Silvertown Tunnel blasted by critics

24 June 2020

‘Incompatible with London’s plan to become carbon-neutral by 2030’ – that is the damning verdict of a new report from UK-based Transport Action Network on the proposed £1.2bn Silvertown Tunnel in East London.

Politicians, academics and resident groups who have supported the report’s conclusions are demanding the project be scrapped on the grounds that it will increase greenhouse gases and contribute further to lethal air pollution for local communities.

Entitled ‘The Silvertown Tunnel is in a Hole, so Stop Digging’ the report also questions whether there is even a need for a tunnel in a post-Covid landscape where low, long-term traffic growth is predicted.

Report author and senior research fellow at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies Simon Pirani said: “In one breath the Greater London Authority claims to be leading the world on climate change, and taking action on air pollution. In the next, it is backing a climate-wrecking, pollution-generating roads project. It needs to stop pretending that it is possible to carry on building new roads, and paving the way for more traffic in a climate emergency.”

Client Transport for London (TfL) awarded the design, build, finance, operate and maintain concession to the RiverLinx consortium which includes various shareholders plus the firms that will design and construct the tunnel: BAM Nuttall, Ferrovial Agroman and SK E&C of Korea. Wayss and Freytag – part of Royal BAM Group – will also provide tunnelling expertise.

The Silvertown tunnel is planned to be a 1.4km twin-bore construction with double lanes running beneath the River Thames between Greenwich Peninsula and Silvertown. Before lockdown, the project was due to start in 2020, opening in 2025.