Silvertown Tunnel decision pushed back over NO2 impact

A decision over plans to build a road tunnel beneath the River Thames linking the Greenwich Peninsula and Silvertown, has been delayed by one month to assess the possible impact the scheme would have on air quality.

Plans to develop the tunnel have been put forward by Transport for London, with the backing of the Mayor of London.

Plans for the proposed Silvertown Tunnel (source: TfL)

According to TfL, the proposals would reduce congestion at the Blackwall Tunnel and improve the reliability and resilience of the wider road network in London.

However, opponents to the scheme claim that the development will encourage more traffic and potentially have an impact on air pollution (see story).

A six-month public inquiry into the proposals was carried out in late 2016, with the Planning Inspectorate having recommended the plans for approval by the Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling.

Air quality

A decision had been due on the plans this month, however the Department for Transport has opted to extend the decision deadline, in order to consider how approving the proposals could impact air quality. In particular, the Department will assess any impact this could have on modelling in the government’s nitrogen dioxide plan, published in the summer.

In a statement to Parliament this week, transport minister Paul Maynard, said: “The deadline for the decision is to be extended to 10 November 2017 (an extension of 1 month). This extension is to enable further consideration of the recent responses to the Secretary of State consultations on the scheme which relate to the updated UK plan for tackling roadside nitrogen dioxide concentrations published by government on 26 July 2017.”

Responding to the deadline extension, a spokesperson for the Mayor of London said: “The Silvertown Tunnel will provide significant benefits for London, supporting jobs and growth in East London, and tackling a major area of congestion.

“TfL and the Mayor are also determined to ensure the Silvertown Tunnel doesn’t have a detrimental impact on our environment. That’s why the plans have such a focus on cleaner public transport, with only buses with the highest emission standards using the tunnel and significant investment in pedestrian and ‎cycling improvements in the area.”


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