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The Planning Inspectorate has recommended the scheme to the Secretary of State for Transport. This followed a 6-month public examination.

The Secretary of State had until 11 October 2017 to decide whether or not to grant the application we filed in April 2016 for powers to build the Silvertown Tunnel.

The deadline for this decision was extended to 10 May 2018.

This extension allowed the Secretary of State more time to consider consultations on the scheme. The extra review is specifically related to the updated UK plan for tackling roadside nitrogen dioxide concentration. More information is available on the GOV.UK website.

The Planning Inspectorate's website has more information about the application process for 'nationally significant' projects.

An extensive range of detailed information about the Silvertown Tunnel scheme is in our application documents on the same website, together with information about the examination itself.

Should our application be successful, Silvertown Tunnel construction could begin in early 2019. The new tunnel is expected to open in 2022/23.

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 in 2022/23.

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 help build and maintain the new tunnel
  • Provide an opportunity to create new cross-river bus links in east London
  • Improve road connections to and from Docklands and east London from 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 latest '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 timeline is:

  • April 2016: We applied to the Secretary of State for Transport for the DCO
  • 2016-2017: Hearing and examination process
  • 2018: Decision on the application expected
  • 2019: Construction begins
  • 2022/23: 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.