Transport for London has today been granted a Development Consent Order by the Department for Transport to deliver the Silvertown Tunnel - a new twin-bore road tunnel under the Thames in east London.
The tunnel, which is set to open in 2023, will help ease the current serious congestion at Blackwall Tunnel and improve the reliability and resilience of the road network in east London. It will enable significantly improved cross-river public transport connections, with up to 37 buses an hour using the tunnel - all of which will be hybrid, electric or at least with the highest Euro VI emission standard. Further pedestrian and cycling improvements will also be made on both sides of the river.
Work will be carried out on the areas surrounding the entrances to the tunnel to improve conditions for local residents and create safe, attractive new walking and cycling routes around Royal Victoria and the Greenwich Peninsula.
While consent was confirmed today by the Secretary of State, a number of conditions were included. TfL is now working with local boroughs, landowners, stakeholders and other affected parties to understand the implications of these conditions, so that this vital infrastructure project can start as soon as possible.
With congestion and air quality around the Blackwall Tunnel predicted to get worse in the coming years as London's population grows, the Silvertown Tunnel is vital to providing a more reliable crossing as well as ensuring goods and services can continue to move around London. Drivers using the Blackwall Tunnel regularly get caught up in delays of 20 minutes or more during busy times, leading to around a million hours being wasted in queues every year and costing the economy an estimated £10m. When incidents cause the tunnel to close temporarily, three-mile tail-backs can occur in under six minutes.
The new Silvertown Tunnel will be privately financed through a Design, Build, Finance and Maintain contract, with the successful delivery partner receiving payments from TfL once the tunnel is open and available for use. These will be made in part via a user charge on both the new tunnel and the existing Blackwall Tunnel, which will also help to ensure traffic is effectively managed and journey reliability and air quality are improved. The exact charge levels for various types of vehicles using the tunnel will be decided closer to the opening date.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said:
'I'm delighted that the green light has been given to progress with the Silvertown Tunnel. New river crossings are vital for the future prosperity of east London, and the scheme will have a substantial impact unlocking new jobs and economic growth, while easing congestion and poor air quality in the area.
'Since I became Mayor I've been determined to ensure the Silvertown Tunnel doesn't have a detrimental impact on our environment. That's why the new plans have such a focus on cleaner transport, with only buses with the highest emission standard using the tunnel, and substantial investment in pedestrian and cycling infrastructure.'