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Campaign against new Silvertown tunnel launched

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by rob, Dec 26, 2012.

  1. Darryl Member

  2. Sven Ellis New Member

    I set off to sign the anti-Silvertown Tunnel petition, but its authors seem to think it's the same thing as a third Blackwall tunnel, and invite you to reject that as well. It's easy to spot the difference - one would go to Silvertown, and the other to Blackwall. A third Blackwall tunnel has been a scheme for thirty years. I'm not sure whether this elision is deliberate or inadvertent.
    I think the Silvertown tunnel is an odd scheme that would indeed attract more traffic, but because of its proximity to Blackwall tunnel, do little to improve capacity or resilience. But Blackwall tunnel northbound is narrow, has sharp bends and isn't high enough. It's built to the safety standards of 1897, and a few years ago was rated the seventh most dangerous tunnel in Europe. Sooner or later, there will be a very bad incident in there. If we built a new northbound bore, there would be an excuse for tolling it and curbing any increased demand. The old tunnel could then be used as a cycle route. Tfl have rejected a third bore because of the complete reworking of the junction required at the northern end of the tunnel, but it's hard to see how this could be messier than trying to squeeze Silvertown access onto the 300 metres between the Blackwall Lane on-slips and the existing tunnel mouth.
  3. Darryl Member

    The very tip of the Greenwich peninsula's called Blackwall Point, and I'm sure I've heard it referred to as the "Blackwall Peninsula" in the distant past. As the person who wrote the petition intro, I think from a south-of-the-river perspective, "third Blackwall Tunnel" is effectively what's being proposed (and is something that those who weren't familiar with the scheme would be able to latch onto).

    Tolling is likely to just clog up central Greenwich and Deptford as drivers head for Rotherhithe or Tower Bridge. I'm intrigued by the idea of replacing the 1897 tunnel like for like and turning it into a cycle route, though...
  4. Stewart Member

    This is an interesting one. I've been trying (and failing) to find the reference, but I'm sure that the northbound tunnel only has a limited lifespan and will need replacing shortly after Silvertown opens in any case.

    I can see the argument now when congestion increases post-Silvertown: "The problem now is lack of capacity to Blackwall northbound. All we need do is build another tunnel and all will be well..."
  5. Clare Member

    There's a school of thought that says when roads/tunnels reach the end of their lifespan they should just be ripped up/closed and the traffic will disappear. I'm all for trying that out... Replace the Northbound tunnel with a walking/cycle route!
  6. rob Administrator

    Here's the official response of Greenwich Conservatives to TFL's river crossings consultation:

    Have your say on the new Thames Rivers Crossings Consultation on options for new river crossings in East and South East London

    Consultation questionnaire

    Tell us about your current experiences of crossing the river



    Q3 To what extent would you support or oppose the option of a new road tunnel between Silvertown and the Greenwich peninsula?
    Support

    Q4 To what extent would you support or oppose the option of a new ferry at Woolwich to replace the existing service?
    Support

    Q5 To what extent would you support or oppose the option of constructing a new ferry at Gallions Reach by 2017?
    Neither support nor oppose

    Q6 To what extent would you support or oppose the option of constructing a new bridge or tunnel at Gallions Reach by around 2031, if a ferry does not adequately address the area’s needs?
    Strongly oppose

    Q7 To what extent would you support or oppose the option of constructing a new bridge or tunnel at Gallions Reach, which could not be delivered before 2021, instead of a ferry?
    Strongly oppose

    Q8 These crossings could bring significant benefits for the East and South East of London but are currently unfunded. In order to pay for the proposed river crossings and manage traffic, we are proposing a toll for the new crossings and also the Blackwall Tunnel. To what extent would you support or oppose this?
    Oppose
    Q9 Please use this space to give us any further comments on the options we have described.
    Please relate your comments to specific aspects of the proposals

    The Conservative Group of Councillors in Greenwich have long supported the building of the Silvertown link and continued to do so in the face of Labour opposition when Ken Livingstone proposed a bridge for the Gallions Reach area. On balance we remain strongly supportive of this proposal, in the expectation that traffic modelling shows that the extra tunnel will decrease congestion rather than increase the volume of traffic. We would expect there to be remedial action taken to ensure that there is no damage to air quality in the area and would hope that there are specific steps taken to ensure the residents of Siebert Road are not disturbed by any potential increase in traffic speeds on the A102.

    Having supported the Silvertown link, we are strongly opposed to the building of a bridge at Gallions Reach as we consider that the logical extension of this project is a road connecting the crossing to the A2 which would cut through ancient woodlands. This has long been rejected by local residents and we continue to oppose it. If the Gallions Reach crossing is truly to be a local crossing then spending £600m on it seems a ridiculous waste of money and would inevitably have a detrimental impact on local traffic

    We are similarly sceptical about the introduction of tolls at Blackwall/Silvertown. On principle, it does not seem to be right that people in west London pay no tolls to cross the river, but those in the east will have to. As a result we consider that introducing tolls at Blackwall is unfair although the justification for charging at Silvertown to recoup the cost of the tunnel is clearer. We would not want to see any tolls extended beyond the period during which the Silvertown tunnel is being paid for.

    Alternatively, we would accept the introduction of tolls if Greenwich residents were exempted from them.
  7. Clare Member

    So the Tories support increasing traffic, pollution and mortality. Nice.
  8. rob Administrator

  9. Clare - the response makes clear we base our support on the extra tunnel decreasing existing congestion and air pollution, not increasing traffic volume. I know that is a contentious point, and we will need to see traffic modelling on it - but on our side at least we are keen to hear as much evidence and as many views as possible. The dismissive response of the Labour Cabinet member last night to legitimate concerns was quite disgraceful, I thought.
  10. Clare Member

    I would love to see evidence that new roads relieve congestion. There isn't any! Totally agree that last night's response was bang out of order.
  11. Darryl Member

    The written public answers from Denise Hyland - if this wasn't a proposal that could kill people, it'd be comical: http://853blog.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/public-questions.pdf
    Audio of the farrago is on the link which Rob kindly posted above.

    The consultation ends tomorrow: http://www.tfl.gov.uk/rivercrossings
    We'll send the petition responses off tomorrow morning, so if you want to help us nudge over 350, head to http://www.silvertowntunnel.co.uk - but the consultation is much more important.

    Thanks to everyone who's supported us - this started out as a couple of people going "bloody hell, this is mad, someone must do something", and it's led to something far bigger. It won't stop here.
    rob likes this.
  12. Sven Ellis New Member

    Air pollution from vehicles isn't a function of congestion, it's a function of the number of vehicles. Idling vehicles produce relatively few emissions compared to moving ones. If you increase road capacity, you will attract more vehicles. You may reduce congestion, but you'll increase pollution. Feel free to share these insights with Cllr. Singh, who is also struggling with the distinction.
  13. Sven Ellis New Member

    That's a theory, but I don't think there's much evidence for it. One of the things about having crossings so widely spaced is that there's not that much scope for displacement. There's plenty of congestion at the Blackwall Tunnel now, but according to Tfl, "Rotherhithe Tunnel traffic is generally making trips on a southwest to north easterly alignment, with very little traffic to or from south east London" (East London River Crossings: Assessment of Need). And Tower Bridge is even further. The idea that a driver travelling from Eltham to Homerton is going to travel via Tower Bridge to save three quid doesn't really bear scrutiny. The more likely outcome is that tolling would choke off exactly those discretionary trips that are clogging up the system.
  14. Franklin Member

    Perhaps TfL's assessment is wrong? Otherwise, where are all the cars that come off the A2 every morning to jam up Romney Road, Maze Hill, Crooms Hill, the town centre and Creek Road going? I don't think the majority are staying south of the river. In fact, I know that they're not as I used to cycle past the Rotherhithe tunnel entrance every day.

    And the incentive to bypass a tolled Blackwall tunnel would not be for savings of three quid, it's for savings of 30 quid a week as they're mostly single-occupant vehicles, i.e., daily commuters driving into town.
  15. Darryl Member

    The theory about tolling comes from John Elliott, a former GLC transport planner. People avoid the M6 Toll to save a few quid.
  16. Sven Ellis New Member

    John Elliott was talking about tolling a Silvertown tunnel in the continued presence of a toll-free Blackwall tunnel. I'm not.
    The M6 toll road is indeed an instructive comparison. I just googled routes from my house in Charlton to Homerton hospital. Via the tunnel and A12 it was 25 minutes and £1.51 in fuel. Via Tower Bridge it's 59 minutes and £2.76. Assuming my entirely made-up £3 toll, that would be an extra 34 minutes to save £1.75. Unfortunately, it's five miles further, so you need to factor in 10p a mile marginal non-fuel running costs (Source:AA). So £1.25. Still dodging that toll?
    The M6 toll road is longer than the (motorway) alternative, and only saved three minutes, at a cost of £5.50. That's why it hasn't been a roaring success.
  17. Darryl Member


    As I understood it, he was talking about tolling both. I'm happy to have a listen back.

    In any event, TfL has already proposed tolling Blackwall to pay for Silvertown, and said one could not be tolled without the other: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-20140560
  18. rob Administrator

    Joint press release issued today by Greenwich and Newham councils:

    RIVER CROSSINGS CONSULTATION SHOWS STRONG SUPPORT FOR TWO NEW FIXED LINKS

    The Royal Borough of Greenwich and Newham Council have welcomed the results of a consultation by Transport for London which show strong support among residents, businesses and motorists for two new fixed river crossings between East and South East London.

    Both authorities firmly believe that a new tunnel between Greenwich Peninsula and Silvertown and a new bridge at Gallions Reach between Beckton and Thamesmead will together provide the only viable long term solution to a problem which has long held back economic growth in this part of London.

    Councillor Chris Roberts, Leader of the Royal Borough of Greenwich, said, “We welcome these findings as demonstrating clear and very strong support for position of the two host boroughs of Newham and Greenwich.

    “It’s quite clear that a majority support both a tunnel at Silvertown and a bridge at Gallions Reach – which is something for which both authorities have argued strongly.

    “While we respect the concerns of those opposed to tolls, we recognise that these essential crossings cannot be financed without them. We believe that tolls, if operated intelligently, can act as an effective measure for managing both demand and congestion.”

    “We stand ready to assist Transport for London in the work necessary to bring these crossings to the next stage of development.”

    Sir Robin Wales, Mayor of Newham, said, “It remains our firm view that these crossings are essential to maximising the economic growth and employment potential of the Royal Docks and the Greenwich Waterfront.

    “We are disappointed further consultation may be needed as the support for both fixed crossings is clearly overwhelming so we would urge Transport for London to progress these plans as quickly as possible”

    Transport for London have confirmed that there will be further consultation on the economic, environmental and traffic management implications of the proposed crossings before the plans are advanced.
  19. Darryl Member

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  20. Darryl Member

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