Public consulted on Silvertown Tunnel and road crossings at Gallions Reach and Belvedere – plans which have been criticised by air quality campaigners
A public consultation on plans for a road under the River Thames – known as Silvertown Tunnel – has been launched by Transport for London (TfL) and the Mayor of London today (October 15).
Boris Johnson, the London Mayor, has reaffirmed his commitment to plans to construct the Silvertown Tunnel and two further East London river crossings at Gallions Reach and Belvedere – despite opposition from local air quality campaigners who say the developments will increase traffic congestion in the area.
As part of the consultation, further details of the Silvertown Tunnel plans were unveiled this week, which the Mayor and TfL believe will reduce traffic queuing at the nearby Blackwall Tunnel under the Thames as well as boosting jobs, homes and the local economy.
The Tunnel would link Greenwich Peninsula on the south side of the river with the Royal Docks on the north side, both of which have been identified by the Mayor as ‘key opportunity areas’ for thousands of new homes and jobs.
TfL is also considering proposals to bring in user charges at Blackwall and Silvetown tunnels in order to manage demand for the crossings and also to help fund the latter’s construction and operation.
According to TfL, if approved, construction on the Silvertown project could start in 2017 and take four years to complete at an estimated cost of around £750m.
Findings from the consultation will be presented next spring after it closes on December 19. A further consultation is then planned next summer, before a Development Consent Order on the Tunnel plans are submitted for government approval in December 2015.
In addition, a consultation on proposals for river crossings at Gallions Reach and Belvedere recently took place, initial findings of which TfL says “suggest strong public supportâ€? for the developments.
A consultation on the Gallions Reach and Belvedere crossings are due to take place next year, while work is currently taking place on project funding – including the consideration of user charges. Subject to securing funding and the necessary approvals, TfL hopes to have both completed and open by 2025.
The plans have been criticised by Friends of the Earth, with the campaign group’s London representative, Jenny Bates, commenting: “New Thames road crossings will simply bring more traffic and worse congestion to the area, not relieve it. They would also bring more air pollution to the capital – and with current levels killing thousands of Londoners prematurely every year we have to cut traffic, not increase it.â€?
However, the Mayor and TfL say that demand for river crossings in East London will grow with London’s population, which is forecast to increase by 10 million people by 2030.
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “The Silvertown Tunnel would provide a vital new link beneath the Thames from two of our city’s great opportunity areas for new homes and jobs – Greenwich Peninsula and the Royal Docks.
“Unless new river crossings are provided, the huge growth potential of east London will not be realised, which is why I have asked TfL to also take forward further work on two new river crossings to the east of the Silvertown tunnel at Gallions Reach and Belvedere. These new crossings will be essential not just for east London, but for the capital as a whole and its continued success as the motor of the UK economy.â€?
Michèle Dix, TfL’s managing director of planning, said: “The recent public consultations have been very important, helping us to identify the best solution for new river crossings. It is clear that public support for more river crossings is high. These detailed plans for the Silvertown Tunnel are the next step in delivering a series of crossings that will keep London moving. The consultation is an opportunity to find out more about the design of the tunnel, how it will be used and the benefits and impacts of this new crossing.”