Take Action: Silvertown Tunnel – bad news for cycling

 Hidden awaySmog and traffic which can only get heavier: Charlton Road, 5pm on 2 April

Charlton Road: Smog and southbound traffic which can only get heavier if the Silvertown Tunnel is built (image from No to Silvertown Tunnel Campaign)

Help us oppose a new motor traffic tunnel which will lead to more pollution, more congestion and worse road condtions for cyclists by saying 'No' to the proposed Silvertown Tunnel. Transport for London, who are fully behind the new tunnel, claims public support, citing 83% of respondents in a previous consultation being in favour of it. It's vital that more people urgently respond if they share our view that the tunnel would create more traffic congestion and pollution.

We suggest you read our comments  below and then  take a minute to respond to the consultation before the 29th November. 


Transport for London is currently undertaking a formal consultation on the construction of the additional motor traffic tunnel at Silvertown. This tunnel will supplement the two Blackwall tunnels which already create congestion on local roads. A further tunnel costing £920 million  (already up by 50%) will generate more traffic and only add to this congestion as well reducing air quality. This is bad news for cycling in the area which will be affected by more pollution, more congestion and more collisions if the tunnel goes ahead. Annual pollution map is here

Consultation guide

There is only one actual question to respons to: do you or don’t you support the tunnel, with subsequent statements from TfL promoting the tunnel that invite comments. It only takes a moment to respond. We've written a suggested response for you to use below along with some addtional material.

If you are short of time you can use the paragraph below to accompany the first question, but we recommend writing a response in your own words if you can – as it may carry more weight. We’ve provided some additional bullet points and data you can use to write your own response: 

Question 1 - Do you support the Silvertown Tunnel scheme as a means to address congestion and closures at the Blackwall Tunnel, and support future growth in London?

Suggested answer : No 

Suggested comment to add:

I support more river crossings for pedestrians, cyclists and public transport but not the construction of an additional tunnel at Silvertown, costing at least £920m, to supplement the existing two Blackwall tunnels. 

An extra tunnel will only generate more motor traffic that will spill out onto already congested roads at either end of the tunnel and clog up local streets. This will reduce air quality for many people as well as generating more traffic noise. More motor traffic on our roads could also mean more collisions for walkers and cycle users.  

Respond to the consultation

Find out more about Silvertown Tunnel

Additional information

  • More than half of northbound journeys through the Blackwall tunnels start in Greenwich , Lewisham or Bexley and a third end up in Tower Hamlets, largely on the Isle of Dogs/Canary Wharf. Many of these, in some cases short, journeys could be made by walking, cycling or rail if the Docklands Light Railway and London Overground were extended and cycle and walking bridges, or affordable ferries, were provided.
  • Transport for London has not considered the impact on the congestion at the Blackwall tunnels of a package of measures toi reduce demand, such as extending rail services, introducing tolls on the existing Blackwall tunnels combined with improved cycling and walking links 
  • The SCATRA report of 1994, whose findings were accepted by the Department of Transport , concluded that  "An average road improvement, for which traffic growth due to all other factors is forecast correctly, will see an additional [i.e. induced] 10% of base traffic in the short term and 20% in the long term.” This could well be the outcome of the Silvertown tunnel. 
  • Motor traffic volumes have been falling in London since 2000 (by 11.1% from 2000 to 2014). New road building could reverse this welcome trend which has made the capital a more attractive place to live in.  
  • King’s College monitors air quality in London. The roads around the Blackwall tunnel and proposed Silvertown tunnel already far exceed the EU limits. You can see the expanse of red and yellow showing EU limits are exceeded in the area around the tunnels here. The exceptionally low air quality extends all the way to Canary Wharf. 
  • TfL proposes to levy a toll for both Blackwall tunnels and the proposed Silvertown tunnel to prevent extra congestion at Blackwall. Most respondents (57%) to earlier consultations objected to such a charge. This indicates that setting the charge at a level to deter an overall increase in traffic will be politically very difficult.
  • The proposed Silvertown tunnel will not have faciliities for cyclists or pedestrians. TfL says the 'complmentary' crossing for walkers and cycle users is the Emirates cable car which costs £9 return, is not on convenient cycle routes and links to hazardous, busy roads. 

Read London Cycling Campaigns' response to the Silvertown Tunnel Consultation - December 2014