Silvertown Tunnel – public protest meetings announced

Resistance to Boris Johnson’s plans for a third Blackwall Tunnel has begun. This news from Friends of the Earth’s London campaigner Jenny Bates.

2 public meetings have been organised for local people to get more information about 2 new river crossings for vehicles in East London proposed by Boris Johnson, which could also mean the Woolwich Ferry closing, before this ‘initial’ consultation ends on 5th March. The meetings will hear from a top transport consultant and will question the claims made by Transport for London for the schemes.

The meetingon the south side of the river will be on Tuesday 28 February, 6.30-8-30, at the Forum@Greenwich, Trafalgar Road, Greenwich, London SE10 9EQ . There will be another meeting on the north side of the river will be on Wednesday 29 February 6.30-8.30 at the Britannia Village Hall, 65 Evelyn Road, London E16 1TU.

People currently living near the Blackwall tunnels may think Transport for London’s plan for a further road tunnel there ‘would relieve congestion’ as claimed, when in reality a new Silvertown link at Blackwall and a new Gallions Reach vehicle ferry would be expected to just bring more traffic and problems to the area, with relief at Blackwall likely to be just short-term.
Other questions considered will include the impact of loosing the Woolwich Ferry, whether a new ferry at Gallions Reach would inevitably lead to a road bridge there – or if there are better ways to help the area.

The proposals are for a new Silvertown Link road tunnel which is a 3rd road crossing at Blackwall, and a vehicle ferry, which could be replaced by a fixed link later, at Gallions Reach – this is the location of the Thames Gateway road bridge which the Mayor scrapped in 2008 after the scheme was rejected by the Inspector at a Planning Inquiry. This followed a campaign by objectors which included thousands of local people and representatives from all 3 major parties objecting. The new ferry could also mean the loss of the Woolwich Ferry.

You already know what I think of the plansdon’t forget to tell TfL your views. If you live close to the site, make sure your local councillors know too.

The Conservatives’ campaign of disinformation has begun, with Conservative assembly member James Cleverley who represents – surprise, surprise, Bexley and Bromley – telling yesterday’s Mayor’s Question Time (see 12.30 entry) that Ken Livingstone’s plans for a bridge at Gallions Reach would have threatened ancient woodland. Not so – that was the East London River Crossing pushed by the 1980s Conservative government, which threatened to churn up Oxleas Woods, while Ken’s (admittedly flawed) Thames Gateway Bridge stopped miles short at Thamesmead. (See Tom’s comment below, which indicates James Cleverly was talking about Bostall Woods in Abbey Wood, which the TGB also stopped well short of.)

Cleverley’s comment proves this is a plan to screw Greenwich to win votes in Bexley. But will any politician step up to plate to support the people of Greenwich?


  1. I asked James Cleverly which woodland he meant, having been understood that Oxleas was never threatened by the TGB. He pointed to an area of woodland around Knee Hill south of Abbey Wood station which would lose a good few trees if the A-road there was widened.

    However, looking back through the old Mayor’s Question Time archives I get this from one Darren Johnson in 2006:

    Are you concerned that the extra traffic generated by the proposed Thames Gateway Bridge is going to cause irrevocable environmental damage to the ancient woodlands bordering Knee Hill? Will you give a personal commitment that Transport for London will not fund any proposal to increase capacity at Knee Hill, as this will increase demand for vehicles wanting to travel between the proposed Thames Gateway Bridge and the A2 through what is a residential area?

    Answer by Ken Livingstone (2nd Term)
    The Environmental Statement (ES), submitted with the Thames Gateway Bridge (TGB) planning application, demonstrates no worsening of air quality or increase in noise at Lesnes Abbey Woods, Bostall Woods and Bostall Heath due to TGB. The widening of Knee Hill is not part of TfL¿s proposal for the TGB. The recently updated traffic modelling and revised tolling proposals show that junctions on Knee Hill would operate acceptably with TGB.

    It’s possible, I suppose, that this was reneged on in the next two years, but if so I’m sure we’d have heard about it endlessly since.

  2. Not sure I’m very keen on this idea. Although a Charlton resident and not directly affected by the noise / pollution, I would be sceptical about a scheme that could just as easily attract more traffic rather than easing the traffic flow.

    There’s little room to expand the A102 and the entrance does not seem to be that far away from the Blackwall Tunnel entrance. Presumably some properties will have to make way too. Perhaps more focus will be put on encouraging drivers to join from Bugsby’s Way or somewhere? Not sure how this would fit with the Charlton Riverside longer term plans…..

    Will certainly be contacting my LA Member and local councillors, however, looks like Nick Raynsford may need some working on too:

  3. we need more crossings – reality time. when someone sneezes in the blackwall tunnel we cant move in RbG.
    people arent getting out of the cars/vans as the greenies would like us to think.
    time to get our heads out of the sand and build 2+ bridges/tunnels….. even with crossrail and dangleways people need to cross the river – end of
    i would rather there were moving at 30mph than sitting there doing nothing

  4. what a ridiculous idea. considering that when there is a problem with blackwall tunnel every road within five miles turns into a car park due to the volume of traffic. if there were alternative routes, in other places NOT AT THE DOME then there is a choice.

  5. “people arent getting out of the cars/vans as the greenies would like us to think.”

    There were 6% fewer vehicles kilometres travelled in London in 2009 compared to 2000. Remember that for most of that time we were in an economic boom with an increasing population, but still car use went down whilst public transport use and cycling went up.


    Why we are planning more roads when car use is going down in beyond me.

  6. The northbound blackwall tunnel, despite its recent patch up, has only got 30 years left in it before it will need to be properly rebuilt. We need a proper masterplan to replace all of the blackwall and woolwich links over the next few decades, not just a badly thought out third tunnel which won’t add any resilience as traffic from one incident in one tunnel will back up onto the feeder road for the other one in minutes.

    1. It seems like a great opportunity to spur up-take of zero/ultra low emmission vehicles. Announce now that access to all the new links will be limited to vehicles below say 50g co2/km. And the whole congestion charge zone will have the same regulations in say 15 years.

    2. Build a proper pair of new blackwall tunnels with 2 lanes each way, wide and safe enough for a 40 or 50mph speed limit, thereby massively increasing capacity. Switch the current southbound tunnel to a bus lane each way and add a route from Deptford to Canary Wharf that covers a good number of the people currently taking buses to North Greenwich.

    3. Replace the woolwich ferry with a proper bridge or tunnel.

    Yes it’ll cost a fortune, but it will be a very effective way to meet our climate targets (which they are already throwing billions at).

  7. Nelson’s Left Eye – I’d like to read TfL’s impact studies too, but I doubt they even exist yet. The Silvertown Link consultation appears to have been out together fairly hastily, due to the forthcoming mayoral elections. I doubt we’ll get to know much more details until the elections have been and gone.

    Omar – It’s tempting to agree with your call of “something must be done”, and I like your low carbon solution. But is there any point in a significant upgrade of capacity under the river at Blackwall if there are significant constraints on capacity on either side of the crossing? I’m thinking of the A12/A13 signal controlled junction on the north side, and the long stretch of 2 lane approach road on the south side around Eltham.

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