'Secret' Silvertown Tunnel report revealed as congestion and pollution fears mount

A Silvertown Tunnel campaigner

'Secret' Silvertown Tunnel report revealed as congestion and pollution fears mount

First published in News
Last updated
This Is Local London: Photograph of the Author by , deputy news editor

A "secret" council-commissioned report shows a new Greenwich river crossing would increase congestion, campaigners say - as their survey shows already frightening levels of pollution in the area.

The report, obtained by No to Silvertown Tunnel campaigner Darryl Chamberlain, was commissioned by Greenwich Council back in 2012 to look at the potential for a DLR extension to Eltham.

But it also points out weaknesses in plans for a new tunnel connecting the Greenwich peninsula and Silvertown near the current crossing at Blackwall - a project the council is backing, along with Mayor of London Boris Johnson.

Greenwich Council says the DLR report has now been superseded by the Silvertown plans and was never intended as a proper study of the peninsula link.

But the report warns a link would encourage more traffic to the peninsula, stating: "The likely outcome would be the exhaustion of the Silvertown Link capacity within a relatively short timeframe with exacerbated congestion on the local road network.

"This could only be mitigated by a new high quality public transport link, such as a DLR extension."

Campaigners have seized on the report as evidence that a new crossing would only increase congestion, not ease it.

It comes after recently-published research by No to Silvertown Tunnel and the Don’t Dump on Deptford’s Heart group - fighting plans for work on Thames Water's 'super sewer' in SE8 - showed air pollution levels as much as two-and-a-half times over European legal limits.

Obtained by monitoring 150 sites across south east London for nitrogen dioxide, the research showed "dangerous" levels of the pollutant at the New Cross one-way system, Lee High Road, Charlton's Bramshot Avenue underpass and at roads across the area.

Mr Chamberlain said: "Local politicians are backing dangerous plans for the Silvertown Tunnel rather than taking a stand against the lethal air pollution that blights our communities, and the traffic that causes it. A new tunnel will only bring extra traffic - it won't bring relief from congestion or pollution.

"Generations of local people have paid the price for their lack of investment in new public transport, walking and cycling facilities, while politicians prioritise the profits of property developers over people."

A spokeswoman for Greenwich Council said: "This internal report specifically looked into the feasibility of extending the DLR to Eltham. The report focused on whether a route could be identified from the Peninsula to Eltham and was not intended to examine any relationship with the proposed crossing. This work was commissioned before the Mayor of London commenced his feasibility study for the proposed Silvertown Tunnel.

"The council's position has been consistent that all studies relating to the economic and environmental impact of river crossings, including the inclusion of public transport access which we support, should be undertaken by the project promoter which is Transport for London, under the auspices of the Mayor.

"It makes sense for this work to be undertaken first before any decision to commission further work within the borough."

To see the pollution study results visit silvertowntunnel.co.uk

Comments (3)

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8:35am Mon 12 May 14

GJ1983 says...

In the scheme of things, a second route IS needed for vehicles. Public transport is ok for some task, but not all. The lack of a feasible route between the 7 mile stretch from Blackwall to the Dartford Tunnels are a reason why areas like Thamesmead, Charlton, Belvedere, etc have no opportunity to develop into something more. Pollution levels are one thing, I'm guessing house prices and quieter streets are the main reasons of protest. Until a new route is connected that is a decent alternative for actual motor vehicles (Not public transport or cycling), North Kent / South East London and to an extent, East London will remain left behind and forgotten.
In the scheme of things, a second route IS needed for vehicles. Public transport is ok for some task, but not all. The lack of a feasible route between the 7 mile stretch from Blackwall to the Dartford Tunnels are a reason why areas like Thamesmead, Charlton, Belvedere, etc have no opportunity to develop into something more. Pollution levels are one thing, I'm guessing house prices and quieter streets are the main reasons of protest. Until a new route is connected that is a decent alternative for actual motor vehicles (Not public transport or cycling), North Kent / South East London and to an extent, East London will remain left behind and forgotten. GJ1983
  • Score: 11

9:08am Mon 12 May 14

Joelo says...

surely a big part of the problem with pollution at this location is the fact that there is always traffic queing to go through the tunnel?

whilst i cant understand the point of putting another tunnel next to an exisiting one we do without a doubt need more crossings in east london. Is west London any more polluted given how many river crossings there are there?
surely a big part of the problem with pollution at this location is the fact that there is always traffic queing to go through the tunnel? whilst i cant understand the point of putting another tunnel next to an exisiting one we do without a doubt need more crossings in east london. Is west London any more polluted given how many river crossings there are there? Joelo
  • Score: 16

9:18am Wed 21 May 14

whitefoot says...

No one is arguing about the need for another London crossing, it's where they intend to place it. It's total madness to put it right next to an existing crossing. It will just bring more traffic (not less) into the area. Move it away to share the burden. The current plan can only increase pollution in an already unsafe environment.
Prolonged exposure to air pollution causes respiratory problems and can lead to cancer. Pollution from motor vehicles can also affect the development of children’s lungs. I suspect many of the supporters of the Silvertown tunnel of having vested interest. They are obviously not concerned about the health of the local population.
No one is arguing about the need for another London crossing, it's where they intend to place it. It's total madness to put it right next to an existing crossing. It will just bring more traffic (not less) into the area. Move it away to share the burden. The current plan can only increase pollution in an already unsafe environment. Prolonged exposure to air pollution causes respiratory problems and can lead to cancer. Pollution from motor vehicles can also affect the development of children’s lungs. I suspect many of the supporters of the Silvertown tunnel of having vested interest. They are obviously not concerned about the health of the local population. whitefoot
  • Score: 2

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