Mayor of London urged to give possible Silvertown Tunnel cancellation cost

Artist's impression of one of the Silvertown tunnel portals. Picture: TfL

Artist's impression of one of the Silvertown tunnel portals - Credit: Transport for London

Calls have been made to reveal what the cost would be of cancelling the Silvertown Tunnel project.

At a meeting of the London Assembly on Wednesday (January 26) to discuss budget proposals, members voted in favour of a motion that called on Mayor of London Sadiq Khan to publish the estimated price of immediately ditching the scheme.

The proposed river crossing would connect Greenwich and Newham by a road under the River Thames but it has been the subject of criticism from residents, environmental campaigners and politicians who have said it will increase traffic and contribute to poor air quality.

But a spokesperson for Mr Khan said there is an "urgent need" for another river crossing due to congestion at the Blackwall Tunnel.

In 2019, Transport for London awarded a contract to the Riverlinx consortium to design, build, finance and maintain the Silvertown Tunnel at an estimated cost of £2.2 billion over its lifespan.

The cost of cancelling the contract is unknown to the public or to most members of the assembly owing to “commercially sensitive information”.

Green Party's Sian Berry AM, who proposed the motion, said: “The Silvertown road tunnel is the biggest infrastructure project that the mayor has authorised. This is a huge new road project with a huge budget and huge implications for Londoners’ wellbeing.

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“The ability of the London Assembly to amend the mayor’s budget is an important power.

"But we can only use that power, and propose and debate changes to these plans, if we are able to discuss a broad estimate of the cost of pausing or cancelling them.”

Sian Berry has suggested London City Airport could close under a 'radical' plan to transform its sit

Sian Berry proposed the motion calling on the tunnel's cancellation costs to be revealed - Credit: Jon King

Mr Khan's spokesperson said the costs of the scheme have regularly been published and said the project is being funded from tolls on the Silvertown and Blackwall Tunnels.

They added: "This means if it was cancelled, the money could not simply be made available for other projects.

"Extensive modelling shows that the introduction of tolls on both tunnels at Silvertown and Blackwall will mean no increase in traffic and an improvement in air quality as well as public transport links.

“The mayor is taking some of the boldest action of any city in the world to tackle air pollution."

Expanding the ultra low emission zone - which includes Silvertown - will extend the benefits of reducing the pollutant nitrogen dioxide, they added.