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Silvertown Tunnel (1)

Questions to the Mayor of London – answered on 30th October 2019.

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Photo of Caroline Pidgeon Caroline Pidgeon Liberal Democrat

Has TfL investigated whether implementing a toll on the Blackwall tunnel could also improve resilience by preventing blockages by, for example, preventing over-height vehicles from registering for the toll system?

Photo of Sadiq Khan Sadiq Khan Mayor of London

As I explain in my response to Mayor's Question 2019/19671, Transport for London (TfL) has investigated a number of measures to prevent blockages and improve resilience at the Blackwall Tunnel.

While TfL would encourage customers to pre-register for a user charge such as the one you describe, it would not be able to mandate registration. Furthermore, articulated lorries would be registered as a cab only, with the potential to pull different trailers of different heights.

TfL already has an advanced detection system and associated enforcements activities in place. This system allows over-height vehicles to be detected, removed from the road and penalised. Despite these measures, closures of the Blackwall Tunnel are still far higher than for any other tunnel in London.

While a significant number of blockages are caused by over-height vehicles, there are a variety of other causes of incidents at the Blackwall Tunnel, for example, the tight geometry of the tunnels which leads to a significant number of vehicle collisions. This situation cannot continue. TfL has demonstrated through the development of the scheme that the Silvertown Tunnel proposals are the best means of reducing the number of incidents and improving the reliability of the Blackwall Tunnel in the long term. The provision of a nearby, suitable alternative route also provides resilience, preventing major travel disruption and miles of standing traffic in the event of incidents.