Blackwall Tunnel TfL toll: Call for Greenwich residents to be exempt from tunnel charges
and live on Freeview channel 276
The motion will be put forward at Greenwich Council next week to ask Transport for London (TfL) to exclude local residents from any charges planned for the tunnels connecting Greenwich to Newham and Tower Hamlets. London mayor Sadiq Khan has said a toll will be introduced at both tunnels when the Silvertown Tunnel opens in 2025.
Conservative councillors Matt Hartley and Pat Greenwell put forward the motion, stating the exemption would help to compensate residents for the impact of the construction of the Silvertown Tunnel. The councillors said that the mayor had previously proposed introducing a discount to the tolls for those on low incomes living on either side of the tunnels.
The councillors said in their motion: “There is a strong case for going further than these limited discounts for some low-income residents, by exempting all residents and small businesses in the Royal Borough of Greenwich, and the other boroughs nearest the tunnels, from both Blackwall Tunnel and Silvertown Tunnel tolls.”
The motion called for TfL to fully model the impact of local residents and small businesses around the tunnel being exempted from the tolls, and take this into account when deciding on the charges. They asked for a public consultation to be carried out on the level of the tolls and any discount proposed.
The mayor of London wrote to transport secretary Mark Harper last month, indicating the charge for using the tunnels at peak hours could be £5.25. He added that the initial figure of £4 in 2015 had been decided following public consultation and had since been adjusted for inflation.
The letter said: “Years on from that decision, local residents in Tower Hamlets, Newham and Greenwich are facing a severe cost-of-living crisis, and whereas west London residents have multiple free options to cross the river, people in East London currently rely solely on the Blackwall Tunnel.”
The mayor wrote that TfL would work with local boroughs to determine user charges for the tunnels.
A TfL spokesperson told the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) that the purpose of the user charge was to manage traffic effectively and deliver the expected environmental and economic benefits from the tunnels. They said the charge was first proposed in 2012 and forms part of the planning consent for the Silvertown Tunnel when it was approved in 2018.
They added: “The planning consent requires TfL to manage traffic levels and environmental impact and introducing these charges has been a long-standing way to comply with the planning requirements. The level of user charge has not yet been agreed, and TfL is working on proposals for a set of discounts for people on low income in the local area. These will be confirmed closer to the tunnel opening date in 2025.”
The motion on exempting residents from Silvertown Tunnel and Blackwall Tunnel tolls will be discussed at a Greenwich Council meeting on Wednesday December 6.