Have your say on the Silvertown Tunnel scheme

Closed 29 Nov 2015

Opened 5 Oct 2015

Overview

Update - May 2016

We held a statutory consultation on our proposals to implement the Silvertown Tunnel Scheme from 5 October – 29 November 2015.  There were 4,135 responses in total.  We have now considered all of the issues that were raised in the consultation and have published a Consultation Report which explains our response to each of these.  The Report contains additional information, including how we promoted the consultation, what materials we published and the history of consultation and engagement on the Silvertown Tunnel Scheme.

The Consultation Report forms part of our application for a ‘Development Consent Order’, which if approved, would give us the powers we would need to implement the Silvertown Tunnel Scheme.  We submitted our application at the end of April 2016 and expect to hear whether or not it has been accepted by late May or early June 2016.  Should our application be accepted, a public examination would be held by the Planning Inspectorate, who would consider our application and make a recommendation to grant or decline it to the Secretary of State for Transport, who would ultimately decide whether the project can proceed.  We will publicise how everyone who has a view about the Scheme can become involved in the examination process later in the summer.  If you would like to register to receive updates about the project, please send us an email with your details.

Our Consultation Report is available here.

The Report also explains our approach to the consultation and includes a summary of the historic consultation and engagement on the scheme. The various appendices which accompany the report are available via this link.

We are applying for a ‘Development Consent Order’ because in 2012 the Silvertown Tunnel Scheme was designated a ‘Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project’.  If you would like to know more about the application process for ‘Nationally Significant’ projects, please see this short guide.

Over the next 15 years London will grow at the fastest rate since before World War II.  An estimated 10 million people are expected to live here by 2030. With this growth comes increased pressure on existing infrastructure, services and connections to move people and goods.

East London will see the biggest increase in population, housing and employment.  Yet the current situation is that – unlike in west London – communities in the east are divided by the River Thames.

Over the last 25 years we have invested heavily in new public transport services to link communities in the east.  The river has been crossed five times between Rotherhithe and Woolwich by new railway lines.  These new services have supported significant new developments, for example at Canary Wharf.  We will continue to invest in new public transport services so that as many trips as possible can be made by train, bus, cycle and on foot. 

However the scale of the growth expected to take place in east London in the coming years requires that we invest in all modes, including our highway network.  Over the coming 20 years we consider that a package of new highway river crossings will be required, most particularly in east London. 

The Silvertown Tunnel will reduce congestion at the Blackwall Tunnel, improve the resilience of the surrounding road network and support economic and population growth.  In recognition of the importance of the project, it has been designated a ‘Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project’. 

We will continue our work to develop new river crossings for east London, including with new river crossings at Gallions Reach and Belvedere, to the east of the Silvertown Tunnel. 

About this consultation

This site summarises key information about the scheme that was provided as part of the statutory consultation we ran last Autumn.  It  included what effects we expected it to have on traffic and the environment.  Additional information about the scheme, including detailed background technical reports, were available here.

Details of the consultation can be found below.

Detailed proposals

The problems at the Blackwall Tunnel

Developing the Silvertown Tunnel scheme

Why is TfL proposing the Silvertown Tunnel scheme?

Developing a solution to the challenges at the Blackwall Tunnel

The Silvertown Tunnel scheme

The benefits of the Silvertown Tunnel scheme

Changes to the existing road network

Land Requirements

Building the Silvertown Tunnel scheme

User charging

Traffic impacts

Environmental effects

Further benefits of the Silvertown Tunnel scheme

Further reading or questions

The problems at the Blackwall Tunnel

The Blackwall Tunnel is at the heart of east London’s strategic road network, linking the A12, the A13, the A2 and the A20.  It is crucial to the success of the east London economy because it is the focus for most of the demand to cross the river by road in the east.

The current levels of demand to use the Blackwall Tunnel greatly exceed the capacity of the tunnel, and there is regularly very significant congestion in and around the area.  The tunnel itself was first opened in 1897 and was designed for horse & coaches.  While the Blackwall Tunnel is accessible to most vehicles, it wasn’t designed for modern freight vehicles, or double deck buses.  As a result, it is highly susceptible to disruptive incidents which can require that it be closed at very short notice. 

The congestion at the Blackwall Tunnel significantly delays bus and commuter coach services, as well as freight and other vehicles.  The congestion is a contributing factor to poor air quality and makes it much more difficult for businesses to trade and grow. 

Some key facts about the conditions at the Blackwall Tunnel:

  • On a normal day, there can be a two mile tail-back to access the Blackwall Tunnel, with queuing each side of the river
  • The delays can regularly add around 25 minutes to journey times through the tunnel
  • There are almost 1,000 incidents a year at the Blackwall Tunnel, including a large number caused by tall HGVs
  • The Blackwall Tunnel need only be closed for as little as six minutes for there to be a three mile tail-back to the tunnel
  • Around 1,000,000 hours are wasted each year by people queuing for the Blackwall Tunnel, costing around £10m in lost time
     



Developing the Silvertown Tunnel scheme

Over the last few years, TfL has developed the Silvertown Tunnel scheme to help address the challenges at the Blackwall Tunnel.  We have developed our scheme with the benefit of feedback to several consultations, as follows:

  • February – March 2012: our first consultation on our River Crossings programme, which included proposals for a new package of crossings for east London, comprising the Silvertown Tunnel and a new ferry to link Thamesmead and Beckton.  Details are available from consultations.tfl.gov.uk/river/crossings
  • October – February 2013: we held a further consultation on our proposals for new crossings, including new details on how the Silvertown Tunnel might be financed and new options for additional crossings further east.  Details are available from consultations.tfl.gov.uk/rivercrossings/consultation
  • October – December 2014: we presented detailed proposals for the Silvertown Tunnel scheme and published a large number of technical reports with further information about the scheme.  Details are available from consultations.tfl.gov.uk/rivercrossings/silvertown-consultation


Over 80 per cent of respondents to our most recent consultation agreed that a new crossing was needed to address the issues at the Blackwall Tunnel. 

The Mayor’s Transport Strategy and London Plan, which were published in May 2010 and July 2011 respectively, included proposals for the Silvertown Tunnel as well as other river crossings, and were also subject to consultation.

Why is TfL proposing the Silvertown Tunnel scheme?

Much of the demand to cross the river by road in east London is focussed at the Blackwall Tunnel, which simply does not have the capacity to cope.  There are no nearby alternative crossings to the Blackwall Tunnel, so if the tunnel becomes unavailable, the congestion becomes much worse.
 

Congestion at the Blackwall Tunnel
 

There are three core challenges:

  • There is regular congestion at the Blackwall Tunnel because demand regularly exceeds the capacity of the tunnel.  There can regularly be 25 minute delays at the tunnel
  • A lack of alternative crossings means that when the Blackwall Tunnel has to be closed – even if only for a short time – the congestion becomes much worse. The resilience of the surrounding road network to incidents at the Blackwall Tunnel is poor
  • Future growth in London’s population and economy will put even more pressure on roads and river crossings in east London and will require new infrastructure and services to support it

We have established a number of objectives that the Silvertown Tunnel scheme should meet to address these challenges.  We describe these objectives in the document ‘The Case for the Scheme’, which is available to download, along with a number of other consultation documents.

We have produced a short film which describes these issues in more detail.

 

 

The economic impacts of the challenges at the Blackwall Tunnel

We spoke to 500 businesses throughout east and south-east London to understand in more detail what difficulties the challenges at the Blackwall Tunnel cause employers.  Of those we surveyed we found:

  • Nearly three quarters said that congestion at the Blackwall Tunnel is a constraint or disruption on their business
  • Nearly half said their customer base was smaller than it could be because of poor cross river connectivity at the Blackwall Tunnel
  • One third of businesses said they have missed time critical deliveries because of unpredictable journey times
  • Just under half of businesses said unpredictable journey times when crossing the river have caused a loss of revenue to their business
  • A third of all businesses said staff were late at least once a week because of the delays at the Blackwall Tunnel, with this costing each business on average £26,000 a year
  • Almost a fifth of businesses said that they would employ additional staff specifically as a result of the Silvertown Tunnel scheme
     

Developing a solution to the challenges at the Blackwall Tunnel

The Mayor’s Transport Strategy includes proposals for a package of new river crossings.  The Silvertown Tunnel is one element of this package.  We are also developing plans for new multi-modal crossings at Gallions Reach and Belvedere.  We will hold a consultation on our plans for these crossings at the end of November 2015.

We have considered a wide range of potential solutions to the challenges at the Blackwall Tunnel, including those suggested by respondents to our previous consultations.  These have included new rail crossings, new links for pedestrians and cyclists and new road crossings elsewhere.

Our conclusion is that a combination of a new road tunnel between Silvertown and the Greenwich Peninsula, with user charging of the new tunnel and the Blackwall Tunnel, is the most effective solution, delivered as part of a package of new crossings for east London.  A factsheet is available to download which explains why alternative schemes, such as building a new rail link, would not address the challenges at the Blackwall Tunnel. 

We have highlighted below some of the most commonly-suggested alternative solutions by respondents to our previous consultations, and explained why we do not believe they would adequately address the challenges we face:

Do nothing

As London continues to grow, there will be an increasing number of trips of all kinds, including by bus, freight and other vehicles.  Without the Silvertown Tunnel scheme, we estimate that a weekday peak time journey along the approach roads and through the tunnel could take up to 30 minutes by 2031.  Currently, journeys along the approach roads to the tunnel are regularly delayed by around 25 minutes.  Worsening congestion would lead to further reductions in air quality and other environmental impacts. 

Reduce demand for the Blackwall Tunnel through user charging without building any new infrastructure

While a charge at the Blackwall Tunnel would reduce some demand, a charge alone could not prevent incidents at the tunnel.  The resilience of the surrounding road network to closures of the Blackwall Tunnel would remain poor since there would be no nearby alternative to the Blackwall Tunnel for traffic to divert to in the event of a temporary closure.  In 2014, there were almost 1,000 incidents at the Blackwall Tunnel – in fact over the entire year there were only 26 days in total when there was not a disruptive incident at the tunnel.

Build a new crossing for public transport, walking & cycling

Trips through the Blackwall Tunnel are made from across a very wide area of east and south-east London and beyond. One or more new rail links would not directly address the needs of road traffic, and would have very little impact in resolving the issues of congestion and closures at the Blackwall Tunnel. 


Build a new road crossing further east

A key reason for building the new crossing nearby the Blackwall Tunnel is to provide a nearby, accessible alternative for traffic if the existing tunnel must be closed.  If the Blackwall Tunnel becomes unavailable due to a breakdown, collision or if an overheight vehicle attempts to access the northbound bore, there are no nearby alternative routes for traffic to take.  New crossings at alternative locations would not be close enough to the Blackwall Tunnel to provide a solution to this problem.
 


 

The Silvertown Tunnel scheme

The proposed Silvertown Tunnel is a new twin-bore, dual carriageway road tunnel beneath the River Thames linking the A102 on the Greenwich Peninsula to the Tidal Basin Roundabout in the Royal Docks area.
 

The alignment of the Silvertown Tunnel


The proposed crossing has two separate tunnels, each carrying two traffic lanes.  One lane in each tunnel would be reserved for buses, coaches and Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs).  The new tunnel would be accessible to the tall HGVs and double deck buses which are currently unable to use the northbound bore of the Blackwall Tunnel.

We would construct new buildings nearby the tunnel entrances to contain essential control and operational equipment.  We will design these buildings so that they are integrated with the local area, and discuss and agree our proposals with the relevant local authorities.

Demand would be managed through a new charge on vehicles using it.  The charge would also pay for the new tunnel to be built and operated.  For more information, please see the section ‘User charging’.

We estimate that the scheme would cost around £1bn to deliver at the time of construction, although these costs would be covered by the proposed user charge.  Construction would last around four years and the tunnel could be open by 2022/23.

We have produced a drive-through video:

 

 

 

The benefits of the Silvertown Tunnel scheme

The proposed scheme would provide a number of benefits:

  • Congestion at the Blackwall Tunnel would be effectively eliminated
  • Our current work shows that the scheme would be paid for through the user charge – there would be no cost to the city’s fare and tax payers
  • The number of unplanned closures of the Blackwall Tunnel would be greatly reduced, in particular closures caused by vehicles which are too tall for the tunnel
  • The cross-river road network would be more resilient to incidents at the Blackwall Tunnel because traffic would have a nearby alternative route to take
  • The scheme would help support population growth as it would keep traffic moving in east London
  • Opportunities for new cross-river bus links would be created, enabling us to transform cross-river bus services in this area
  • Journeys for deliveries and servicing would be more reliable and this could help local employers to access new markets.  This  could help to create new jobs in the local area, and help the UK and London economies to grow
  • In a recent survey, almost a fifth of businesses said they would take on more staff as a direct result of the Silvertown Tunnel scheme
  • The environmental impact of current traffic congestion on some of London's most polluted roads would be reduced
  • There would be new and improved connections to and from Docklands and east London from south London
     

Changes to the existing road network

We propose to make changes to the existing road network to create new connections to the Silvertown Tunnel. 

On the south side of the river, we would make the following changes to the A102 Blackwall Tunnel Approach Road:

  • Widening the A102 Blackwall Tunnel Approach Road to create space for the Silvertown Tunnel Approach lanes
  • Building a new flyover for southbound traffic from the Blackwall Tunnel to cross above the Silvertown Tunnel Approach lanes
  • Introducing new signage to direct drivers
     


Changes to the road nework on the Greenwich peninsula
 

On the north side of the river, we would make the following changes:

  • Modifying the existing Tidal Basin Roundabout to connect the Silvertown Tunnel approach roads with Dock Road and the Lower Lea Crossing
  • Realigning Dock Road so that it links with the modified roundabout
  • Introducing new pedestrian and cycle facilities within the modified roundabout


Changes to the road network in the Royal Docks area
 

Land Requirements

As part of our application we propose to seek powers to acquire or temporarily occupy the land needed to construct and operate the Silvertown Tunnel and the new road connections.

The extent of the land expected to be needed for the project is shown in the Scheme Proposals: Consultation Maps, Plans and Drawings, which is available to download, along with other reports.

If you think that your land may be affected by the scheme and are looking for more information, or wish to discuss this with a member of our team, please contact us or attend one of our roadshow events.  Details are in the section ‘Further reading or questions’.

Building the Silvertown Tunnel scheme

We would plan the construction of the Silvertown Tunnel to cause the least disruption possible, although our work in planning how the tunnel might be built is at a very early stage. 

We would establish work sites in areas nearby the proposed tunnel alignment, on each side of the river.  These would be used for facilitating the necessary construction works.  As much as possible, we would move materials to and from our compounds using the river and this may require a new temporary jetty in the Silvertown area.

It would be necessary, however, to move some construction and other materials by road.  We will agree how this might work in practice with the relevant local authorities.

Road closures and diversions

It would be necessary to introduce some temporary road closures and diversions while the tunnel is being built, although we would keep these to an absolute minimum.  We would work closely with the relevant local authorities in planning and implementing any temporary network alterations and would ensure that any closures are publicised well in advance.

It is likely to be necessary to introduce the following temporary road closures and diversions: 

  • Sections of Edmund Halley Way would be closed for significant periods of the works, however access will be maintained to the car parks which are accessed via Edmund Halley Way
  • While Millennium Way will remain open throughout the works, we may need to manage traffic with temporary traffic signals and local diversions for some periods during the works
     

We would also need to replace the footbridge near the junction of the A102 Blackwall Tunnel Approach Road with Boord Street.  We would replace the footbridge with an entirely new structure.
 

Edmund Halley Way would be closed during construction

On the north side of the river, there would be no access to Dock Road or Scarab Close from the Tidal Basin roundabout for the duration of construction, although we will make arrangements to provide access to local businesses.  Dock Road will still be accessible from North Woolwich Road.

There will be some restrictions to access to Dock Road during the construction


We do not expect that any major closures of the Blackwall Tunnel or its approach roads would be required during the works.  Where temporary closures are thought to be necessary, these would be restricted to overnight periods.
 

User charging

We propose to introduce a charge to use the Blackwall and Silvertown Tunnels.  The charge is necessary to manage demand and ensure that the local road network can accommodate future traffic levels, reducing the environmental impacts of traffic congestion.  The charge will also 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.  This approach would maximise the effectiveness of the scheme in helping to resolve the challenges at the Blackwall Tunnel. 

For the purposes of this consultation, we have identified an indicative charge based on the conditions we predict would exist at the time the tunnel opens in 2022/23.  These indicative charging levels have been used to assess the likely traffic and environmental impacts of our scheme.  Further information about the user charge is available in our Preliminary Charging Report, which is available to download.

About the charge

The charge would apply from 6am until 10pm every day, including Bank Holidays.  The charge would apply each time a motorist used the tunnels.  We would collect the charge automatically, using systems similar to those we use to collect the Congestion Charge: there would be no toll booths at the Blackwall or Silvertown Tunnels. 

There will be a peak and an off-peak rate, based on the time and direction of travel.  The charge to use the tunnels during off-peak times will be substantially discounted, enabling local people to use the crossings at a lower cost at those times when traffic levels are lighter.  The tunnels would be free to use between 10pm and 6am; so some trips could be made for free.

We would set up an account system, to make it easier to pay the charge. Users who set up an account would register their details with us, and we would collect the charge automatically for every journey they make through the tunnels.  This would make it easier to collect and we would pass on the saving we would make.  We would also vary the charge by time of day and direction of travel.  We would charge a higher ‘peak’ rate for those times and direction of travel when demand is greatest, as shown in the table below.
 

The charge will vary by time of day and direction of travel


The table below indicates how the charge might vary between peak and off-peak times.  The charges are at today’s prices.
 

Indicative charges for account holders

The charges at the Dartford Crossing are shown in the table below, for reference.



In common with many other schemes, larger vehicles would pay more, reflecting the greater impact they have on maintenance costs, traffic and the environment. 

Users who do not register for an account would pay a set amount per journey.  For further details, see our Preliminary Charging Report, which is available to download.

Setting and varying the level of the charge

We have assessed the likely traffic and environmental impacts of the Silvertown Tunnel based on the charging levels indicated above.  These effects would differ if the charge were set at a higher or lower level. 

If the charge were set at a higher rate, it would have a greater effect on reducing demand for the Blackwall and Silvertown Tunnels.  It could however lead to increased demand at other crossing points, as motorists seek alternative routes.  If the charge were set at a lower rate, it could be less effective in managing demand for the Blackwall and Silvertown Tunnels.  This could mean that the local road network becomes congested in future.

To ensure the scheme remains effective over time, we would keep the level of the charge under review.  There would be a number of circumstances that could lead us to amend the level of the charge in future.  For example, if London’s population or employment grew at a faster rate than is currently predicted, there could be need to set the charge at a higher rate than that indicated in this booklet.  We might set the charge at a lower level than indicated in this booklet if London’s population grew at a slower rate than is expected and demand for the crossings were not as great.

Further discounts & exemptions

By setting up an account, motorists could pay the charge more easily and at a discounted rate.  We also plan to introduce a new Community Fund, to invest in projects that would enhance the environment or benefit people and areas most directly affected by the Silvertown Tunnel.  For further details, please see the section ‘Further benefits of the Silvertown Tunnel scheme’.

We have considered whether further discounts or exemptions might be possible, including those suggested by respondents to our last consultation.

A key objective of the user charge is to manage demand for the tunnels, to ensure the benefits of the Silvertown Tunnel scheme are fully realised.  Introducing extensive further discounts, or those which might apply to large numbers of people such as a residents discount, could increase demand to use the tunnels, potentially to a level beyond the capacity of the local road network.  We do however believe that some exemptions and discounts from the charge might be possible.  We propose that largely the same discounts and exemptions as are available for the London Congestion Charging zone apply to the Silvertown and Blackwall Tunnels. These discounts and exemptions are currently:

Exempt from charge:

  • Emergency services vehicles
  • NHS vehicles exempt from vehicle tax
  • Vehicles which are exempt from paying road tax as they are used by disabled people
  • Military vehicles
  • ‘Non-road mobile machinery’, such as industrial equipment not intended to carry passengers or goods
     

Subject a 100 per cent discount:

  • Recovery and accredited breakdown vehicles
  • Buses and coaches
  • Blue Badge holders
  • Low emission vehicles
  • Taxis and Private Hire Vehicles
  • Vehicles used in the provision of particular public services, for example refuse lorries
     


The charge in future

We consider that there will always be a need to manage demand for the Blackwall and Silvertown Tunnels through user charging.  For this reason, we expect that some level of user charging would continue to apply at the crossings even once the costs of implementing the Silvertown Tunnel scheme had been recouped.  Future revenue would be used to help fund further enhancements to transport in London.
 

Traffic impacts

The Silvertown Tunnel scheme would greatly improve the efficiency of the road network in the Blackwall Tunnel area.  Our scheme would provide a number of key benefits:

  • We estimate that by 2031, delays on the approach to the tunnel would be virtually eliminated
  • The new tunnel would act as an accessible, alternative route for modern freight vehicles, greatly reducing the volume of disruptive incidents caused when these vehicles try to access the northbound bore of the Blackwall Tunnel
  • There would be a nearby alternative crossing if there was an incident at the Blackwall Tunnel (such as a traffic accident or breakdown), avoiding the need for lengthy diversions and greatly reducing the impact of incidents on journey times
  • New approach lanes to the Silvertown Tunnel would remove the need for traffic to merge from three lanes to two on the approach to the Blackwall Tunnel, which is currently a major source of delay
  • We would introduce new bus services to use the Silvertown Tunnel.  Further details are in the section ‘Further benefits of the Silvertown Tunnel scheme
     

Effects at other east London river crossings

We have considered whether the Silvertown Tunnel scheme would cause motorists to divert to other river crossings. 

Our assessment is that while some drivers might choose to use another crossing to avoid the charge at the Blackwall and Silvertown Tunnels, others could be expected to divert to the Blackwall or Silvertown Tunnel from other crossings, even with charging in place.  This is because it would be much quicker to cross the river via the Blackwall or Silvertown Tunnels than at other east London river crossings such as the Rotherhithe Tunnel or Woolwich Ferry. 

At certain times during the busy peak periods, there could be small reductions in demand for the Rotherhithe Tunnel and Woolwich Ferry, depending on the direction of travel.  At other times there could be small increases in demand for these crossings.  These changes are negligible however, and it is unlikely that they would lead to any particularly noticeable increase in traffic levels or delays.

Managing the impacts of the scheme on traffic

The new user charge would keep demand for the crossings within manageable levels. 

We have carefully modelled the traffic impacts of the scheme and do not anticipate that implementing the Silvertown Tunnel scheme would lead to any significant overall increase in traffic levels.  Our scheme would improve the performance of the road network and enable vehicles to travel far more efficiently.  Our modelling suggests that no further steps beyond the proposed user charge would be necessary to mitigate the impacts of the Silvertown Tunnel scheme on traffic.  

We recognise however that the effects of new developments on the road network are complex and can change over time. To ensure the scheme does not give rise to adverse impacts on the wider road network we would monitor traffic levels before and after the opening of the new tunnel, taking into account any relevant new developments.  We would take appropriate measures to manage and mitigate any negative effects that might occur as a result of the scheme, working closely with the relevant local authorities. These measures could involve adjusting traffic light timings or other traffic management measures. Varying the user charge would also provide an important tool to mitigate any negative traffic impacts.

Environmental effects

Traffic congestion is a major contributing factor to poor air quality in London.

Engines work much less efficiently at lower speeds, and vehicles emit greater levels of harmful emissions when driving in exactly the sort of congested traffic conditions we find so regularly at the Blackwall Tunnel.

To demonstrate this effect, we measured the level of harmful emissions produced by an average diesel-engined car when driven in each direction through the Blackwall Tunnel at 4am, 7am and 1.30pm on an average weekday.  Traffic congestion at the Blackwall Tunnel is heaviest at 7am and lightest at 4am.  The results of our test are plotted in the chart below.

Click here for a larger version of the above emissions chart (PDF)

The vehicle produced the greatest level of emissions at 7am, when average speeds were at their lowest because traffic was heaviest.  Total emissions at 1.30pm and 4am, when average speeds were higher because traffic was flowing more freely, were almost half those levels found in the morning peak period.  As London grows in the coming years, harmful traffic emissions resulting from congestion in the area surrounding the Blackwall Tunnel will worsen unless we build the Silvertown Tunnel scheme, to ease congestion at the tunnel. 

More generally, we are taking a number of steps to improve London’s environment.  Amongst other initiatives these steps include:

Smarter Travel. Travel planning advice and tools for businesses, schools and residents to support them reducing car use

Encouraging walking and cycling. Improving the urban environment, developing a range of walking and cycling routes to help people easily and safely get around the Capital

The London Freight Plan. Proposals to encourage more efficient freight operations. An increasing number of operators are now adopting green fleet management principles which save money, reduce pollution and enhance operational efficiency

For further details, please see our website.

Changes in emissions

The opening of the new tunnel would bring about a change in the way that traffic uses the road network, and this could lead to changes in emissions and noise from traffic. 

The scheme would bring about an overall air quality improvement on the main approach routes to and from the Blackwall Tunnel, where traffic levels would be reduced through the effect of the user charge and traffic flow would be considerably improved.  There would likely be small increases in traffic flow at certain times on routes leading to and from alternative river crossings.  There would also be an increase in traffic and emissions in the vicinity of the new northern portal at Silvertown and the Royal Docks.  Traffic levels in this area are currently low; it would however form the main access point to the tunnel when it opens.

Overall, the introduction of the Silvertown Tunnel scheme would lead to a reduction in traffic noise, although there may be some increases in noise around the Silvertown area as it would form the main access point to the tunnel on the north side of the river.  We would take the following steps to mitigate the effects of the Silvertown Tunnel scheme on existing traffic noise levels:

  • Installing noise barriers along the approaches to the tunnel
  • Constructing the new tunnel and approach roads with low-noise road surfacing
     

Building and operating the new tunnel

Construction of the new tunnel would inevitably result in some temporary environmental impacts because it would involve the use of heavy machinery.  All plant and vehicles used in the construction of the new tunnel would be required to meet the most up to date emissions standards.

In addition, we would take the following steps:

  • Installing fencing around the perimeter of the construction site
  • Where possible moving the majority of materials to and from our work sites by barge, to reduce impact on the road network
  • Agreeing working hours with the relevant local authorities in advance
  • Working to recognised good practice in keeping any dust and emissions from the works to the absolute minimum possible
  • We would continue to monitor the impact of the scheme beyond the opening of the new tunnel.  We would take appropriate measures to mitigate any negative effects which occur as a result of the scheme
     

Further reading

The information included in this section is a summary of our ‘Preliminary Environmental Information Report’ (PEIR). This document contains the results of the assessments carried out to date of the likely environmental effects of building and operating the Silvertown Tunnel scheme and how we plan to manage these.  The PEIR is available to download and in hard-copy at various locations during the consultation period (see the section ‘Further reading or questions’). 

Further benefits of the Silvertown Tunnel scheme

The Silvertown Tunnel scheme would provide a number of further benefits.  For example, the new tunnel would enable the introduction of a number of new cross-river bus routes in east London.  This section sets out our initial thoughts on the kinds of improvements that might be possible.

Some of these improvements would be secured and delivered as part of the Silvertown Tunnel scheme. Others would be developed by TfL separately from our application for powers.

New cross-river bus services

The congestion and disruption at the Blackwall Tunnel prevents us introducing reliable new cross-river bus services in east London.  The height restriction at the Blackwall Tunnel also prevents us operating double-deck buses here.  The Silvertown Tunnel scheme would help to address these issues and create the potential to enable us to transform cross-river bus services in this area. 

In our last consultation, we asked respondents for their thoughts on what areas we might link with new cross-river buses in east London.  We used the feedback we received to develop proposals for an example network of new bus links that could use the Silvertown Tunnel.  The network we planned would operate at a combined frequency of a bus around every two minutes through the Blackwall or Silvertown Tunnels during the busiest periods.

We would begin the detailed bus route planning process around two years before the opening of the Silvertown Tunnel.  The map below indicates the scale of the enhancements to bus services we plan.
 

An example network of new cross-river buses for east London


New bus priority measures

TfL is investing in a range of new bus priority measures to further improve the reliability of the bus network across London.  Proposals for new bus priority measures in the vicinity of the Silvertown Tunnel would be developed closer to the opening of the new tunnel.

A new Community Fund

We propose to implement a new Community Fund.  The fund would invest in projects that would enhance the environment or benefit people and areas most directly affected by the Silvertown Tunnel.  Details of the fund would be determined closer to the opening of the new tunnel, through discussions with the relevant local authorities.  Our application for powers to implement the Silvertown Tunnel scheme will include further details.

Improvements for pedestrians and cyclists

Although the Silvertown Tunnel would not be suitable for cyclists and pedestrians, as part of the scheme we propose to enhance pedestrian and cycle connections in the areas around the tunnel entrances on both sides of the river. This would include the introduction of better routes and footways for walking and a number of fully segregated cycle facilities to improve access and safety for cyclists.  These improvements could improve access to the Emirates Air Line Cable Car.  

We are also looking at ways to encourage the use of the cable car for additional regular pedestrian and cyclist work-related journeys.  We would design the scheme to make it easy to deliver further improvements in the future as the area around the new tunnel changes and the numbers of pedestrians and cyclists increase.  

Such improvements will be progressed separately to our application for powers.

Further reading or questions

We have produced a number of documents for this consultation which explain our proposals in more detail. A full list of these documents is set out below.

Preliminary Environmental Information Report (PEIR)

Consultation Plans, Maps and Drawings

Preliminary Case for the Scheme

Preliminary Charging Report

Preliminary Transport Assessment

Preliminary Engineering Report

Preliminary Design & Access Statement

Preliminary Outline Business Case

Preliminary Sustainability Statement

Preliminary Equalities Impact Assessment

We have also prepared a reading guide to the consultation documents which explains in plain English the purpose of each document, the methodology we followed in producing it and summarises its main findings.

All of the consultation documents are available to download.

Hard (printed) copies of the consultation documents were also available to inspect from 5 October to 29 November 2015 (inclusive) at the locations and times listed below:

We will provide paper or electronic copies of the consultation documents on reasonable request. 

To request a document, please contact us at 0343 222 1155 or email us.

Roadshow events

We have organised a number of ‘roadshow’ events at which TfL staff involved in the Silvertown Tunnel project will be available to answer questions.  All of the consultation documents will also be available to view at these events.  The dates, times and venues for the roadshow events are shown below.


To request a copy of this booklet in Braille, large-text or another language, please call us on 0343 222 1155* or email us

*Service and network charges may apply.  Visit tfl.gov.uk/terms for details.

 

Areas

  • All Areas

Audiences

  • Public
  • Stakeholders
  • Local residents
  • Local businesses
  • Schools
  • London Boroughs
  • Coach Operators
  • Taxi trade
  • Transport for London
  • Taxi customers and other stakeholders

Interests

  • River Crossings