Silvertown Tunnel

To deliver these benefits, charges will apply on both the Silvertown and Blackwall Tunnels. Without the charges, traffic would increase in both tunnels causing delays and congestion, which contribute to poorer air quality levels.

The user charge is designed to manage levels of traffic using the tunnels and deliver an overall improvement in air quality at the Blackwall Tunnel. A green and fair package of discounts and exemptions has been developed to support Londoners and businesses.

About the Silvertown Tunnel

This new 1.4km road tunnel, with a dedicated bus lane, was first proposed in 2012 and plans were approved by the Secretary of State for Transport in 2018.

The new tunnel capacity will help make the road network more reliable, cut congestion, make journeys faster for drivers and improve overall air quality around the Blackwall Tunnel.

Our plans also include improvements for walking and cycling around the tunnel entrances - part of major regeneration on both sides of the river.

Map of proposed Silvertown Tunnel

Why a new tunnel

The Victorian-era Blackwall Tunnel was never designed for the levels of traffic that now need to cross the river. Incidents with larger, unsuitable vehicles frequently cause delays and closures.

Idling traffic builds up, often leading to tailbacks of several miles in just a few minutes. This increases journey times, as drivers either queue in traffic or choose longer routes to avoid the tunnel. It also has a negative impact on air quality.

What benefits it will bring

The Silvertown Tunnel has been designed to have a direct positive impact on local residents and businesses.

When it opens in 2025, it will help:

  • Cut congestion, delays and queues. This will make journeys faster and more reliable, with journey savings expected to be up to 20 minutes at peak times. Today, around 1 million hours are lost each year to queuing as a result of Blackwall Tunnel closures
  • Offer more opportunities to cross the river by public transport with an initial network of 21 zero-emission (at the tailpipe) buses per hour, new routes and better access to more places, jobs and opportunities. To encourage uptake of these services, we're proposing bus concessions to support local people on the 3 cross-river bus routes for at least 1 year
  • Open up access to new markets on both sides of the river for businesses. This will allow them to reach clients and jobs more quickly and within a reliable journey time. It will also help drive job growth in east London. Small businesses and charities may be eligible for discounts for at least 1 year
  • Help manage the air quality impact of traffic congestion on some of London's most polluted roads. We've been monitoring air quality for the past 3 years across 5 London boroughs. We'll continue to monitor for at least 3 years after the tunnel's opening. This will make sure the tunnel user charge levels are working and the project meets its objectives
  • Improve the resilience of the road network by offering an alternative crossing when the Blackwall Tunnel is closed
  • Offer a new, safe cross-river cycle shuttle-bus only for cyclists. The cycle shuttle is expected to carry a wide range of cycle types. We plan to operate a high-frequency point-to-point service that will be free for at least 1 year

How we're doing it

Riverlinx consortium won the bid to design, build, finance and maintain the Silvertown Tunnel after a competitive procurement process. The vast majority of the funding was raised through private finance. The consortium of investors includes Abrdn, Invesis, Cintra, and SK ecoplant.

The contract has been published as part of our commitment to transparency. See the Silvertown Tunnel project agreement.

Construction of the scheme has followed the Silvertown Tunnel Code of Construction Practice (CoCP), and Riverlinx are also Considerate Construction Scheme (CCS) accredited.

Take a look 

Both our Greenwich and Newham sites are visible from the IFS Cloud Cable Car. A map of the area will help you identify key features.

Tunnel user charges

Once the Silvertown Tunnel opens, drivers or vehicles not eligible for a discount or exemption will need to pay a user charge for both the Blackwall and Silvertown Tunnels. The user charge will vary depending on the type of vehicle you drive, direction of travel, the time of day and payment method.

The introduction of charge for the new Silvertown Tunnel and the existing Blackwall Tunnel were part of the original proposals first developed back in 2012.

The main purpose of the user charge is to help to manage traffic levels and provide transport, environmental and economic benefits for residents and businesses. It will also help pay for the construction, ongoing maintenance, and operation of this critical infrastructure investment in east London.

In 2016, we published our initial proposed user charge levels. Since then, we've refreshed our modelling and assessments to ensure the user charge levels continue to meet the project objectives.

If you'd like to hear from us once charge levels are confirmed, sign up and we'll email you closer to the time.

How charges would apply

We're proposing that charges would apply from 06:00 to 22:00, 7 days a week. The standard off-peak rate of £1.50 for cars, motorbikes and small vans would apply most of the time for all vehicles registered for Auto Pay. Registering for Auto Pay is free and will ensure the cheapest journey.

To manage traffic during the busiest times, peak charges will apply. Peak charges are £1 more than standard off-peak charges for motorbikes. An extra £2.50 applies for cars and small vans for 4 hours northbound (06:00-10:00), in the morning, and 3 hours southbound in the evening (16:00-19:00), Monday to Friday.

Discounts and exemptions

We're proposing discounts, exemptions and concessions to make the scheme as fair as possible. They'll also help residents and businesses, and support people using new public transport connections.

They include:

  • A 50% discount for low-income drivers living in east London
  • A £1 discount on the standard off-peak charge for small businesses and charities
  • Free cross-river bus and DLR travel for local residents for at least one year
  • A regular bus shuttle service through the Silvertown Tunnel for cyclists, free for at least one year
  • No charge for Blue Badge holders registered with TfL
  • Refunds for NHS staff and patients eligible for the NHS reimbursement scheme

We also propose no charge for taxis, or for wheelchair accessible or zero-emission-capable private hire vehicles registered with TfL and DVLA-registered minibuses, buses and coaches.

The 50% discount is proposed for low-income drivers in the boroughs of Barking & Dagenham, Bexley, Bromley, City of London, Greenwich, Hackney, Havering, Lewisham, Newham, Redbridge, Southwark, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest.

You can read more about the details of the discounts and exemptions and how we developed our proposals in our tunnel user charges supporting documents. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) are available on our Have Your Say webpage.

Tunnel user charges consultation

The consultation will run for 8 weeks until 3 September 2024. The questionnaire highlights the specific areas on which we're seeking your feedback.

If you prefer to write to us, email or use our freepost address. Mark your envelope 'TfL Freepost Consultations' for identification.

Visit for full details about the Silvertown and Blackwall tunnel user charges consultation.

Looking ahead 2024-2025

Construction of the Silvertown Tunnel is on track for completion in spring 2025.

Our focus in 2024 is on fitting out the tunnel with equipment such as ventilation, lighting, fire suppression, incident detection and communication systems. We'll also be finishing the tunnel portal buildings and approach roads.

To support the tunnel opening, over the next year we'll be finalising:

  • Plans for the tunnel user charges
  • The green and fair package of user charge discounts and exemptions
  • Public transport concessions for residents and support for businesses

A final decision on these will be made by the TfL Board.

We're also preparing the roads, vehicles and infrastructure for the new cross-river bus network and cycle shuttle-bus, as well as implementing the highway changes needed before the tunnel opens.

We'll also continue to monitor and report on traffic, air quality, and the tunnel's impact on residents and businesses.

Zero-emission bus routes 108, 129 and Superloop SL4

The Silvertown Tunnel will transform how residents in east and southeast London will be able to cross the river by bus for work, education and leisure. Today, only the 108 bus crosses the river from North Greenwich via the Blackwall Tunnel, and no double-deck buses cross the river between Tower Bridge and the Dartford Crossing.

Once the Silvertown Tunnel opens, in addition to route 108 (via the Blackwall Tunnel), a new route (Superloop SL4) will run through the new tunnel from Grove Park to Canary Wharf. Also, a route extension (route 129) will run from Lewisham to City Airport and Great Eastern Quay.

In total, the 3 routes will offer a new east London cross-river network of 21 zero-emission (at the tailpipe) in each direction in the busiest times between 07:00 to 19:00 Monday to Friday. This extended network will offer better access to town centres, jobs and education.

We'll track demand for bus services once the Silvertown Tunnel is open. Unlike other types of public transport, the bus network is highly flexible and if demand for services increases, we can respond quickly.

See our map of bus routes below or visit our Improving buses page to learn more about our cleaner, greener buses.

Cross-river cycling

A new cycle shuttle-bus service will offer a safe and quick way for cyclists to cross the river using the Silvertown Tunnel.

Cycling is not allowed in the Silvertown Tunnel for safety reasons. Instead, we plan to offer a high-frequency shuttle-bus service. Cyclists will be able to turn up and go without checking a timetable first.

They'll board the bus with their cycle and will be taken through the tunnel. The service will be free for at least 1 year. Our plans have been developed using feedback from the Silvertown Tunnel cycling consultation. Read the final cross-river cycling consultation report for more information.

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