You need to know about Sadiq Khan’s new £4 road charge

Transport for London has announced the expected tolls to use the Blackwall and Silvertown tunnels under the Thames from spring 2025.

But is there a way for drivers to avoid the £4 peak hour charge? Here’s all you need to know about Mayor Sadiq Khan’s latest road charge.

Where is the Silvertown tunnel?

The Silvertown tunnel is just east of the Blackwall tunnel in east London. It runs under the Thames, connecting the North Greenwich peninsula in south London with the Silvertown area just west of the Royal Docks in east London. Its southern end is right next to the Blackwall tunnel and its northern end is only about 100 yards west of London mayor Sadiq Khan’s new City Hall.

How much will it cost to use the Silvertown tunnel?

There are three “price bands”. For most of the time between 6am and 10pm, motorists will pay £1.50 per crossing. This applies seven days a week. But the fare increases to £4 for journeys north between 6am and 10am and journeys south 4pm to 7pm during the week. Between 10pm and 6am there is no charge.

What about the Blackwall tunnel?

Fares are exactly the same for the Blackwall and Silvertown tunnels: £1.50 most, £4 during both peak periods and free between 10pm and 6am.

How much will it cost for a “round trip” during peak hours?

It will cost £8 a day for drivers going north through the Blackwall or Silvertown tunnel during the morning rush hour and south during the evening peak.

Is there a way to avoid the Silvertown and Blackwall tunnel toll?

Yes – travel between 10pm and 6am. There are no overnight charges. But if staying up late or getting up early isn’t possible, the only other way to avoid the toll is to catch a bus via the tunnel or the DLR to and from a nearby station – these will be free on for at least one year thereafter. Silvertown tunnel opens. More details are below.

How does the toll compare to other road charges?

The Dartford crossing (on the M25) costs motorists £2.50 per crossing. The Ulez is £12.50 per day and the congestion charge is £15 – both for unlimited journeys.



Why are the Blackwall and Silvertown tunnels being cut?

The Ballygill tunnel was built using a PFI (private finance initiative) scheme – around £1bn to build the tunnel and £1.2bn in loan repayments. Transport for London needs revenue from the toll charges to repay its £2.2bn debt.

Why can’t Silvertown be charged but not Blackwall?

TfL says that if only one tunnel was tolled, no drivers would use it – and everyone would continue to use the other (free) crossing. This would defeat the purpose of building Ballygavan, which is to reduce delays, congestion and pollution at Blackwall by effectively halving the load.

Do I have to do anything to qualify for the £1.50 off-peak rate?

Yes. This is crucial. All drivers must register their vehicle(s) with TfL’s Auto Pay system, which is already in use for the congestion charge and Ulez (ultra-low emission zone). TfL already has around 1.3m vehicles registered. It means that the toll is automatically charged to the driver’s debit or credit card. Drivers who do not register for Auto Pay during charging hours will be charged £4.

What about motorbikes, taxis, minicabs, vans and HGVs?

Motorcyclists will pay £2.50 at peak times and £1.50 during off-peak. Transit vans will pay the same as cars. Large vans will pay £6.50 peak and £2.50 off-peak. HGVs will pay £10 at peak times, and £5 off-peak.

When will the fees start?

Tolls will be charged on both tunnels from Spring 2025 when the Ballygle tunnel opens to traffic. An exact date has not yet been announced. The tunnel is opening slightly ahead of schedule – it was not expected to open until Summer 2025. The whole project – first envisaged in 2012 when Boris Johnson was mayor – has taken around four years late.

How many drivers use the Blackwall tunnel?

Around 100,000 vehicles a day use the Blackwall tunnel. It is expected that around half of the traffic will be diverted to the Ballingill tunnel.

What about cyclists?

Cyclists are not allowed to ride through the Blackwall tunnel and they will not be allowed to ride through the Ballynegil tunnel, both for safety reasons. However TfL is setting up a cycle “bus shuttle” – cyclists will be able to load their bike onto the bus for a free ride through the tunnel. The fee will be free for at least the first year. One of the two lanes in each of the two Ballynegil tunnels (north and south) will be a bus lane.

What about bus passengers?

In a bid to lure Londoners out of their cars, cross-river journeys on bus 108 or 129 – as well as the new Superloop SL4 route through the Silvertown tunnel, which will link Grove Park and Canary Wharf from next year – will be free for at least for a while. year for trips starting in Newham, Tower Hamlets or Greenwich.

Will the DLR be free?

Yes – for some trips. DLR journeys in the immediate vicinity of the tunnels – such as between Cutty Sark and Island Gardens or Woolwich Arsenal and King George V – will be free for at least a year.

What if drivers don’t pay the correct toll?

A fine of £180 will be imposed, reduced to £90 if paid within two weeks. However, only one penalty charge notice will be issued per day, regardless of the number of unpaid crossings.

Is there any help for low income Londoners, NHS patients or small businesses?

Yes. Low-income Londoners living in 12 east or south-east London boroughs, including Newham, Tower Hamlets and Greenwich, or in the City of London, can apply for a 50 per cent discount. NHS staff and patients will be able to reimburse the fee. Drivers with blue badges will be exempt.

Low-income Londoners can apply for the 50 per cent discount if they live in Barking & Dagenham, Bexley, Bromley, City of London, Greenwich, Hackney, Havering, Lewisham, Newham, Redbridge, Southwark, Tower Hamlets or Waltham Forest. They must be receiving a Government benefit such as income support, jobseeker’s allowance, universal credit, pension credit, child tax credit, working tax credit, carer’s allowance or housing benefit.

Small businesses in Newham, Tower Hamlets and Greenwich can apply for a £1 discount on the off-peak charge for at least one year.

Will taxis be exempt?

Black taxis, yes – and some minicabs, those are those that can take wheelchairs or have “zero emissions”. TfL says around 40 per cent of minicabs will be exempt.

What does Sadiq Khan have to say?

Mr Khan said: “Local residents and business owners in the area around the Blackwall tunnel currently face chronic congestion and pollution. When it opens in 2025, the long-planned new Silvertown tunnel will help deliver faster and more reliable journeys in east London by easing congestion and making journeys up to 20 minutes faster.”

Are the tolls and discounts set in stone?

TfL is running an eight-week consultation. Depending on the outcome of the consultation, the proposed tolls and discounts could be amended. The TfL board, chaired by Mr Khan, will have the final say later this year. The £4 peak dollar is also likely to rise from time to time in line with the rate of inflation, to maintain its deterrent effect.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *