UCL Engineering Exchange


Silvertown Tunnel application evaluation

EngEx supported local communities in evaluating TfL's plans for the Silvertown Tunnel by comparing it to similar transport infrastructure projects

14 February 2017

The problem

TfL has submitted and had accepted for examination a formal application to the Planning Inspectorate for the Silvertown Tunnel project, to link to the A1020 Silvertown Way/Lower Lea Crossing on the north side and to the A102 Blackwall Tunnel Approach on the south side.

However, some local residents are concerned about the negative air quality impacts of increased traffic flow through the area. Additionally, some of the initial public support for the project reduced when it was announced the tunnel would include a toll, which raised questions of equity when compared to free crossings in west London. 

In July 2016, the campaign group 'No to Silvertown Tunnel' (NtST) contacted the Engineering Exchange to request support in evaluating a transport infrastructure application from Transport for London (TfL). NtST believes the project to be inappropriate for the area and that the assumptions developed in TfL traffic flow models need to be further investigated.

Our solution

In Phase I of the project, NtST planned to submit comments on the application prior to the examination, and wanted support in developing their comments to ensure their arguments are scientifically rigorous.

Dr Andy Chow of the Centre for Transport Studies at UCL developed a  briefing note based on counter-examples from other cities where similar projects have led to increased traffic and air pollution (two issues which TfL seems not to be problematising in the Silvertown Tunnel project). He will also evaluate the TfL model analysis. The report will then be used to inform the comments supplied by NtST during the Silvertown Tunnel application process.

Read the briefing note