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Grayling approves Silvertown Tunnel DCO

Words: Laura Edgar
Chris Grayling / Shutterstock_378259816

Transport secretary Chris Grayling has approved a development consent order (DCO) for a road to be built under the River Thames in East London.

The application for the Silvertown Tunnel project, which went through the Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP) system, was made by Transport for London (TfL).

The DCO application was for a twin-bore road tunnel to be constructed. It is set to provide a new connection between the A102 Blackwall Tunnel approach on the Greenwich Peninsula in the Royal Borough of Greenwich and the Tidal Basin roundabout junction on the A1020 Lower Lea Crossing/Silvertown Way in the London Borough of Newham.

Approximately 1.4km in length, the tunnel will be able to accommodate large vehicles, including double-decker buses. A lane dedicated to buses, coaches and goods vehicles will be built.

The DCO allows for the introduction of free-flow user charging on both the
Blackwall Tunnel, the northern portal of which is located in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, and on the new Silvertown Tunnel.

According to a report containing the decision, Grayling agrees that the Silvertown Tunnel scheme conforms with the National Policy Statement for National Networks (NPSNN) policies in relation “to relieving congestion, supporting growth and economic development, providing resilience and connectivity”.

The application was accepted for examination on 31 May 2016 and it was completed on 11 April 2017. Grayling received the report on 11 July 2017, which meant a decision was due three months later. The decision was delayed twice, first in October and then November, to take into account the government’s plan for tackling roadside nitrogen dioxide.

A “number of concerns” were raised about air quality, the document states, but Grayling agreed with the inspector at the Planning Inspectorate that the impact of the construction stage on air quality, such as dust emissions and odours, “would be kept to a minimum through implementation of the Code of Construction Practice”.

Bridget Fox, sustainable transport campaigner at Campaign for Better Transport, said: "This is a bad decision for Londoners and sets a poor precedent for the rest of the country. Committing billions to build this six-lane road in East London will generate new traffic, worsen the environment, and undermine the many positive goals in the mayor's Transport Strategy.

“The £1 billion cost could be so much better spent: it could fund over 2,500 electric buses, build over 300 miles of cycle superhighway or pay for the Barking Riverside rail link four times over. Bland assurances that future pollution can be controlled by varying the user charge will not allay the concerns of communities affected by the proposal.

"Permission to build is not an obligation to build: we urge the Mayor and TfL to think again and abandon these damaging plans."

All documents associated with Silvertown Tunnel project can be found on the NSIP website.

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Silvertown Tunnel decision delayed

News in brief: Silvertown Tunnel decision delayed again

Image credit | Shutterstock