FTA welcomes TfL’s east London river-crossing plans to tackle congestion

The FTA has welcomed TfL’s plans to improve cross-river connectivity across east London, which will help relieve congestion hotspots for freight operators such as the Blackwall Tunnel.

TfL’s Connecting the Capital vision proposes 13 new bridges and tunnels, which will boost the number of river crossings between Imperial Wharf and Dartford by more than a third.

They are to be built to support the predicted population rise in London from 8.6 million to 10 million by 2030 and relieve pinch points on existing infrastructure.

The majority of new river crossings will be in east London, where population growth is predicted to be highest. There are currently just three road crossings in the 23km between Tower Bridge and the M25.

A consultation was launched yesterday on two of the proposed crossings to improve connections between east and south-east London: Gallions Reach to link Thamesmead and Beckton; and Belvedere, linking Belvedere to Rainham.

It follows a previous consultation, now closed, on a new crossing at Silvertown, which would connect Greenwich Peninsula to the Royal Docks.

Natalie Chapman, FTA head of policy for London, said she welcomed the proposals as cross-river connectivity in east London is “extremely poor” in comparison to west London.

At present, the alternative crossing in east London is the Blackwall Tunnel, with its 4m (13.1ft) height limit restricting access for taller lorries and leading to lengthy detours to the M25 to cross the Thames.

Chapman added:  “The Blackwall Tunnel is a key pinch point on the capital’s network, it is unreliable and the regular congestion around it means the local area suffers particularly from poor air quality.  FTA fully supports the proposals for a new crossing at Silvertown and today’s announcement of plans for additional crossings further east is good news for business.”

TfL added that each crossing could cost up to £1bn, with costs partly funded by a charge for vehicles to use them, which it said would also help manage demand.  No decisions have yet been made on costs.