Blackwall Tunnel

MQT on 2007-05-23
Session date: 
May 23, 2007
Question By: 
Geoff Pope
Liberal Democrats
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


Is not TfL's scrapping of the rush-hour priority scheme at Blackwall Tunnel a serious over-reaction, since the scheme has worked without any serious incidents for 30 years? Only six of the 99 accidents in the three years to September 2006 took place when the scheme was in operation, but now we have three mile tailback queues, with serious delays at the Tunnel from as early as 6 am. Can no more imaginative ways of controlling bad driving be devised by TfL and the Metropolitan Police?


Answer for Blackwall Tunnel

Answer for Blackwall Tunnel

Answered By: 
The Mayor

The tidal flow system was withdrawn as the Metropolitan Police were no longer willing to operate it given the rising numbers of drivers taking risks by overtaking in the tunnel. Given such driver behaviour, and the subsequent increased risk of a serious accident occurring, it would have been irresponsible to allow such a significant operational risk to continue. The prosecution of reckless or dangerous drivers is not the solution. Enforcement is reactive and would not stop a rogue motorist from behaving irresponsibly. It would need only one unfortunate incident to cause a fatal accident on a large scale and potentially result in the long-term closure of the tunnel. The only option available to TfL and the Metropolitan Police was to withdraw tidal flow operation.It should be noted that there are other factors temporarily influencing traffic flows in South East London (for example utilities works on the A2 and A20) and it is anticipated that it will be a month or two before an equilibrium is established.