MPs inquiry into new strategic UK river crossings kicks off with focus on London

Long awaited plans for new routes across the river Thames in London east of Tower Bridge will be discussed and assessed by the Transport Select Committee today (Monday12 Jan) as part of its work to identify the priority strategic river crossings needed throughout the UK.

Senior politicians including Lord Heseltine and Lord Adonis will be joined by Deputy London Mayor for Transport Isabel Dedring and Transport for London managing director of planning Michele Dix to provide evidence to MPs as to how and why new east of London crossings could be delivered and funded.

In its first evidence session on Monday, the committee will also gain the view of key local politicians from the capital as it begins its work to look closely at the planning, financing and any regenerative effects of different river crossings in the UK.

“These new crossings would transform the connectivity of outer east London, open up major sites for development and help to support the delivery of jobs and homes across a wide area”. Transport for London, October 2014.

The inquiry will build on and challenge the work already carried out by Transport for London following its July to September 2014 consultation into new crossings of the Thames.

Last October this concluded that whilst there were different views on the specific location and timescales for progressing individual crossings, there was widespread support for new river crossings. 

“Given the scale of growth planned for east London and the projected population increase, there is significant public support to proceed further with the Silvertown Tunnel proposal and to consider plans for new crossings at both Gallions Reach and Belvedere,” TfL said.  

“These new crossings would transform the connectivity of outer east London, open up major sites for development and help to support the delivery of jobs and homes across a wide area,” it added. “Once the proposals for these two crossings have been developed further, we will undertake a more detailed consultation, planned to commence in September 2015.”

The Transport Select Committee launched its wider inquiry last June to look into the UK’s strategic plans for delivering critical river crossing in a bid to understand the potential barriers and opportunities from delivering such infrastructure.

In its call for evidence the Committee asked:

  • How well does local and national government work together to plan and deliver river crossing projects?
  • What knowledge, resources and experience does the public sector need to deliver large, strategically significant river crossing projects?
  • What other government priorities, such as new house building, urban regeneration and new business opportunities, can be delivered through additional strategic river crossings?
  • Do existing cost-benefit analysis methods adequately capture any potential transformative effects of new river crossings?
  • What are the best methods for financing additional river crossings?
  • How can the public sector attract greater investment from the private sector for the delivery and maintenance of river crossings?
  • Should strategic river crossings be tolled? How should tolling be implemented? How can technology be used to improve strategic river crossings for road users (eg better management of traffic flows)?

The first evidence session starts at 4.05pm on Monday 12 January in the Wilson Room, Portcullis House

Programme for Monday 15 January

4.05 pm

  • Michèle Dix, Managing Director, Planning, Transport for London
  • Isabel Dedring, Deputy Mayor for Transport, Greater London Authority
  • Colin Stanbridge, Chief Executive, London Chamber of Commerce and Industry

4.35 pm

  • Councillor Rodney Bass, Cabinet Member for Highways and Transportation, Essex County Council
  • Councillor Denise Hyland, Leader, Royal Borough of Greenwich
  • Paul Carter, Leader, Kent County Council
  • Sir Robin Wales, Mayor of Newham
  • Councillor John Kent, Leader, Thurrock Council

5.20 pm

  • Lord Adonis
  • Lord Heseltine

If you would like to contact Antony Oliver about this, or any other story, please email