• New crossings will support growth of business and housing in East and South East London
  • Package includes improved plans for Silvertown Tunnel with a greener focus and more emphasis on encouraging people to use public transport
  • Mayor accelerates new pedestrian and cycling bridge linking Rotherhithe to Canary Wharf, and DLR extension to Thamesmead, and assesses Barking Riverside-Abbey Wood London Overground crossing and North Greenwich-Isle of Dogs ferry

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has outlined his commitment to providing greener and more public transport-focused river crossings in the East and South East of London.

The Mayor has set out a package of new river crossings to be built in the next five to 10 years that will vastly improve travel across the capital, while supporting new affordable homes and business opportunities in East London.

These include:

  • Plans for a new pedestrian and cycle bridge linking Rotherhithe & Canary Wharf to be accelerated
  • A series of enhancements to be made to the proposals for Silvertown Tunnel to make it greener and more public transport-focused, and exploring further benefits for local residents who use the tunnel
  • A DLR crossing at Gallions Reach, helping support the development of around 17,000 new homes across Newham and the Royal Borough of Greenwich
  • Further assessment work for a Barking Riverside-Abbey Wood London Overground crossing
  • Further assessment of a North Greenwich-Isle of Dogs ferry, supporting new development on the Greenwich Peninsula and the Isle of Dogs

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “It’s no secret that London has long needed more river crossings in the east. With new homes and economic growth across East London, it becomes even more important that we deliver new greener transport links that allow Londoners to cross the river quickly and more easily.

“But we don’t want these to have a damaging impact on our environment, and that’s why I’ve reviewed and improved plans for Silvertown Tunnel and why I’m pushing forward with crossings that encourage public transport, walking and cycling.

“As we continue to unlock the massive economic potential of East London, we must secure the very best transport infrastructure that improves the quality of life for everyone living and working in the area.”

With congestion and air quality around the Blackwall Tunnel predicted to get worse in the coming years as London’s population grows, the Silvertown Tunnel is vital to provide a more reliable crossing as well as ensure goods and services can continue to be transported around London. The tunnel, which would open in 2023 and be paid for via a user charge, will help significantly reduce traffic queues. It will also support freight and delivery businesses by providing a more reliable route.

The proposed tunnel was consulted on last year and following enhancements requested by the Mayor, a six-month Public Examination will begin next week (11 October).

Enhancements made to the plans inherited from the previous Mayor, including to help mitigate potential air quality impacts, are:

  • A clear commitment within TfL’s Business Plan to support the new buses through the tunnel which are vital to improving travel and supporting growth, as well as a bus concession for local residents for a period, with the tunnel to be one of London’s low emission bus zones when it opens.
  • TfL will also look at providing a bespoke cycle-bus which will carry cyclists and their bikes through the tunnel on a turn-up and go basis.
  • Reduced road use by construction vehicles with 55 per cent of all material now set to be carried via the river. TfL will also look to review this throughout the project to see whether this could be increased further.
  • All vehicles working on the construction of the Silvertown Tunnel will be Euro 6 and comply with the Mayor’s new Direct Vision Standard.
  • Further pedestrian and cycling improvements to the local areas on both sides of the tunnel entrance.
  • Exploring further benefits for local residents who use the tunnel

The Mayor has also asked for the acceleration of the new pedestrian and cycling bridge linking Rotherhithe and Canary Wharf – a key manifesto commitment. The new bridge will make it easier for people south of the river to link to Cycle Superhighway 3 – the East-West Cycle Superhighway – as well as provide people north of the river better access to the Thames Path and planned cycle routes throughout Southwark.

Due to the range of river traffic at this location, the bridge would need to open for shipping, and TfL has carried out analysis on whether a bascule or swing style bridge could be more suitable. A competitive procurement process will be held next year and subject to funding, availability of land and relevant approvals, the new bridge could be open by as soon as 2020.

The Mayor has instructed TfL to take forward a new extension of the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) from Gallions Reach towards Thamesmead. A DLR crossing will help to support new housing developments and air quality by improving conditions for walking and cycling, and encouraging Londoners to take public transport. The new crossings would be the 7th extension in the network’s 29 year history and would help support development of around 17,000 new homes across Newham and the Royal Borough of Greenwich in the next 10 years.

TfL will look to source the majority of funding for these crossings through third-party developer contributions and via existing Community Infrastructure Levies. On current estimates, these new crossings, along with the future Elizabeth line, could all be delivered within the next five to ten years, rebalancing the historic lack of river crossings in this part of London.

As well as these new committed crossings, the Mayor has asked TfL to look at developing a new ferry between Canary Wharf and North Greenwich, which will help support new developments on the Greenwich Peninsula and the Isle of Dogs, as well as reduce demand on the Jubilee line at key times. It is also looking at the case for the extension of the London Overground from Barking Riverside across the Thames towards South East London.

Alex Williams, Acting Managing Director of Planning at TfL, said: “London’s population continues to grow and it’s vital that we do everything we can to support this to ensure that everyone can continue to move around freely and easily. The Mayor’s new vision for river crossings in East London is firmly rooted in supporting growth and providing better public transport links for all. We will now work hard to develop the designs for these new crossings, as well as identify potential funding opportunities, to allow them to be constructed more quickly.”

David Leam, Infrastructure Director at London First, said: “Better river crossings will help unlock the economic potential of East and South East London and connect thousands of new homes in Newham, Barking, Greenwich and elsewhere. We’re delighted the Mayor has sped up these plans, aiming to deliver new ways of getting across the river within the next five to ten years.”