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Greenwich Council stating inaccuracies after Silvertown protest?

This morning protesters took to roads under the Blackwall Tunnel flyover to raise the issue of Silvertown Tunnel.

They gained headlines in the Evening Standard and across London so in that respect can chalk it up as a success.

Afterwards Greenwich Council responded and made some claims which seem to defy evidence and previous research. Greenwich Peninsula Councillor Denise Scott-McDonald (Labour) stated:

“We support TfL’s plan for the Silvertown Tunnel because studies show it will actually help us achieve our sustainable transport objectives, relieving the congestion and pollution currently created by use of the Blackwall Tunnel“.

Yet traffic modelling and studies appear to show the exact opposite across much of Greenwich borough. In the image below – taken from traffic modelling forecasts – red equals worse congestion while green equals less congestion. North of the Thames wins. Most of Greenwich doesn’t:

TfL traffic modelling

The biggest green spot is at the mouth of the existing tunnel while the rest of the A2 gets worse, as do local streets in Greenwich and junctions such as Fiveways in Eltham. The largest beneficiaries are north of the Thames by a sizable amount.

Larger version of map showing predicted congestion changes 

How does that tally with “relieving the congestion and pollution currently created by use of the Blackwall Tunnel”?

One core reason for greater traffic will be lorries heading to the new tunnel from Dartford which currently cannot use Blackwall. A recently announced lorry centre beside the future tunnel offers a glimpse into the future.

Three tier lorry park planned by Silvertown Tunnel

Once again the issue of morning queues towards the Blackwall Tunnel is raised but not queues heading to Kent in the PM peak:

“Traffic modelling shows the initiative will result in a significant reduction in peak-time queuing on the approach to the tunnels”.

OK, that’s in one direction. But the other way? The existing A2 is at capacity each afternoon with a narrow stretch in cuttings between Falconwood, Eltham, Kidbrooke and Greenwich frequently slow moving or stationary. Adding another tunnel’s worth of traffic to it is one reason the south of the Thames is predicted to do so much worse than the north from this scheme:

Courtesy Google. Lorries heading south would feed into congested existing two lane sections of A2.

Highly selective arguments appear to be used by the council avoiding the wider impact seen in traffic models and research in the public domain. A “significant reduction” in one specific location appears to be negated by a worsening situation in many others.

Protests are likely to continue in coming weeks and months both sides of the river.

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5 Comments

  1. mave

    Agree with your opinion. You have to question why Denise Scott-McDonald can’t appreciate that bringing additional traffic and such huge lorries onto the two lane Southern Blackwell approach is not going to benefit any of her electorate. She is a Peninsula ward councillor not a London or UK elected member and she should be representing our interest.

  2. Jo

    It’s not an opinion but facts from TfL which contradict Scott-McDonald! If she was a London-wide politician she could argue benefits to Tower Hamlets are worth it even if Greenwich gets the short straw – but as a Greenwich Peninsula representative her view is baffling.

    What ARE Greenwich getting from this? Worse traffic in 90% of locations according to a report made by an organisation PUSHING for the tunnel.

    I think they were swept up with it 5 to 10 years ago and now want to save face as evidence is crumbling the argument. I admit I used to support. Now I’ve read into it it makes no sense. Other options are far better whether it be crossings elsewhere or mass investment in public transport. Pride is stopping them seeing sense and they’re throwing the borough out the window to keep face.

  3. Graham

    She is clearly not representing the the people of Penninsula Ward and ignoring their views and concerns. Traffic congestion and pollution is set to get much worse south of the Silvertown Tunnel in Greenwich.

    Sadiq Khan Mayor of London went to Haimo School just of Westhorne Avenue a few months back as he was supposedly concerned about pollution levels from heavy traffic here. But nothing has been done. Seems just to have been another publicity stunt,

  4. HK

    I totally despair!
    The Silvertown tunnel is a terrible idea. We do need another river crossing but it should be east (Thamesmead?). The Blackwall tunnel shoud not be tolled – the poorer working class will be the ones most impacted.

    The problem with the Silvertown tunnel is similar to travelling to some places via rail. Some times you have to travel into central london (ie London Bridge which is incredibly busy) only to change to another train to go back out. A crossing east will cut out the unecessary commute (east to west) to the the A102 only to cross the river and head east again.

    Yes, it will create more traffic east where the new crossing should be, but in my opinion the traffic will be more spreadout and have less bottle necks.

  5. Jack

    How about looking at it differently – in terms of network resilience yes the Silvertown Crossing is needed and should be built. The issue with or without Silvertown Crossing is number of vehicles on the roads and pollution levels – that will only be dealt with measures such as ULEZ and restricting vehicle usage.

    The status quo doesn’t help matters.

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