London's newest transport expansion of the Silvertown Tunnel was not something that outsiders of the region might think could be controversial.

However, since its approval back in 2018, many Londoners have been vocal about their opposition to TfL's project seeing protests and calls to stop it going ahead.

But with the tunnelling process now complete and an opening date expected for summer 2025, the Silvertown Tunnel is not going away any time soon.

Although Silvertown Tunnel's opening date is quickly approaching, many are still opposing it and think it will only hinder London traffic instead of helping it.

Why is the Silvertown Tunnel controversial? 

The controversy around the Silvertown Tunnel surrounds opinions by protesters that TfL's newest tunnel will increase traffic and air pollution in London as the tolls from both Silvertown and Blackwall will deter motorists.

Protesters add that as large HGVs will be able to use Silvertown over the Dartford Crossing, many HGVs will be passing through local areas of Newham and Greenwich.

The potential increase in HGVs in local areas has also seen concerns rise on air pollution, as Victoria Rance, of Stop Silvertown Tunnel Coalition, said to the BBC: "It’s going to take 25,000 to 30,000 vehicles into Newham."

Adding: "It’s going to attract new HGVs into Greenwich, past our schools and our kids and into Newham – the most polluted borough in the UK."

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Back in 2022, councillors in Greenwich and Newham voted to oppose Silvertown while Lewisham and Hackney councils opposed the tunnel in 2015.

The opposition from the councillors and many other campaigners joined the protest against Silvertown with calls from some to get the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan to stop the project.

However, the Mayor confirmed that the tunnel would be going ahead, now years on it nears completion.

As a mixed reaction to Silvertown Tunnel grows, we asked TfL what they hope it will achieve and its purpose.

However, due to the upcoming Mayoral Election on May 2, TfL is restricted to what can be said, but they have provided some details on the project.


As TfL  shared the "Silvertown Tunnel will provide a public transport-focused river crossing with zero-emission bus links across the Thames."

Adding that it will be with the ULEZ and "will be subject to a user charge" while reducing "congestion and improve the reliability and resilience of the Blackwall Tunnel, which will improve overall air quality in the local area."

TfL also shared that work on Silvertown continues with current work seeing safety critical systems installed  and that "Work is also progressing on the new road layout around Tidal Basin Roundabout in Newham, including new walking and cycling paths to make it easier for people accessing the Royal Docks via the Lower Lea Crossing."

The Office of the Mayor of London has been contacted for a comment.