Sadiq Khan signs contract for Silvertown Tunnel

Sadiq Khan and TfL this morning signed the £1 billion contract to build the Silvertown Tunnel and toll Blackwall tunnel. The news came out with all eyes on TfL refusing a license to Uber.

TfL now aim to complete the tunnel in 2025. Despite approval, big questions about the scheme are still not being answered by the Mayor and are avoided. Obfuscation rules.

Three tier lorry park planned beside Silvertown Tunnel

In press releases, the Mayor is still only focusing on morning northbound Blackwall Tunnel queues and ignoring daily five mile tailbacks towards Kent from Falconwood to Greenwich each evening.

Cars exiting the Blackwall Tunnel towards Greenwich. Silvertown adds 30% more vehicles to this flow each evening

TfL themselves state 30 per cent more traffic will add to those queues as another tunnel feeds onto the existing road network south of the Thames.

Green bars = future traffic increase southbound

TfL state this will result in longer queues and greater congestion across Greenwich borough each evening, with much focused around Greenwich, Kidbrooke, Woolwich and Eltham.

Largest red dots are in Greenwich borough – signifying planned traffic increase

Building a new tunnel portal at almost the exact same spot as the Blackwall tunnel south of the Thames will also result in many Blackwall tunnel closures in years to come. Disruption is likely to be vast as this layout is constructed:

New tunnel entrance south of the Thames meets existing road

It would appear TfL and Greenwich council also wanted to launch a consultation this week into a cycle lane as an attempt to mitigate this news – though have been prevented by the upcoming election.

It would have been a very poor attempt to distract attention. The cycle consultation is for a scheme on the drawing board for a decade before being cancelled recently – and then reinstated. An announcement would have been a nice bit of PR but for nothing very new.

Cycle Lane 4 from Tower Bridge barely makes it past the Greenwich borough boundary

And as I reported last week, even small-scale separate projects to assist with the notorious roundabout below the Blackwall flyover have been cancelled and postponed numerous times. The latest being a November 2019 start date which now isn’t happening.

Upgrade here cancelled yet again

Sadiq Khan also previously pulled work on the roundabout as part of a separate Better Junctions scheme.

Khan cancelled the Better junctions project here

In addition, just this weekend Greenwich Council revealed their spending intention for investment in public space and better streets in 2020/21 and again trail almost every other London council in allocating income from parking and developers via S106 and CIL. Here’s the totals from some other London councils which gives a snapshot:

  • Greenwich – £0 confirmed. Possibly a token sum for parking zones TBC
  • Hammersmith & Fulham – £29 million (at the top by some way)
  • Lewisham – £1.33m
  • Lambeth – £1.2m
  • Southwark – £765k
  • Ealing – £766k
  • Brent – £6 million
  • Camden – £5.26 million
  • Hounslow – £1.8 million
  • Bromley – £90,000. CIL is TBC

When looking at all totals, Greenwich are 31st out of 32. An announcement of a re-instated cycle lane in this context is weak.



Low spending is despite Section 106 income alone (not including CIL) in Greenwich Peninsula alone reaching £87.4 million from 2013/14 to 2017/18:

S106 by ward. Greenwich Peninsula highlighted

Another big point of contention is Greenwich Council’s mitigation deal negotiated with TfL. It’s less than what a small to medium sized housing development would bring the authority for a project with far higher impact. It’s far outnumbered by S106 income. Despite the authority already agreeing to a minimal mitigation sum, some cllrs didn’t seem aware of it at a recent council meeting.

Tolls coming here?

Other repercussions down the line include Woolwich ferry being tolled. Greenwich council have asked for it if traffic diverts from a newly-tolled tolled Blackwall tunnel and Silvertown tunnel – which is extremely likely. This is from the DfT report agreeing to the tunnel before Sadiq Khan approved:

Greater traffic will also head through Greenwich town centre towards the Rotherhithe Tunnel – which remains free – which threatens to choke the World Heritage site.

Removal of one-way system will not solve problems of displaced traffic to avoid tolls

It’s hard not to see Greenwich Council as losers throughout the whole process. Even the much heralded new bus routes are likely to boil down to just two – at max. All traffic modelling from TfL predicts Tower Hamlets as the major beneficiary. Greenwich borough sees the biggest increase in congestion and queues – according to the projects main proponent.

And on top of that, tolls at Woolwich and a choked World Heritage site. It’s baffling how they ever went along with it.

In time the predicted 30 per cent extra traffic heading south from a new road tunnel onto the existing queues on the A2 each evening has to go somewhere. Road widening and new junctions in Greenwich, Blackheath, Kidbrooke and Eltham are far from impossible in coming years.



Running a site takes much time and cost a lot of money. Adverts are far from enough to cover it and my rent.

You can support me and the running this site in a number of ways including Paypal here

Another option is via Patreon by clicking here

You can also buy me a beer/coffee at Ko-fi here

There's also a Facebook page for the site here

Many thanks

J Smith

I've lived in south east London most of my life growing up in Greenwich borough and working in the area for many years. The site has contributors on occasion and we cover many different topics. Living and working in the area offers an insight into what is happening locally.

    14 thoughts on “Sadiq Khan signs contract for Silvertown Tunnel

    • What a weak little man Khan is doing it under cover of the Uber news.

      Who is he doing this for? All his arguments just fall apart under scrutiny. I’ve said it before; I supported originally as I thought the morning jams would be helped but admit the evening impact didn’t resonate. Now evening is the worst its ever been. You just can’t add many more cars onto it from a new tunnel without clogging up the whole area.

      And building it stuffs the current tunnel. Imagine years of blackwall closures for building work and what that is going to do around greenwich. A new crossing should be in Thamesmead or Belvedere onto a road network not already jammed all day every day and where building work has little impact.

      Khan has lost my vote and once the lorries start rolling in to build the tunnel and blackwall closed labour will be stuffed in north greenwich. Their last minute turn around fooled nobody did it. Tolling woolwich would be the final kick as west london has lots of free crossings. But i suppose we got new ferries that dont work.

      A new cyckle lane already cancelled once is supposed to make us happy. hahahahahha

    • Wow, I was really hoping it would be cancelled. The thought of years of construction there fills me with dread. And Rob’s point about free crossings in West London is so true. Transport is already alot more expensive this side of town (as Murkey has mentioned recently).

      I also have questions about the health impact on locals of digging up what was a heavily polluted site. Does anyone know where the relevant study of any effects are?

    • I wonder how intrusive the construction work will be on this side of the river.

      I wonder if it will slow down the building of flats on the Peninsula if the developers think it will have an impact on sale prices.

      • Knight Dragon have already pretty much stopped building. The longer they wait the more newcomers will realise what’s happening. Over the Thames and newcomers are realsing what’s heppneing. A big movement of people at the new Royal Wharf are fighting against Silvertown-related three-storey lorry park now planned near their homes. Many other flats planned around northern tunnel portal

    • Will the RBG council use section106 and CIL derived from the developments on Greenwich Peninsula to actively mitigate the increased and very high pollution level due to increased traffic in this residential area?

      • So far there’s little evidence of any real desire to do so. Every time it’s brought up they pass the buck to TfL

    • I used to be in favour of another tunnel, but there’s no sustainable transport provision whatsoever in SE London. Sort out the trains. Give us a walking and cycling tunnel like they have in Rotterdam. Ban diesel cars in school and rush hour times. Make the Thames clipper the same price as the tube. Offer substidies for bike repair. It’s so bad that the mayor chucks billions into a road tunnel without anything else on the cards.

      He’s lost the vote across se London and anyone with their head screwed on.

      • I’m in the same position. I’ll probably be using my first preference on the Greens for the first time ever when the mayoral election comes around next year.

    • Khan the pollution king! Only buildinging it so he can charge more to Londoners! Obnoxious little man! London was fine until he was made Mayor!
      How dare he touch the Free Ferry.which was donated to the people of Woolwich many, many years ago. No more votes for him!

      • I suspect that when re-election is due London will punish Labour for this by voting in the Conservative candidate. Khan had every opportunity to do something different from his predecessor but instead chose the same route of wasteful mediocrity. This is little more than a vanity project on colossal scale and one which – along with the Uber ruling – will gradually grind London into dust. This even assumes it will be completed to schedule and/or budget. Given Khan’s failure to supervise Crossrail, a secretive and corrosive local council and a Central Government hellbent on punishing Labour, I can easily see this running into the billions well past 2025.

        Better sell up my home before we start turning the river black with fumes

    • Well as an asthma sufferer living in the Borough all my life. This is the worst possible news.for myself the people of Greenwich and Newham who will take the impact of this. Khan did a publicity stunt with kids at Haimo School near Westhorne Avenue in Eltham which is a road that suffers heavy traffic and pollution most of the day sometime earlier this year. Kids where asked to wear machines to and from school to collect data on air pollution and the affects on their lungs.

      But no action was taken by Sadiq Khan no follow ups. No plans to upgrade the only bus route serving Westhorne Avenue route 122 to Hydrogen or electric buses. Instead choosing to prioritise routes in West London instead. When contacted Sadiq Khan or Hedi Aleander chose not to reply on a few occasions. You are just simply ignored if you do not have the same views as them.

      Westhorne Avenue will be one of the roads in the Eltham and Kidbrooke aeas that will be seriously affected by the new Silver Town Tunnel as many people leave or join the A2 at Eltham or Kidbrooke to head towards Central London and the Blackwall Tunnel.

      Does he really care about London and the affects of pollution that answer is clearly no or he would have scrapped the Silver Town Tunnel and looked at alternatives that would not see a huge increase in traffic congestion and pollution. Extending the DLR, more new bus routes more trains more cycle and pedestrian bridges for example,

      His could be the final straw of Khan’s string of many errors as The Mayor of London.

    • Well said to the posters on the subject !!

      This is terrible news for people with respiratory conditions affecting the lungs and heart including:-

      Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) …
      Chronic Bronchitis. …
      Emphysema. …
      Lung Cancer. …
      Cystic Fibrosis/Bronchiectasis. …
      Pneumonia. …
      Pleural Effusion.

      This is also the worst news for our children that will grow up with more heavy traffic congestion and air pollution in the area not only for Greenwich residents but also the residents of Newham. Many motorist travel from Kent and other areas through South East London to go to the Blackwall Tunnel which is bad enough. With the Silvertown Tunnel this will be much much worse.

      Our health and quality of life are both set to suffer in the future now the Mayor of London as sign this deal off. Such a sad day for South East London.

    • Totally agree with you 100% CDT this is terrible news for the people of Greenwich and Newham and their neighbouring Boroughs all of whom will be affected in some way by increase traffic and associated pollution in the area.

    • Pingback: Greenwich to Woolwich segregated cycle lane: Consultation launched | Murky Depths

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.