LCC backs more river crossings and opposes Silvertown Tunnel plans that would lead to more congestion and pollution

Responding to the consultation on the Silvertown Tunnel in East London the London Cycling Campaign opposes spending almost a billion pounds on project that will only increase motor traffic levels and pollution in East London. We do strongly support the proivision of crossings for sustainable modes of transportation such as walking, cycling and public transport. 

The full LCC response has been submitted to Transport for London. 

London Cycling Campaign supports the provision of additional crossings of the River Thames, which represents a significant barrier to local accessibility for the communities on either side, by sustainable modes of transport.

We do not support the construction of the Silvertown tunnel, costing £920 million, an increase of 50% on original estimates, because of its negative impacts on road congestion, air quality, noise pollution and road collisions.

 A doubling of road capacity, a prime purpose of the tunnel according to TfL[1], will likely  generate ('induce') additional traffic. We do not wish to see increased congestion on roads on either side of the river due to through private motor traffic induced by an additional motor vehicle tunnel. Such additional traffic can be a deterrent to increased cycle use, a source of pollution and can make local motor journeys longer due to the congestion caused. Increases in motor traffic can also lead to more road collisions. 

Both Hackney and Lewisham councils are opposed to the Silvertown project. In Hackney and Tower Hamlets two thirds of households do not own a car, yet all residents would be impacted by greater traffic volumes and  worse air quality (TfL's business case for the tunnel says  that air quality would be 'adversly' affected).   

We believe that new crossings (including bridges, tunnels and ferries) that serve sustainable transport modes can produce economic, social and environmental benefits in the context of the identified need to develop sustainable communities in the Thames Estuary.  Users of sustainable transport modes, notably walkers and cyclists, are often local people making local journeys rather than travellers through an area to reach a further destination.

Improving river crossings for pedestrians, cyclists and public transport and increasing their number east of Tower Bridge must be a key element of reducing car dependency and would be a better use of investment funds than the Silvertown tunnel.


[1] TfL letter to Greenwich residents April 2015