The scheme will reduce congestion at the Blackwall Tunnel and improve the reliability and resilience of the wider road network. 

On 10 May 2018, we were granted a Development Consent Order (DCO) by the DfT. The DCO is the formal process by which the Government gives the green light to any development categorised as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP).

The Planning Inspectorate recommended the scheme to the Secretary of State for Transport after a six-month public examination.

The Secretary of State's decision letter as well as our application documents are on the Planning Inspectorate website.

Now that the DCO has been granted, we are working with local boroughs, landowners and other stakeholders to outline the next steps for the project. This includes agreeing details of land acquisitions, construction plans and access requirements for residents, visitors and local businesses as the scheme progresses.

We are now working to procure a contractor to design and build the tunnel. We hope to confirm a preferred bidder in spring 2019 and award the contract in late summer 2019 so that design and construction can begin later that year.

If you have any questions about the Silvertown Tunnel scheme, please email

Benefits of the scheme

The Silvertown Tunnel would connect to the A1020 Silvertown Way/Lower Lea Crossing on the north side and to the A102 Blackwall Tunnel Approach on the south side. The tunnel generally follows the alignment of the Emirates Air Line cable car.

The earliest the Silvertown Tunnel could become operational is 2024.

The new tunnel would:

  • Reduce the impact of unplanned incidents at the Blackwall Tunnel by providing a nearby alternative route
  • Cut down on queuing at the Blackwall Tunnel and approach roads
  • Include user charging at the Blackwall and Silvertown Tunnels to manage demand and provide a source of revenue to build and maintain the new tunnel
  • Provide an opportunity to create new cross-river bus links in east London
  • Improve road connections between Docklands/east London and South London
  • Improve journey times and make travel, deliveries and servicing more reliable

The tunnel will also create opportunities for new jobs in the local area, help local employers to access new markets and reduce the environmental impact of traffic congestion.

We have produced a short film which explains why the Silvertown Tunnel scheme is necessary.

Watch our 'drive through' film to see how the new tunnel would link to the existing road network.


The Silvertown Tunnel was designated a 'Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project' by the Secretary of State for Transport in 2012. That's why we had to apply for a Development Consent Order (DCO) to build and operate the scheme.

Our planned timeline is:

  • April 2016: We applied to the Secretary of State for Transport for the DCO
  • 2016-2017: Hearing and examination process
  • May 2018: DCO given the go ahead by the DfT
  • February-October 2018: Ground and river survey work
  • Spring 2019: Preferred contractor announced
  • Summer 2019: Contract awarded
  • 2019/2020: Construction begins
  • 2024: Earliest opening date of the new tunnel

Related documents

A range of information about the scheme is on the Silvertown Tunnel page in Publications & reports.