Transport secretary Chris Grayling has granted a Development Consent Order for the £1bn Silvertown Tunnel following a lengthy delay in the decision-making process.
Concerns over the air pollution impact of the new 1km long road tunnel between Greenwich and Silvertown delayed the planning decision by more than six months.
Nonetheless, the 2023 opening date could be further delayed as the planning permission includes the need for amendments to the hazardous chemical licence for a nearby chemical plant to be in place ahead of the tunnel being put into operation.
A Transport for London (TfL) spokesperson said: “While consent was confirmed today by the secretary ofsState, a number of conditions were included. TfL is now working with local boroughs, landowners, stakeholders and other affected parties to understand the implications of these conditions, so that this vital infrastructure project can start as soon as possible.”
The contract to construct the tunnel is now expected to be awarded in spring next year. A joint venture of Strabag and Skanska pulled out of the running for the work in March leaving Cintra Global, which is part of Ferrovial, and Hochtief still in the running.
London mayor Sadiq Khan said: “I’m delighted that the green light has been given to progress with the Silvertown Tunnel. New river crossings are vital for the future prosperity of east London, and the scheme will have a substantial impact unlocking new jobs and economic growth, while easing congestion and poor air quality in the area.
“Since I became mayor I’ve been determined to ensure the Silvertown Tunnel doesn’t have a detrimental impact on our environment. That’s why the new plans have such a focus on cleaner transport, with only buses with the highest emission standard using the tunnel, and substantial investment in pedestrian and cycling infrastructure.”