Bexley Council has welcomed plans for two new crossings across the Thames.

Boris Johnson confirmed last week that a tunnel connecting Greenwich peninsula to Silvertown will be built within the next decade with an estimated capacity of 2,400 vehicles per hour in each direction.

He also announced a new ferry crossing between Thamesmead and Beckton at Gallions Reach will be open by 2017.

Bexley councillors welcomed the new scheme as a move away from the Thames Gateway Bridge project.

The six-lane bridge, across the Thames between Thamesmead and Beckton, was scrapped by incoming London mayor Boris Johnson four months after his election in 2008.

The plan had proved highly unpopular in Bexley, facing opposition from a number of groups and the borough’s Tory council.

Cabinet member for public realm and community safety, Councillor Peter Craske said: "We are particularly pleased that the Mayor has moved on from the previous poorly thought-out plan for a road crossing to something which is more sensible that will provide a valuable new link to Thamesmead and the north of the borough."

Cabinet member for economic development and regeneration, Councillor Linda Bailey said the plans will improve transport links from Bexley.

She added: “Taken together with the planned Crossrail station at Abbey Wood, future years should see a massive improvement in the links between Bexley and the rest of the capital, something for which we have campaigned since we won control of the Council in 2006.”

But Jacqui Wise, who founded Action Group Against the Bridge in 2004 in response to the Thames Gateway Bridge project, says a peninsula crossing would increase congestion.

Mrs Wise of Berkeley Avenue, Bexleyheath said: “Speaking personally we would not support the new proposals.

“The ferry crossing would have traffic implications for the area which will, by stealth, create the demand locally for a Thames Gateway Bridge type crossing.

“Basically this is a slow burn Thanes Gateway Bridge proposal.

“We are disappointed that Bexley Council is supporting these proposals without first consulting Bexley residents.”

Preliminary consultation on the new Silvertown crossing, which aims to reduce pressure on Blackwall, is to begin next month.

There are currently no details on how the schemes will be funded.


July 2004 - The Thames Gateway Bridge application is handed in, a 650 metre, six-lane bridge between the A2016 in Thamesmead and Beckton.

December 2004 - The scheme, backed by London Mayor Ken Livingstone, is approved by Greenwich and Newham Councils.

June 2005 - A public inquiry on the plans sits at Charlton’s The Valley ground.

July 2007 - The Planning inspector recommends scrapping the bridge scheme.

July 2007 - Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government requests a reopening of the inquiry.

November 2008 - New London Mayor Boris Johnson confirms he has scrapped the bridge scheme.

November 2011 - Chancellor George Osborne announces that two new river crossings are on the table.