Opinions among experts remain divided on proposed east London river crossings but the public has given its support in the latest Transport for London consultation.

TfL is pushing ahead with plans for a tunnel at Silvertown but held a study to gauge views on further links at Gallions Reach and Belvedere.

An overwhelming 80% of the 7,134 respondents to the consultation backed the idea of a Gallions Reach bridge, compared to 15% who were against.

Support for a bridge further towards the estuary at Belvedere was more lukewarm with 60% backing it and 24% against.

The Centre For London, a think-tank backing the transport developments, believes river crossings could spur the development of 50,000 homes in east London, Essex and Kent.

Director Ben Rogers said the priority should now be on getting the Gallions link open as soon as possible to reap the benefits.

He added: “I’m glad to see that tunnel options are now being considered, in line with Centre For London’s recommendations.

“Our research suggests that a tunnel at Gallions would offer greater value in terms of both land use and construction costs. But we also need to think longer term.

“Alongside the Gallions crossing and the planned redevelopment of the Silvertown Tunnel, we need additional crossings at Belvedere and at Dartford if we are truly unlock the potential of the East Thames.”

Friends of the Earth London campaigner Jenny Bates, however, says the results of the consultation were skewed because proper information was not given on the “damaging local impacts of the schemes”.

Blackwall tunnel

She said crossings would add extra traffic to “already clogged roads”, increasing congestion and worsening “already dangerously filthy air pollution”.

“TfL has never offered local people the option of a comprehensive package of new non-road river crossings including for example new Docklands Light Railway links, walking and cycling only crossings and a multi-stop fast ferry, together with complementary measures to restrain traffic,” she added.

“These could improve access for all and free up space on existing crossings, but without adding to traffic and pollution.

“East and south-east London deserve better than to be blighted by more traffic and pollution, and instead should be developed in a way fit for the 21st century and one that makes the area an attractive and healthy place to live, work and visit.”

The Ernest Bevin Woolwich Ferry sails across the River Thames

The consultation also showed the option of a new ferry at Woolwich was met with a mixed response with 42% in support and 37% against. The idea of a ferry being brought into Gallions Reach was rejected by 57% to 21%.

poll loading

Should east London have more river crossings for cars?