Monday 25 November 2019 11:55 am

Controversial Silvertown Tunnel project gets the go-ahead from TfL

The controversial Silvertown Tunnel is set to finally go ahead, after Transport for London (TfL) announced this morning it had finalised the project’s contract.

TfL has officially awarded the contract to Riverlinx Consortium to design, build, finance and maintain the £1bn tunnel connecting Royal Docks and Greenwich.

Read more: Silvertown Tunnel: Bringing London together or tearing it apart?

The project is designed to ease congestion around the nearby Blackwall Tunnel, but had stalled after the losing bidder, Silver Thames Connect, had lodged a legal challenge. The works are expected to be finished in 2025 and will be located within the Ultra Low Emissions Zone (Ulez).

There has been a fierce campaign against the tunnel by the Stop the Silvertown Tunnel coalition, Greenwich Council, Newham Council and local MPs.

Campaigners have complained about the tunnel affecting air quality and congestion in the areas, however TfL modelling suggests this will not be a problem.

This morning, they suggested they would continue fighting for a review of the decision. Matthew Pennycook, Labour MP for Greenwich, tweeted that he was “bitterly disappointed”.

“I don’t consider this the end of the matter and will continue to vociferously campaign against this ill-conceived scheme.”

Meanwhile, Victoria Rance, who leads the No to Silvertown Tunnel coalition, told City A.M. she was “shocked”, calling it a “polluting profit-making infrastructure project”.

“[Sadiq Khan] is pursuing it despite the fact that all neighbouring councils have registered their opposition to it, and called for it to be reviewed.”

She added that she would submit a request for a judicial review.

Caroline Russell, a Green Party member of the London Assembly, tweeted: “This looks like Sadiq Khan is trying to bury bad news in the middle of an election campaign. Not a good look.

“But people in south east London will notice and are worried about the extra traffic and air pollution wrongly being directed through their community.”

‘Vital investment’

However, the news was welcomed by business lobby group London First, who called it a “vital investment in London’s transport infrastructure”.

Read more: TfL awards £1bn Silvertown Tunnel contract to Aberdeen Standard-backed consortium

John Dickie, the group’s director of strategy and policy, said it was “a significant milestone in redressing the balance which has seen East London severely short changed when it comes to transport options to cross the river”.

“As well as providing direct relief for the chronically-congested Blackwall Tunnel, it will ensure residents of East London are able to access jobs and business opportunities on the other side of the river.”

Stuart Harvey, director of major projects at TfL, said the group would “work tirelessly to ensure that any disruption to local residents or businesses is kept to an absolute minimum” during construction.