Blackwall Tunnel: consultation

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


London Councils have protested about the lack of consultation by TfL with relevant Borough Councils about the abolition of the Blackwall Tunnel rush-hour priority scheme. We understand Greenwich Borough Council were only given two days' notice of this very important move. Is this an appropriate way to manage change?


Answer for Blackwall Tunnel: consultation

Answer for Blackwall Tunnel: consultation

Answered By: 
The Mayor

TfL had discussions with the London Borough of Greenwich in December 2006 and with the Highway Agency in January, in which concerns over tidal flow were raised. The Metropolitan Police (MPS) has operated the peak period tidal flow at Blackwall since its introduction in 1978. The MPS advised TfL in September 2006 of its increasing concerns over risks being taken by drivers during the operation of tidal flow and its view that there was a significant and increasing risk of a serious accident occurring. In light of this, the MPS was considering withdrawal of its support in the operation of tidal flow. TfL agreed with MPS that tidal flow would continue while TfL's consultants' reports into its operation were evaluated and recommendations on whether it should continue were made. This evaluation concluded that tidal flow operation was hazardous and should be stopped. TfL therefore took the decision to withdraw tidal flow arrangements and requested that the MPS continue its operation until 30 July 2007, to allow for communication with stakeholders and the installation of signage advising motorists of the cessation of tidal flow. The MPS took the view that there was no alternative but to curtail tidal flow operation without delay and that they would do so on 20 April 2007. In the interim, a near-fatal motorcycle collision in the southbound tunnel during tidal flow operation on 17 April, led the Police to curtail operations immediately. This effectively was its last day of operation. This, unfortunately, meant that TfL was unable to communicate, as planned, the decision, and the reasons behind it, prior to the cessation of the tidal flow, although on 18 April TfL did distribute to stakeholders a press release advising that tidal flow would cease.