The proposal to connect the capital with new river crossings in East London is a must for freight to provide the connectivity the area needs to grow, according to the Freight Transport Association (FTA).
Responding to the announcement by Transport for London (TfL) of the launch of a public consultation for proposed new river crossings at Gallions Reach and Belvedere, which form part of this plan, FTA says a network of crossings would be good news for all road users travelling through the area. The two new road crossings outlined in the TfL announcement will connect Beckton with Thamesmead and Rainham with Belvedere.
Natalie Chapman, FTA head of policy for London, said: “FTA is delighted to hear of TfL’s proposals for two new river crossings at Gallions Reach and Belvedere. Cross-river road connectivity in East London is extremely poor in comparison to West London.
“The area is one of major growth in the capital for new housing and jobs. But to ensure its success, it needs the infrastructure to underpin it.”
At present, the alternative crossing in East London is the Blackwall Tunnel, which has a four-metre (13.1ft) height limit restricting access for taller lorries, leading to lengthy detours to the M25 in order to cross the Thames, adding to journey and delivery times.
Drivers approaching the tunnel currently face - on average, a two-mile tailback during peak periods – wasting an estimated one million hours each year for those queuing costing millions of pounds in lost time.
Chapman said: “The Blackwall Tunnel is a key pinch point on the capital’s network, it is unreliable and the regular congestion around it means the local area suffers particularly from poor air quality.
“FTA fully supports the proposals for a new crossing at Silvertown and today’s announcement of plans for additional crossings further east is good news for business.”
FTA stated that the freight industry underpins London’s businesses, so ensuring deliveries and servicing activity can be undertaken efficiently will keep costs down and improve the capital’s competitiveness.
Chapman concluded: “Stop-start traffic also has a hugely detrimental impact on fuel consumption and emissions, increasing transport costs, carbon emissions and leading to poor local air quality.
“FTA figures calculate the cost of congestion for an HGV at £1 a minute, so simply put: congestion is bad for business.”
FTA previously responded to the TfL consultation welcoming proposals for a new tunnel at Silvertown stating that plans for additional road river crossings in East London are vital to support growth, improve connectivity and reduce congestion.