Blackwall and Silvertown Tunnel charges: Prices for new toll have been revealed

A toll for the Blackwall tunnel will come into force in spring 2025 – here’s everything you need to know

Ed Cunningham
Written by
Ed Cunningham
News Editor, Time Out UK and Time Out London
Silvertown tunnel entrance in Greenwich, London
Photograph: TfL

Around this time last year, TfL announced that the Blackwall Tunnel would soon start charging a toll fee for drivers. The tunnel, which is one of London’s busiest and most important Thames crossings, apparently needs a charge in order to help pay for maintenance – as well as to encourage drivers to use the Silvertown Tunnel, which is set to open in 2025.

And today (July 10) it’s finally been revealed just how much the toll fees for both the Blackwall and Silvertown tunnels will be. The fee will be the same for both tunnels, but they’ll vary in peak and off-peak times. 

RECOMMENDED: The Blackwall Tunnel is closing for two weekends in July and August.

How much will the Blackwall and Silvertown tunnel toll be?

During peak hours, which are 6am to 10am northbound and 4pm to 7pm southbound on weekdays, car and small van drivers will be charged £4 each way. During off-peak hours, which are at other times and weekends, these drivers will be charged £1.50 each way. At night, between 10pm and 6am, there will be no toll fee. 

These fees will slightly change for motorbikes (£1.50 off-peak, £2.50 peak), large vans (£2.50 off-peak, £6.50 peak) and HGVs (£5 off-peak, £10 peak), and are expected to be paid using TfL AutoPay. The same payment system is currently used for the ULEZ.

How much will it cost for a roundtrip during peak hours?

If you’re unlucky enough to be using the tunnels in peak times on a roundtrip, cars and small vans will be charged £8, motorbikes will be charged £5, large vans £13 and HGVs £20. 

There will also be a number of exemptions, concessions and discounts. All buses, coaches and vehicles with nine seats or more registered with the DVLA are exempt, as are all taxis, blue badge holders and wheelchair-accessible private hire vehicles. 

On top of that, NHS staff and patients will be eligible for reimbursements, and a 50 percent discount will be available for low-income drivers in 12 east and south-east London boroughs and the City of London. Small businesses in the boroughs of Newham, Tower Hamlets and Greenwich can apply for a £1 off-peak discount for at least a year.

Three cross-river bus routes (the 108, 129 and SL4) will also be free for at least one year (so long as journeys start in Newham, Tower Hamlets or Greenwich), as well as cross river trips on the DLR (like those between Cutty Sark and Island Gardens or Woolwich Arsenal and King George V). As previously announced, a free ‘bike bus’ will ferry cyclists through the Silvertown Tunnel

When will the charges start?

These new levies will come into force as soon as the Silvertown Tunnel opens – which is expected to be sometime next spring. No exact date has yet been confirmed.

What’s the reaction been to the charge so far?

As expected, many regular users of the Blackwall Tunnel are not happy about the introduction of a toll fee. There is already a petition urging Tower Hamlets Council to consider alternatives to a toll.

Oliver Lord of Clean Cities, a group that campaigns against air pollution, said: ‘How is it fair that residents and businesses in the east are paying for infrastructure such as this and then those in the west expect a blank cheque to fix Victorian bridges?’. He also questioned the decision not to exempt electric vans from the fees, saying this will impact small businesses.

Some climate activists have expressed concerns about the impact of the Silvertown Tunnel on traffic and air pollution.

How to avoid paying the Blackwall and Silvertown tunnel toll

One way to avoid paying the toll is to only use the tunnels at night, between the hours of 10pm and 6am.

You can also use alternative routes that are not subject to the toll. The Rotherhithe tunnel and Tower Bridge are both nearby crossings that currently do not have a toll, though be warned that the Rotherhithe has rather strict vehicle size limits. 

What happens if drivers don’t pay the correct toll?

The penalty charge for non-payment of the new tolls will be £180, though this will be reduced to £90 if paid within two weeks. 

TfL’s plans for a toll on the Blackwall and Silvertown tunnels are currently open for consultation, and you can have your say here.

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