Tower Bridge and Rotherhithe Tunnel: TfL confirms no plans to toll in light of Blackwall charge

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User charging is due to be introduced on both the Blackwall Tunnel and Silvertown Tunnel in 2025 to help manage traffic levels in east London.

Transport for London (TfL) has confirmed there are no plans to introduce tolls on more river crossings in east London, despite charges coming in for the Blackwall Tunnel and Silvertown Tunnel, once the latter opens in 2025.

As reported by LondonWorld, TfL and the mayor, Sadiq Khan, are intending on introducing user charges on the Blackwall Tunnel and Silvertown Tunnel to help mitigate traffic levels.

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TfL insists the tolls will be key to ensuring the number of motorists using the east London crossings does not dramatically increase, and that requirements stipulated in the Silvertown Tunnel Development Consent Order (DCO) mean they will remain in-place even after Mr Khan is no longer mayor.

However, legal advice provided to Greenwich Council and the Stop the Silvertown Tunnel Coalition indicates otherwise, leading some campaigners to raise concerns about the potential impact of the £2.2 billion project on air pollution.

The Dartford Crossing, which sits just outside of London connecting Essex and Kent, already operates a user charging system called the Dart Charge.

Assuming the Silvertown Tunnel and Blackwall Tunnel are tolled as planned, the only river crossings which will not require users to pay in east London will be the Rotherhithe Tunnel and Tower Bridge.

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The Rotherhithe Tunnel enables drivers to travel between Rotherhithe and Limehouse, while Tower Bridge, which sits just outside the Congestion Charge Zone, connects the area east of London Bridge in Southwark with that between the Tower of London and St Katharine Docks.

Tower Bridge in east London connects Tower Hamlets with Southwark via the crossing over the River Thames. Credit: Daniel Leal/AFP via Getty Images.Tower Bridge in east London connects Tower Hamlets with Southwark via the crossing over the River Thames. Credit: Daniel Leal/AFP via Getty Images.
Tower Bridge in east London connects Tower Hamlets with Southwark via the crossing over the River Thames. Credit: Daniel Leal/AFP via Getty Images. | AFP via Getty Images

Asked whether there are any plans to toll either of these crossings, a TfL spokesperson said other than the Blackwall Tunnel and Silvertown Tunnel, “there are no proposals to introduce any user charges to river crossings in east London (with the exception being the proposed Lower Thames Crossing which is a National Highways scheme)”.

They saidTfL has “comprehensively” demonstrated that the combination of new tunnels, user charging and cross-river bus services will effectively manage traffic levels once the Silvertown Tunnel opens.

“We have always been clear, throughout the previous six-month public enquiry and in recent years, that we are committed to providing a cross-river bus network as well as managing traffic levels through the introduction of a user charge,” said the spokesperson.

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“The necessary modelling and assessments for updated traffic models and environment modelling are all underway and will ensure that the final scheme reflects both current and future predicted levels to deliver the right outcomes and meet the legal requirements within the DCO.”

Tower Hamlets Council did not respond to a request for comment on the tolling arrangements. A Southwark Council spokesperson said the authority is unable to comment at this time.

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