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Silvertown Tunnel, London, UK

A new road tunnel underneath the river Thames is being constructed between Greenwich and Silvertown. The proposed route starts in Newham, a London borough with high proportion of ethnic minorities and the worst pollution levels in the whole UK.


The Silvertown Tunnel is a proposed new motor tunnel under the River Thames, London, that is set to open in 2025 [1]. TfL (Transport for London) states its primary objective is to relieve traffic from the heavily congested Blackwall Tunnel [1]. However, the project has been met with strong resistance from local activists and environmental groups who are calling on Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, to halt the plans. 

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Silvertown Tunnel, London, UK
Country:United Kingdom
State or province:London
Location of conflict:London
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Infrastructure and Built Environment
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Urban development conflicts
Transport infrastructure networks (roads, railways, hydroways, canals and pipelines)
Pollution related to transport (spills, dust, emissions)
Specific commodities:Land
Project Details and Actors
Project details

Length: 1.4 km + 0.6 km of access ramps

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Project area:100
Level of Investment for the conflictive project2,500,000,000.00
Type of populationUrban
Affected Population:600,000 - 1,500,000
Start of the conflict:24/12/2012
Company names or state enterprises:Riverlinx SPV from United Kingdom - SPV for contract
Riverlinx LTD from United Kingdom - Consortium comprising comprising Cintra, Aberdeen Standard Investments, BAM PPP, Macquarie Capital and SK E&
Cintra from Spain - Construction
Abrdn (Abrdn) from United Kingdom - Investment
Invesis from Netherlands - Investment
Ferrovial Construction UK from Spain - Joint Construction, Design and Civil Engineering alongside BAM Nuttall and SK E&C
BAM Nuttall from United Kingdom - Joint Construction, Design and Civil Engineering alongside Ferrovial Construction UK and SK E&C
SK Engineering & Construction Co. Ltd. ((SK E&C)) from Republic of Korea
Riverlinx CJV from United Kingdom - Construction Joint Venture
Macquarie Capital from Australia - investment
Relevant government actors:TfL - Transport for London
Mayor of London
Department for Transport
British Government
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Stop the Silvertown Tunnel -

Mums for lungs -

Extinction Rebellion -

Transport Action Network -

Speak Out Woolwich -

Network for Clean Air -
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:International ejos
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Social movements
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of mobilization:Artistic and creative actions (eg guerilla theatre, murals)
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Land occupation
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Occupation of buildings/public spaces
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Noise pollution
Potential: Air pollution, Global warming
Health ImpactsPotential: Accidents, Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide
Socio-economical ImpactsPotential: Displacement, Loss of livelihood
Project StatusUnder construction
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:The tunnel is being constructed and there are no plans for it to be paused or stopped
Sources & Materials
References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

[7] Gustafson, G. (2020). Children breathe their own air: Reflections on children’s geographies, the urban political ecology of air pollution, and ongoing participatory action research with undergraduates near an east London primary school. Area, 53, 106 - 113.
[click to view]

[1] Transport for London - Silvertown Tunnel. (Online, last accessed 03.05.2022).
[click to view]

[2] Noble, Will. (2020). Newham Has 'Most Toxic Air In The UK', Study Finds. The Londonist, 03.02.2020. (Online, last accessed 03.05.2022).
[click to view]

[3] Mortimer, J. (2022). TfL bosses 'can't push for Low Traffic Neighbourhoods and the Silvertown Tunnel at the same time'. My London, 22.02.2022. (Online, last accessed 03.05.2022)
[click to view]

[4] Stop Silvertown Tunnel. (Online, last accessed 03.05.2022).
[click to view]

[5] Gayle, G. (2022). Doctors urge Sadiq Khan to cancel Silvertown tunnel over pollution fears. The Guardian, 24.02.2022. (Online, last accessed 03.05.2022).
[click to view]

[9] Busby, M. & Murray, J. (2020). Three Extinction Rebellion activists held after Thames rig protest. The Guardian, 25.07.2020. (Online, last accessed 03.05.2022).
[click to view]

[10]. Newsflare (2021). Climate Activists from Extinction Rebellion gather in London to demand end to Silvertown Tunnel project. MSN, 29.10.2021. (Online, last accessed 03.05.2022).
[click to view]

[11] Transport for London. Silvertown Tunnel. In Transport for London website, visited on 28/06/2022
[click to view]

[11] Talora, J. (2021). Silvertown Tunnel: Extinction Rebellion protest at City Hall. Ealing Times, 22.04.2021. (Online, last accessed 03.05.2022).
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

[6] Mums for Lungs Facebook Page, 'Open meeting: How to Stop the Silvertown Tunnel' . Shared 20.01.2022.
[click to view]

[8]. Transport Action Network, Stop the Silvertown Tunnel Coalition, Speak Out Woolwich, Extinction Rebellion Greenwich (2020). The Silvertown tunnel is in a hole, so STOP DIGGING Report.
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Emily Earnshaw - [email protected]
Last update28/06/2022
Conflict ID:5907
Legal notice / Aviso legal
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