Funding the crossings
There is currently no funding set aside in TfL’s budget for the major infrastructure projects outlined in this consultation. This means that in order to deliver them we would need to identify a means of paying for them.
We believe that the most appropriate way to fund the projects would be to charge a toll for using the Silvertown Tunnel and any new crossing linking Thamesmead and Beckton. Tolling would provide a new revenue stream to pay for the crossings, and would ensure that those who benefit most from these new projects – by using them – help to pay for them in return. Some of the people who responded to the previous consultation on river crossings suggested that tolling would be a good way to fund the investment.
Tolling would help to manage traffic
As well as helping to fund the new infrastructure, we believe that tolling would be necessary to manage traffic demand. A toll would encourage drivers to consider whether they could use an alternative route or travel at a different time.
Tolling the Blackwall Tunnel
Because the Silvertown Tunnel and the Blackwall Tunnel are located so close to one another and share common approach roads, if the Silvertown Tunnel is built and subject to tolling, the Blackwall Tunnel would also need to be tolled – otherwise there would be serious delays at the Blackwall Tunnel as so much traffic would wish to use it. Although it is also relatively close, the Rotherhithe Tunnel serves a different set of destinations and would be unlikely to be affected significantly by traffic changes as a result of these crossings, and there are no plans to introduce a toll to use it.
How might tolling work?
There is a lot of work to do before we could formally propose a tolling scheme for these river crossings, including further consultation on our plans. At this stage, although we do not have a particular view on exactly how tolls could work, we are interested to hear your views on the issue.
It is not intended to have toll booths but to allow ‘free flow’ tolling as is currently planned for the Dartford Crossing. As a guide to what we are envisaging, the following sets out some broad working assumptions, although these are only indicative:
• The charges are likely to be similar to the tolls charged on the Dartford crossing (which are now £2 for cars £2.50 for two-axle goods vehicles, and £5 for HGVs). Charges at around these levels should help to manage traffic while not constraining economic activity and growth.
• Because traffic is heavier northbound in the morning and southbound in the evening, the toll could vary depending on the direction you are travelling, the time of day, and the day of the week.
• Tolls might only apply during certain hours of the day – for instance there might not be any tolls at night when there is less traffic.
• There could be different charges for different types of vehicle.
• There could be discounts for individuals, organisations, or account-holders, though we have not drawn up any plans at this stage.
• We could offer drivers various ways of paying, to ensure that paying the toll was as easy and convenient as possible.
Further consultation on detailed tolling operations
We would consult in detail at a future date on how tolling could work on these crossings if we proceed with these proposals.