.”

Much of the capital’s growth has taken place in east London, but there are considerably fewer links between the north and south of the Thames than in west London.

Mr de Cani explained that work on building the tunnel would be done using boats as much as possible, reducing the amount of additional traffic in the area.

He added that public transport would be taken into consideration in the tunnel’s plans.

“The tunnel will be two lanes in each direction, with one lane for buses and goods vehicles,” he said.

“There are two big bus terminals at Canning Town and North Greenwich, and we want to connect them up.

“At the minute there’s just one single-decker going through the Blackwall Tunnel, but we’ll be looking to extend existing routes and create new ones to link the north and south of the river.”

The new tunnel would generally follow the alignment of the Emirates Air Line, connecting Silvertown Way to the Blackwall Tunnel approach.

Tolls could be levied on both the Blackwall and Silvertown crossings as a means of funding the project, which has an estimated completion date of 2022.

Following the application for a development consent order in March next year, a hearing and examination process will take place with a decision on the application due in late 2017.

Should it receive approval, construction will begin in 2018.

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