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.

Sign our petition: Take the Silvertown Tunnel out of planning, Sadiq

Sadiq Khan

We’re launching a new petition today to demand new mayor Sadiq Khan withdraws the Silvertown Tunnel from the planning system ahead of his promised review of TfL’s river crossing schemes.

During the election campaign, Mayor Khan pledged to look again at the proposals, acknowledging worries about the air pollution and congestion a new road crossing between the Royal Docks and Greenwich Peninsula would cause.

“We need a proper joined up review, looking at river crossings and improved public transport connections east of Tower Bridge,” he told website Transport Network in April.

He followed that up by telling 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.

“What you should be thinking about is public transport, cycling.”

Mayor Khan told London Assembly members on Wednesday that he was reviewing the scheme, along with all the crossing proposals put in place under Johnson – but refused to withdraw it from the planning system.

Now the No to Silvertown Tunnel campaign is asking him to:

– Show us he is serious about his commitment to tackle pollution by withdrawing the Silvertown Tunnel proposal from the planning system immediately.

– Fully review the Silvertown Tunnel – taking into account all views, instead of relying on Transport for London’s flawed modelling – and other crossing schemes planned east of Tower Bridge.

Pre-construction costs for the tunnel are £107m, according to documents submitted to the Planning Inspectorate. The full cost of building the tunnel will be at least £1 billion.

Our petition can be found at

Can we trust the proposal after pollution cover-up?

Since Mayor Khan was elected, it has been revealed his predecessor covered up report that made clear the effects of air pollution in the boroughs that will be affected by the Silvertown Tunnel, such as Newham, Tower Hamlets, Greenwich, Lewisham and Southwark.

The planning documents for the tunnel review that the planning costs alone have hit £107m – with the total bill already reaching the £1 billion mark. Cutting costs at TfL was one of Mayor Khan’s election promises.

“We never had much faith in the congestion and pollution assessments for the Silvertown Tunnel, but the shocking revelations about pollution and primary schools mean the new mayor must urgently review City Hall’s roadbuilding plans,” No to Silvertown Tunnel chair Anne Robbins says.

“Nobody is denying Blackwall Tunnel congestion isn’t a problem, but the Silvertown Tunnel will only make the situation worse. Even a tunnel for ‘cleaner vehicles’ would just send more polluting traffic into local areas to head to the Rotherhithe Tunnel. The planning costs alone are £107m – money TfL could put to better use elsewhere.

“Sadiq Khan needs to pull the scheme out of planning, and urgently look again at a scheme that will damage the lives of communities across east and south-east London.”

Sign up NOW to have your say on the tunnel later

For now, the tunnel remains in the planning system, so if you object to the tunnel, please sign up to the Planning Inspectorate website so you can register to have your say.

Planning Inspectorate form

Firstly, visit this website:

Secondly, scroll down, and fill in your email address on the right-hand side of the page.

This will make sure you have the opportunity to have your say on the tunnel should it stay in the planning system. But please, make sure you also tell Sadiq Khan to pull the plug on it:

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.

Silvertown Tunnel: Make sure you can have your say at planning (it’ll take you just a few seconds)

Congratulations to London’s new mayor, Sadiq Khan, on winning this month’s election. He’s been busy setting out his agenda, and we’ve been busy watching what he’s doing.

TfL has been busy too. In the dying days of Boris Johnson’s administration, it submitted its planning application for the Silvertown Tunnel.

Considering the terrible impact the tunnel would have on air quality, it was sadly appropriate that it chose 3 May, World Asthma Day, to submit the application.

As part of this process, a whole raft of documents appeared last week, including a report on last autumn’s statutory consultation.

TfL acts on the priorities of the mayor. This process is a legacy of the priorities of the last mayor, who was determined to get this into planning, regardless of the results of any consultation.

It’s something we – and you – need to engage with.

Planning Inspectorate form

So, please do two things. Firstly, visit this website:

Secondly, scroll down, and fill in your email address on the right-hand side of the page.

This will put you on the Planning Inspectorate’s mailing list. This means that if there are planning hearings, you’ll be able to register so you can send your views on the tunnel to the inspector.

Quite simply, the more objectors who are lined up to respond, the better. If you’ve done this already – thank you. If you haven’t, please do it now.

Back to the new mayor. Sadiq Khan hasn’t said anything about the tunnel since he was elected, nor has he chosen who he wants to lead his transport policies.

He’s only had a few days, of course, so we don’t want to read too much into unconfirmed reports over what may or may not happen. Nevertheless, we’re looking at his new anti-pollution policies, TfL’s priorities, and some of the revelations about the last administration with great interest.

We’ll be looking to the new mayor to carry out his promise to review the current proposals for river crossings, including the Silvertown Tunnel. Visit to send him a reminder that his review won’t mean a thing if he doesn’t take the tunnel out of planning.

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.