Click here to save the 2-sided pdf of the above.

Air pollution levels in Newham and North Greenwich are among the worst in the UK. And regularly exceed WHO safe limits.

Stop Silvertown Tunnel Coalition has launched a project to help our communities monitor air pollution levels ourselves and fight for cleaner air. We started with a very successful workshop, held at the Greenwich Ecology Park in December 2022.

At the workshop, Graham Turnbull from Sheffield explained the grass-roots pollution monitoring project that we are now joining. He has helped many different community and citizen science groups source and install these monitors and get the most from the data. His slides are below.

We distributed 8 monitors in 2022 and hope to install many more in 2023! The monitors measure PM2.5 and PM10 particulates. If you would like to install a monitor at your school, doctors’ surgery or elsewhere in your community, get in touch.

On Sunday 9 October, the Stop the Silvertown Tunnel Coalition held a public meeting at the Greenwich Yacht Club, to discuss how our campaign will go forward from here, in view of the fact that construction of the tunnel has now begun. You can view the speakers at the event in the recording linked here.

The meeting split in to working groups to discuss what to do next. The suggestions made were:

Group 1:

  • Connect with public health team to understand how public health data can be used to engage with communities as part of this campaign.
  • Alternatives to use the tunnel should be presented as an opportunity & public transport should be the key part as re-purpose plan
  • How can we find out the key users of the tunnel? Will it be used by people who will just pass through these routes OR would it be  locals using the tunnel?This will help us understand the benefits/impact on the local people.
  • Tunnel is solving another problem of helping cars coming through to work in London rather than the actual problem stated

Group 2:

  • Direct action such as different forms of protesting could be considered as the way forward for the campaign.
  • PM2.5 should be monitored now and post the tunnel is built to compare
  • There is a hypocrisy that tunnel is relying on traffic to be paid for which will come out from people driving their cars through the tunnel. This puts a question on the business model of the tunnel will work? The tunnel will require the traffic to come through at the same time advocating for reducing the traffic
  • Open question: Difference between the DLR and tram and the benefits offered by each while proposing as alternatives. This information should be made widely available
  • Discouraging the planning application for waste and industrial sites which attracts more cars and HGVs

Group 3:

  • Re-purpose ideas for Silvertown tunnel:
    • Dlr extension and go towards Woolwich to create a loop
    • How can we avoid the toll for the people who live locally vs. who are travelling from other places.
    • Making the tunnel only for EVs
  • Blackwall tunnel should be re-purposed for cycling and walking as it an older tunnel
  • Turning one of the Blackwall tunnels into lorry only routes
  • Shift the culture to educate people to move away from cars

Group 4:

  • Changing the mindset:
    • How can we change the mindset of people to make motors look like tobacco and ensuring the new infrastructure being build for active travel is inclusive for disabled people
    • A lot of people are thinking buying EV is answer to all problems and there is lack of awareness about the emissions from tyre and the challenges associated with the EV batteries
  • Repurposing ideas:
    • Using the tunnel for DLRs
    • Given Silvertown tunnel is primarily being used by lorries, can we look at modern ways of using it for conveyor belt freights
    • Not allowing any HGVs that are bigger than currently allowed in Blackwall Tunnel
  • Do we know what is the actual cancellation costs of Silvertown tunnel?
    • The cancellation cost will change given the digging has started.
    • It will cost half a billion pound confirmed by Sean

Group 5:

  • EVs are not the solution to the traffic problems
  • It was late to pause the tunnel as the digging has already started.
  • The group noted that traffic forecast needs to be re-modeled and the toll details will be revealed after that.
  • Possibility of tolling other Thames crossing based on the different times of the day
  • Future mayor may abolish the polls in future as there is no legal obligation to charge tolls and is a popular idea with motorists.
  • Councils could be louder.
  • Re-purposing the tunnel:
    • Assuming Silvertown tunnel has been built. Existing Blackwall tunnels can be re-purposed –  North bound tunnel has height restriction and could be devoted to pedestrians and cyclists. Southbound tunnel which is higher can be devoted to public transport – buses and possibly trams in future.

Group 6:

  • PM2.5 data monitoring –
    •  Using data to identify the loopholes in the current strategy being shared by TFL. Can we get the data from schools and from end destinations on PM2.5 monitoring.
    • Is the main purpose is the last mile delivery so that the re-purpose ideas could be tailored based on the data. TFL website says the tunnel will save 20 minutes on the long journeys which doesn’t align to the overall strategy. If we can find the data points and evidence the loop holes in the strategy
  • People’s relationship to cars as it is more complex than a prestige point. How do we not demonise the people who use cars but make them more aware and the same for not demonising the cyclists who may have had incidents with pedestrians. Identifying local and national cycling examples and using those as case studies to evidence the benefits.


We held a public webinar on Friday 4 December, 11.0am-12.15pm. A panel of expert speakers put the case for cancelling the tunnel, and a second panel of leading London politicians discussed better ways forward for transport in the capital.

Here’s the flyer as a pdf and as a png for posterity.

Please Click Here to see our form letter to send to your local councillor, MP or GLA member. The page also includes help for finding their contact details. (31/10/2020)

NEW PRESS RELEASE (07/10/2020)

New flyer! Click here to view/download. (04/10/2020)

We are very pleased to share this new report calling for an urgent rethink on the Silvertown Tunnel. 

– This report is published by the Transport Action Network, Stop the Silvertown Tunnel Coalition, Speak Out Woolwich and Extinction Rebellion Greenwich
– The report was drafted by Simon Pirani, author of Burning Up: A Global History of Fossil Fuel Consumption (2018) and Senior Research Fellow, Oxford Institute for Energy Studies

The New Economics Foundation, trade union and environmental campaign groups, prominent climate and transport experts are supportive of the report’s conclusions:
We recommend to the GLA and the Mayor of London:
– The Silvertown tunnel project should be cancelled, and the financial, management and other resources freed up directed primarily to projects that support reducing the number of trips required, and modal shift;
– Review and amend the modelling used for the London Environment Strategy, using a range of alternative tools, including the SCATTER tool developed by the Tyndall Centre for Climate Research;
– Review the London Environment Strategy in the light of these models;
– Review the Mayor’s Transport Strategy with a view to redirecting resources towards reducing the number of trips and modal shift, rather than reliance on electric, hydrogen and hybrid vehicles to achieve decarbonisation.
To local communities, campaign groups and political parties:
– Continue to campaign for the cancellation of the tunnel project, and for the re- direction of resources to policies that will effectively tackle global warming.

Please visit this page on the Transport Action Network to read the full report.