The report shows that the tunnel project would be likely to increase, rather than decrease, greenhouse gas emissions, and would at best redistribute lethal air pollution rather than cutting it. It also questions whether in a post Covid world there will be a need for it if longer term traffic levels do not rise as predicted.
Work on the Silvertown Tunnel was originally expected to start later this year, but that could be delayed with the current crisis. However, the present situation, which has seen traffic levels plummet, also offers an opportunity to review whether it still makes sense to build the tunnel given the impact it will have on the nearby communities as well as on climate change. Given the increase in walking and cycling over the last 3 months, a healthier and less damaging solution might be to improve these types of links across the Thames instead.
The report also disputes the GLA’s argument, central to its case for the tunnel, that it would not cause “induced traffic” (i.e. the effect, analysed in transport research, that more roads produce more traffic). Aside from concerns about the calculations, the other fear is that a future mayor could come in and sweep away the toll charges, leading to large traffic and pollution increases.