London City Airport Consultative Committee

Surface Access

Describes the facilities for surface access to the Airport, the Airport's surface access strategy and future developments including Crossrail and the DLR Woolwich Arsenal and Stratford International projects now under construction




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On this Page:

How Passengers Travel to the Airport
DLR Extension to the Airport
DLR Extension to Woolwich Arsenal
DLR Stratford International Extension
DLR Dagenham Dock Extension
DLR - Service Enhancements
Road Access
The A13 Improvements
Olympic Road Network
Riverbus (1988-1993)
Private Cars
Motorcycle & Cycle
Bus Services
Jubilee Line Extension
North London Line - Silverlink Metro
Thames Gateway River Crossings
Cable Car - the Emirates Airline
Airport Transport Forum
Airport Surface Access Strategy
Travel Plan
London TravelWatch

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Thames Gateway River Crossings

  - Woolwich Rail Crossing

  - Thames Gateway Bridge (TGB)

  - Silvertown Link

  - Cable Car
Airport Transport Forum
Airport Surface Access Strategy
Travel Plan
London TravelWatch
Maps and Charts
More Information

Related Pages
About the Airport- Home Page (Alt+2)
DLR Extensions (Alt+3)
Airport Transport Forum (Alt+5)
Passengers (Alt+6)
Statistics (Alt+7)


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How Passengers Travel to the Airport

The figures below show the last mode of transport of air passengers in 2010. More than half of passengers travelled to or from the airport by the Docklands Light Railway with 31% travelling by taxi. Only 13% relied on private vehicles and the rest travelled by other means.

  • DLR - 51%
  • Minicab - 17%
  • Black Cab - 14%
  • Private car driven away - 5%
  • Chauffeur driven car - 4%
  • Private car left in the Airport’s car park - 3%
  • Transfer Passenger - 2%
  • Rented Car - 1%
  • Bus - 1%
  • Other - 2%

Interestingly although the Airport is well served by ordinary buses very few passengers use them because they do not serve the main passenger catchment areas of Canary Wharf and the Cities of London and Westminster.

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DLR - City Airport Extension

DLR Train at Londondon City Airport Station DLR Logo

THIS important extension of the Docklands Light Railway (DLR), which runs from Canning Town to the Airport and on to North Woolwich, opened for passenger services on Friday 2nd December 2005 with the first train arriving at the Airport direct from Bank in the City of London at 17.00 hours.

The new railway meets a key aspiration of the Airport to secure a fixed rail link direct to the Airport and it has been very strong in its support for the project since its inception. On 19th March 2002 the Government announced its decision to approve an Order under the Transport and Works Act 1992 authorizing the scheme - see press release and work started early in March 2003. For more information on the project see our DLR Extension Page

The Airport agreed to contribute £2m towards the cost of this extension of the DLR mostly in property rights but with balance in cash if necessary. The arragements for this have still to be finalised (July 2009).

In its first year of operation the City Airport Extension carried 4.2 million passengers. Transport for London were delighted - they had thought the new line would take three years to reach this figure.

In October 2006 the Airport station won the Community Rail Award for best ‘Local Transport Integration Project' and in April 2007 the station was runner up in London Transport's "Rail Station of the Year" award.

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DLR LogoWoolwich Arsenal Extension

In February 2004 the Department of Transport approved a new order to carry the new Airport Extension under the River to Woolwich Arsenal. By June 2005 DLR had signed a 30 year contract with a concessionaire to design, build and maintain the extension.

Work started in mid-June 2005 and train services on the new line began on 10th January 2009.

For more information see our DLR Extension Page


Stratford International Station - artist's impression

DLR Stratford International Extension

DLR LogoThe Docklands Light Railway (DLR) is well under way in buidling its new Stratford International Extension project.

It was in July 2004 that the Government indicated its support for the new line running between Stratford International station (on the Channel Tunnel Rail Link) and the existing DLR station at Royal Victoria near Canning Town. The new link will use the the former North London Line between Stratford (Low Level) and Royal Victoria and a new length of line is being built around the Stratford rail lands development to the International Station. The new line will serve existing the existing stations at Stratford, West Ham, Canning Town and Royal Victoria, which are being converted to Docklands Light Railway specifications with improved accessibility and step-free access. Four new, fully accessible stations are bring built at Star Lane, Abbey Road, Stratford High Street and Stratford International to serve existing and future communities. The Docklands Light Railway station at Stratford International will provide an important interchange with Eurostar services from the CTRL station, as well as linking up to the Stratford City development and the Olympic Park.

A connection is to be provided to the existing DLR Beckton line and the DLR London City Airport Extension which has now further extended to Woolwich Arsenal.

There are full details of the project on the DLR's website. See also this map which illustrates the project.

On 31st August 2005 the DLR submitted an application to the Department of Transport for an order under the Transport and Works Act 1992 authorising the new line. At their meeting on 11th October 2005 the Consultative Committee were briefed on the project by Richard De Cani of the DLR and resolved to write to the Secretary of State in support of the project [.pdf copy of Briefing - 970kb] [.pdf copy of letter to Secretary of State - 56kb].

Following a public inquiry in March/April 2006 the Secretary of State announced his approval of the project on 25th October 2006 along with his approval of the closure of the North London Line between Stratford and North Woolwich. The report of the public inquiry is also available on the Department's website

This new line, which is thought to be good news for both the Airport's passengers and staff alike, is being funded by Transport for London and the Olympic Delivery Authority, with the total value likely to exceed £200 million.

There were three contracts. The first of these, let in January 2007, provides for:

  • the construction of two new platforms on the north side of Stratford station, where North London Line national rail services will terminate. The first of these platforms was completed in June 2007
  • track alignment work to prepare for the new rail link between Stratford and Stratford International; and
  • the construction of the shell and foundations of the new DLR station at Stratford International.

The second contract, awarded in May 2007 to Taylor Woodrow, involves the construction of a 'flying' junction at Canning Town station to allow Beckton services to cross over the Stratford International line.

The third contract, let to Skanska in July 2007, provides for the conversion of the existing railway to DLR technology; the upgrading of existing stations to DLR standards; the construction of four new stations; and the formation of the new rail link between Stratford and Stratford International.

The new line is now open for services..

Train services on the North London Line south of Stratford came to an end on 10th December 2006.The Connaught Tunnel, and other parts of the line to the south of Royal Victoria, are being used for the Crossrail project.

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DLR LogoDLR Dagenham Dock Extension

More remote from the Airport, but offering an important link to the east, this project is in the early stage of development.  If approved the planned new line would run eastwards from the existing Beckton line just north of Gallions Reach DLR with new stations to serve the proposed housing developments in Barking Riverside and the surrounding area. 

During 2007 the DLR confirmed that Dagenham Dock would be the destination for the extension and that the preferred route would leave the existing network at Gallions Reach and run to the south of the DLR depot before descending into tunnel. The tunnel would take the the new line under the Thames Water site and the River Roding. Emerging to the east of the River Roding the new line would continue on a viaduct through Barking Riverside. East of Barking Riverside the new line will cross over the existing rail corridor before terminating alongside the existing rail station at Dagenham Dock. [DLR Update - December 2007- .pdf 1.2mb]

The DLR expected to obtain authorisation for the new line during 2008/2009. If approved they expected work to start work on the project in 2013 with the line opening in 2017. However, in November 2008 the new mayor of London, said that funding had yet to be identified to implement the project. It was unclear whether the Barking Riverside housing development was a Government priority to 2018.

For more details visit the DLR's website

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DLR Logo

DLR - Service Enhancements

In July 2009 the Airport agreed to contribute £2.5 million towards any one of the following enhancements of the DLR's presently planned service on the Cannning Town to Woolwich line which is to run 15 two-car trains in each direction by 2010:

  • increased frequency of trains (greater than 15 two-car trains per hour in each direction);
  • introduction of at least one three-car train as part of the DLR's presently planned service;
  • extension of the Woolwich to Canning Town (two-car) shuttle service to Canary Wharf as part of the DLR's presently planned service; or
  • any other enhancement which may be agreed between the Council the Airport Companies and DLR

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The Lower Lea Crossing

Road Access

UNTIL the DLR's fixed rail link was completed most people arriving at or leaving the Airport did so by road and many continue to do 2010 just under half were using the roads to get to the Airport, including 14% by black cabs, 17% by minicabs, 4% by chauffeur driven car and 13% by private or rented vehicles

When the Airport opened in 1987 access by road was perceived to be poor. The opening in 1993 of the Limehouse Link and the other Docklands strategic highways transformed the position and there is now a very good route from central London to the Airport via Tower Hill, The Highway, Limehouse Link, Aspen Way, Lower Lea crossing, North Woolwich Road and Hartman Road - see route map (51k). Passenger surveys show that the majority have an origin or destination in central London or the Docklands - see O&D chart -but there is also good access from the M11 and the North Circular Road (A406) via the new Docklands Highways (Royal Docks Road, Royal Albert Way and the Connaught Crossing). Routes to the Airport are generally well signposted.

The Airport has agreed to contribute £190,000 (index-linked) towards the cost of any mitigation works recommended by the VISSIM Study - a road traffic capacity modelling study to which the Airport has already contributed £50,000 . The study is intended to identify any road traffic capacity improvement works to the local road network in consequnce of the Airport. It is agreed that the final amount of the contribution will not be greater than that proportion of the estimated capital value of the mitigation works necessary to mitigate the road traffic impacts of the Airport.

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The A13 Improvements

Road Sign

THE Docklands Highways were built principally to serve new developments south of the A13. However, plans to improve the A13 to cope better with through traffic, especially in the peak hours, did not keep pace and many drivers found it more convenient to use the Docklands Highways even though the journey was longer. This gave rise to congestion which affected journey times to/from the Airport at peak times. The A13 improvements were finally launched as a Design Build Finance Operate (DBFO) scheme using private finance. The £200 million contract for this was awarded to RMS (A13) plc on 12th April 2000. The 30 year contract provided for the operation and maintenance of 13 miles of of the A13 stretching from the City to Wennington and included £146 million to be spent on improvements as follows:

  • the A13 Ironbridge to Canning Town Improvement - widening and an additional flyover and completing the East India Dock Link Tunnel
  • the A13/A112 Prince Regent Lane Improvement - an underpass, slip roads and new junction.
  • the A13/A117 Woolwich Manor Way Improvement - replacing the existing flyover with a dual three-lane road flyover;
  • the A13 Movers Lane Improvement - a new dual three-lane underpass
  • replacing the Roding Bridge (south)

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Work on the improvements  was completed in the first half of 2005 and since then traffic congestion on the Docklands Highways has eased considerably (see map Docklands highways map 148k)

There has long been a separate scheme to build a flyover to link the A406 (North Circular Road) to Royal Docks Road over the present (already grade separated) junction of these roads with the A13 but little progress has been made.  

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Olympic Road Network

On 11th December 2008 the Department for Transport published for consultation details of the roads it proposed to include in the Olympic Route Network (ORN). The Committee commented on the proposals on 19th March 2009.

Later it was announced that the Secretary of State for Transport had made an Order designating the roads that will form the Olympic Route Network (ORN). The Order came into force on 22 July 2009. The order gives the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) powers to approve planned road works on the ORN, and to make Traffic Regulation Orders on the ORN roads and designate additional ORN roads subject to consultation and the Secretary of State's consent.

It is exepcted that the ORN will lead to modified traffic signals and restricted turns and temporary Games Lanes which will run in one or both directions, but will not occupy the entire road.  The roads in the Royal Docks presently affected by the ORN are the Lower Lea Crossing, Silvertown Way, North Woolwich Road,  the Connaught Crossing, Royal Albert Way eastwards to Stansfeld Road and the Western Gateway, Seagull Lane and Sandstone Lane at ExCeL.

For more details see the website of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

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Riverbus (1988/93)

In its early days, when access for air passengers to and from Central London was perceived to be poor, the Airport arranged a Riverbus service using 51 seat waterjet powered catamarans to carry airport users from Charing Cross via Swan Lane pier at London Bridge to City Pier on the Thames adjacent to the old western entrance to the the Royal Victoria Dock. From there it was a short bus ride to the Airportabout a mile to the west. The airport route was additional to a wider riverbus service for commuters supported by the London Docklands Development Corporation (LDDC) and other bodies including the developers of Canary Wharf.

The service opened in mid-1988 and continued until August 1993 when, in spite of the support received from the LDDC, the Airport and other bodies, financial problems finally caught up with the operator and the service came to an end.

The service, which carried passegers to and from Charing Cross in about 35 minutes, was very popular with its users. Initially it operated hourly in each direction but in the early 1990s a more frequent service was introduced.

From Ben Mann, whose Dad worked on the River Buses, we understand the boat which provided the Airport service was called "Le Premier". It was operated by a crew of 4 on a shift system. It was the only boat equipped with radar at the time. From Ben we learn that three of the riverbuses are now being used by a hotel in Thailand - see picture.

For more on the Riverbus visit the LDDC History Pages. See also this Riverbus video clip showing the Riverbus taken from the Airport's 2001 Delivering the Vision presentation.  It is a .wmv file (920kb and requires a Windows Media Player

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PRIOR to the opening of the DLR rail link about 47% of the Airport's passengers used taxis to get to and from the Airport -see chart. With the opening of the DLR this percentage was reduced. In 2010 about 34% of passengers used taxis to get to the airport.

The Airport's Byelaws allow only taxis licensed under Section 6 of the Metropolitan Public Carriage Act 1969. Over 400 taxis come to the Airport each morning for arriving passengers. In order to attract taxis when supply is low an orange beacon signals to passing taxis on the main road. The beacon is operated from the Customer Service Centre at the Airport. There is a taxi desk in the Terminal for bookings, accounts and credit facilities. The Airport maintains a close liaison with the taxi trade by employing a licensed taxi-cab driver as a taxi co-ordinator.  The aim is to ensure that taxis are always available and that the Airport understands the drivers' needs.

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The Airport has parking for 900 carsPrivate Cars

FROM the figures above you will see that in 2010 some 17% of passengers accessed the Airport by some mode of private car and 31% in black taxis or minicabs

The Airport provides 750 car parking spaces for passengers. The business or short stay car park is located closest to the terminal building - 150 places are provided here including 6 spaces for disabled parking. The main car park contains 600 spaces. At the eastern end of the main car park, an area is marked off for staff car parking but is also available to passengers. On a typical day between 180 and 200 members of staff park their cars here.

The car parks were resurfaced in August 1998 and the lighting was upgraded. A covered walkway along the dock edge was completed in September 1999.

For more information about the Airport's car parking arrangements and charges visit the Airport's website.

If before 2012 it is established that the the operation of the Airport is giving rise to parking problems in local streets the Airport has undertaken to contribute £35,000 per annum (index linked) over 5 years towards the cost of investigating, designing and implementing parking controls.

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Streetcar logoStreetcar

The Streetcar bay in the short term car park

The Streetcar car scheme was ontoruduced at the Airport in August 2008. The Streetcar car club gives its members all the convenience of owning their own car, but without the cost and hassle. Booked online or by phone members can reserve a car for just 30 minutes or as long as six months. The car can then be left at over 500 locations all over London, all within a five to ten minute walk of eachother. Visit to join the club and for more information.

The key benefits of car clubs are the reduction of traffic congestion, on and off-street parking pressure and CO2 and particle pollution.

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Motorcycle & Cycle

The Airport provides secure parking facilities for passengers and staff choosing to use a motorbike to access the Airport. For staff who cycle to work, shower and changing facilities are also available.

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There is a public footpath linking the Airport to Prince Regent Station DLR station. The Airport's DLR station has an entrance serving the streets to the south of the Airport in Silvertown.

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Liverpool Street shuttle bus - - operated until December 2005

Bus Services

PRIOR to the opening of the DLR rail link the Airport's Shuttle Bus services were used by 21% of passengers. They ran every 5 minutes to the Jubilee line/DLR/Silverlink Metro interchange at Canning Town and every 10 minutes to Canary Wharf (linking to the DLR) and Liverpool Street station linking to the London Underground and main railway services - see Shuttle Bus map (30kb). The Airport encouraged staff to travel to work on public transport and allowed all Airport staff to travel on its shuttle bus services free of charge. In 2003 the number of staff journeys on the shuttle buses averaged between two and three thousand per month. By the year-end, there had been almost 34,000 staff journeys in total.

With the opening of the new railway the Airport stopped operating the Canning Town shuttle bus service on 11th December 2005 and the service to Liverpool Street station via Canary Wharf stopped operating on Friday 3rd March 2006.

Following the opening of the new railway the following changes in bus services were introduced on 17th December 2005:

  • Route 69 - which used to run from Walthamstow to the Airport via Stratford, Plaistow and Canning Town, now serves as a feeder service into Canning Town for the DLR and no longer operate beyond Canning Town.
  • Route 473 - which runs from Stratford to North Woolwich via Plaistow and the Airport continues to operate without change.
  • Route 474 – which used to run from Beckton to Canning Town via North Woolwich and Silvertown (passing but not entering the Airport), now directly serve the Airport and has been extended from Beckton northwards via East Ham to Manor Park. This service starts at 0400hrs each day.

In July 2009 the Airport agreed with the local planning authority to contribute (if demanded) £20,000 towards the cost of improving of local bus services to serve the Airport, including service enhancements and infrastructure.

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Jubilee Line Extension

TRANSPORT links to the Airport were greatly enhanced by the opening of the Jubilee Line Extension. The extended Jubilee Line offers improved transport options for Airport passengers, providing a quick and convenient route to the Airport via Canning Town. To coincide with the opening of the new underground service, the Airport opened its own high frequency shuttle bus service between the Airport and the Canning Town Interchange only 5 minutes away. The new service made it possible to travel between Westminster or Waterloo and the Airport in only 25 minutes, Green Park in 30 minutes and to Bond Street in less than 40 minutes - far quicker than to any other airport.

Following the opening of the DLR extension to the Airport and North Woolwich in December 2005 Airport passengers using the Jubilee Line now transfer at Canning Town to the new DLR service and the shuttle buses no longer operate.

Canning Town is now an important transport hub for the Airport, serving not only the Jubilee Line but also the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) to Bank. It also incorporates a major bus interchange.

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Silverlink Metro trains no longer operateNorth London Line - Silverlink Metro

Until December 2006 the North London Line (NLL) ran from North Woolwich to Richmond in west London via Stratford, Highbury & Islington, Camden Road, Hampstead and Willesden Junction. Services on the line were operated by Silverlink Metro.  Silvertown Station was about 6 minutes walk from the Airport but Silverlink services called also at the Canning Town Interchange where passengers could pick up the DLR service to the Airport. The service was not much used by Airport passengers or staff and there had long been concern among local people about the frequency/reliability of the service south of Stratford. 

Following the approval of the DLR's Stratford International Extension, the that part of the North London Line between Stratford and North Woolwich closed on 10th December 2006 and part of it (between Custon House and Stratford) was transferred to the DLR   The rest of the line south of Stratford will be required for the Abbey Wood branch of the Crossrail project - in the Royal Docks this branch will follow the route of the NLL from Custom House via the Connaught Tunnel  to the south side of the Docks and thence in a new tunnel to the south side of the River.

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ALSO of importance to the Airport is the Crossrail project, a new railway lilne running from Maidenhead in the west through Paddington, Liverpool Street and on to Shenfield via Stratford and Abbey Wood via the Isle of Dogs (Canary Wharf) in the east. The Abbey Wood Branch will run in tunnel from the Isle of Dogs to the Royal Docks where it will surface to the west of Custom House.   The present station at Custom House will be rebuilt.  The line will then follow the route of the North London Line via the Connaught Tunnel (which will be refurbished) to just west of the current North Woolwich station where it will enter a new tunnel under the Thames to join the North Kent line just east of Plumstead station.  

For cost reasons, and because there is insufficient space to provide a straight platform, the local proposal for a centrally placed station in the Royals was not included in the scheme. This emphasises the need for good surface connections from the new Custom House Station to and from the London City Airport and other major developments in the Royal Docks and indeed the design of the new station at Custom House allows for easy interchange with buses that could include a direct bus service to London City Airport.

Crossrail map

On 22 February 2005 the Secretary of State for for Transport announced that he had introduced the required hybrid Bill in Parliament. The Bill was subsequently carried over for consideration by the new Parliment elected in May 2005.

Artist’s impression of Crossrail train emerging from the proposed cross river tunnel at Custom House. There is a DLR train on the left. Having fought long and hard to get the Abbey Wood branch routed through the Royal Docks it was galling that the Airport had to petition against the Crossrail Bill. According to a report to the April 2005 Consultative Committee this is because "the promoters of the scheme have not so far seen fit to enter into a proper dialogue with the Airport on some serious issues. Notices served by Crossrail on the Airport are based on Ordnance Survey plans which are out of date and do not reflect the reality of the built environment on the ground. In particular the plans do not recognise the existence and operation of the London City Airport Jet Centre, and as published, could seriously damage that facility." The report concludes "Whilst the Airport will continue in its efforts to seek appropriate consultation with the Crossrail promoters, the Airport feels it presently has little choice but to prepare in parallel with this process a legal petition of objection". At its meeting in April 2005 the Consultative Committee agreed to write to Crossrail expressing the Committee's concerns about the impact of the project on the Airport's Jet Centre.

The Crossrail Bill finally received the Royal Assent in July 2008 and the way is clear for the construction of the railway and the scheme was quickly confirmed by the new coalition Government elected in may 2010.

Construction of the new line is now under way. Much of the spoil from the new tunnels is being trans-shipped at Thames Wharf which means that ASD Metals will have to move until the Crossrail works have been completed.  They have put in a planning application for a temporary move to the south side of the King George V dock.

While Crossrail is at work in the area their community relations officer, Richard Storer, will be attending meetings of the airport's consultative committee to brief members on  the progress of the works, to answer questions and to deal with any problems.   His contact details are telephone: 020 3229 9240, Mobile: 07540 914 262, E-Mail:

More information

There is more information about the Crossrail project (and maps) on Crossrail's website.

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Thames Gateway River Crossings

The Thames Gateway River Crossings are part of a package of transport improvements in East London planned by Transport for London. The crossings are are of obvious importance to the Airport and those of its passengers travelling to and from points south of the River. The Crossings are detailed in the Mayor's London Transport Strategy as follows:

Woolwich Rail Crossing

This was conceived either as an extension of the North London Line or of the Docklands Light Railway (DLR).  The latter option was finally chosen. An order under the Transport and Works Act 1992 authorising a DLR tunnel link between North Woolwich and Woolwich Arsenal was submited to a pubic inquiry early in 2003 and on 26th February 2004 the Department for Transport announced its approval.

DLR later selected a concessionaire to design, build and maintain the extension and train services on the new line began on 10th January 2009.

For more information see our DLR page for more information

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Thames Gateway Bridge (TGB)

TGB Logo

The former Mayor of London and Transport, Ken Lingstone, for London (TfL) believed that this Bridge was a vital investment for the Thames Gateway. It would, he thought, support the on­going regeneration of the area, particularly in the neighbouring boroughs of Greenwich and Newham, and will improve accessibility to and within the Thames Gateway area, by:

* reducing journey times and significantly increasing the job and residential catchments within a convenient travelling time.

* encouraging increased investment in the area both in terms of businesses and housing. Forecasts indicate the Bridge will potentially create 24,800 more jobs and 57,000 additional residents.

The scheme would have provided a four-lane dual-carriageway road for general highway traffic between the A13/A406 junction at Beckton and the A206 in Thamesmead. The principal element of the scheme was the bridge across the River Thames which would have been built within the constraints of both shipping on the River Thames and aircraft movements to and from London City Airport. There would also be a number of other smaller bridges together with the approach viaducts to Thames Gateway Bridge.

TGB Project mapIn addition to the four lanes for general traffic there would have been two segregated lanes for public transport across the Thames Gateway Bridge (on the western side) and on sections of the approach roads to the north and south. These would have allowed for connections to existing and proposed public transport networks (particularly the Greenwich Waterfront Transit and the East London Transit Schemes).

At the northern end of the scheme the new road would have passed over the existing A406/A13/A1020 junction and connected to the A406 just to the north. Slip roads would have connected to the existing junction. A junction would have been provided at Winsor Terrace in Beckton to provide direct access to the Royal Docks. .

In January 2004 the bridge was offered financial backing by the Department of Transport.  The Department's Press Release said "the £450 million development and construction cost of the bridge would be met jointly through TfL, a toll on cars and commercial vehicles using the bridge and also by up to £200 million of Government PFI credits. The bridge would be constructed and operated by a private sector company in partnership with TfL, using a PFI structure." 

Artists impression of Thames Gateway Bridge

The tolls charged for the use of the bridge would be set at levels to "enable control of traffic using the Thames Gateway Bridge and to generate revenue to help pay for the scheme." The tolling strategy would be based on the following elements.

At its meeting on 24 March 2004, the TfL Board decided to apply for powers to build the bridge. On 22nd July 2004 an application for planning permission was submitted to the London Boroughs of Newham and Greenwich. 

Public Inquiry

At a meeting on 15th December Newham Council’s Development Control and Licensing Committee agreed they were “minded” to grant planning permission and referred the matter to the Mayor of London. The decision of the Planning Board of the London Borough of Greenwich, which met the previous evening, was similar.  However on 19th January 2005 the application was called-in by the Secretaries of State because they considered the applications "may conflict with national and regional policies on important matters" - see Secretary of State's letter [.pdf - 204kb]  The decision on the application became therefore a matter for the Government following a pubic inquiry which started on 7th June 2005 and closed on 3rd May 2006.

The report of the Inspector at the inquiry was submitted on 17th November 2006 but it was not until 25th July 2007 that the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government announced that the public inquiry into the proposed new road was to be re-opened. Many months passed and a date for the resumed inquiry was not announced.  [Decision Letter][Inquiry Report -.pdf 5.15mb][Statement by Mayor of London][TfL Statement]

However, in November 2008 the new mayor of London, Boris Johnson, announced that given the pressures on TfL funding and concerns over local traffic impacts, TfL would no longer be pursuing the proposed TGB project. "It has become clear to me" said the mayor, " that it is highly unlikely the scheme will truly be acceptable to all those affected and it is right that the £90m we are currently spending on it be re-directed". He went on: “I have asked Transport for London (TfL) to look again at alternative options for a much needed new east London river crossing, including a crossing at Silvertown that would be integrated with the Blackwall tunnel. This would be progressed as part of a wider study to assess, with the boroughs, London Development Agency and Greater London Authority, the long-term transport and land use needs of the London Thames Gateway".

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Silvertown Link

This would be a crossing, probably a tunnel, between North Greenwich and Silvertown landing at Thames Wharf. The aim is to ease traffic congestion around the Blackwall Tunnel.

Progress is slow. A note received from Transport for London in March 2007 says:

"We are awaiting a decision on the Thames Gateway Bridge (TGB), and although there is no time limit on the Secretary of State to make a decision following receipt of the Inspector's report on the  Bridge , we are hopeful that this decision will be made soon.

"Once the implications of the Secretary of State's decision have been established, and we have clarity on resourcing requirements arising from this, we will be in a position to consider how to progress planning work on Silvertown. Experiences and lessons learned from the TGB project will allow us to progress investigations into a Silvertown Link as efficiently as possible.

"The  Silvertown scheme has been included indicatively in the period 2017-2022 in the draft Further Alterations to the London Plan (see Mayor's website). Some initial work was carried out last year on identifying issues that would need to be addressed and the timing that might emerge from this. This confirmed that, so long as the necessary approvals and funding are secured, the scheme could be delivered in the early part of this period."

No more has been heard but when he abandoned the Thames Gateway Bridge in November the new Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said that he had "asked Transport for London (TfL) to look again at alternative options for a much needed new east London river crossing, including a crossing at Silvertown that would be integrated with the Blackwall tunnel. This would be progressed as part of a wider study to assess, with the boroughs, London Development Agency and Greater London Authority, the long-term transport and land use needs of the London Thames Gateway"

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Cable Car - the Emirates Airline

In July 2010 the Mayor of London announced that consultation was to start on a privately funded cable car link which would provide a low-emission, quick, direct and fully accessible link between Greenwich Peninsula and Royal Docks.

The new facility would provide a privately-funded, fully accessible cable car for pedestrians and cyclists which would cut tCanning Town Interchangeravel times between the O2 and ExCeL, two major Olympic and Paralympic venues. The cable car would cross the river at a height of over 50 metres, similar to that of the Dome offering spectacular aerial views of the Olympic Park. It would take around five minutes to travel between the O2 and ExCeL cutting current travel times. The cable car could provide a crossing every 30 seconds carrying up to 2,500 passengers per hour in each direction, equivalent to the capacity of 50 buses per hour.

At its meeting in October 2010 the Consultative Committee received a presentation of the cable car proposal by Transport for London (TfL).  On 8th March 2011 the London Borough of Newham's Strategic Development Committee (SDC) on Tuesday 8th March agreed a recommendation that following a NATS assessment the Committee should confirm its approval of planning permission given on 18th January 2011. The report considered by the Committee noted that the applications had been challenged on the grounds that the proposed cable car crossed the Airport's new Public Safety Zone and might also be affected by wake turbulence generated  by aircraft using the Airport.

Work to implement the project is now under way. The contractor is the Mace Group. On 10th January 2012 the Consultative Committee received a presentation by Rachel Jackson of the Mace Group and saw two videos about the project - see our Presentation Page for details.

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Airport Transport Forum

IN line with Government policy the Airport has established an Air Transport Forum (ATF). This includes representatives of the Airport, the local authorities, regional planning bodies, transport operators, infrastructure providers, businesses and other interested bodies For more detailed information on the work of the ATF visit the Airport Transport Forum Page.



Sign at Canning Town StationAirport Surface Access Strategy

THE Airport's first Surface Access Strategy was drawn up in 2000 and there was another in 2005. 

The first draft of a new ASAS was unveiled at the ATF meeting on 17 December 2013. It will now be harmonised with the City Airport Development Plan before it is finalised

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Travel Plan

FOR many years the Airport has pursued a policy framework for surface transport covering both passengers and those working at the Airport. The original aims of the policies, which are still valid today, are:

  • to reduce reliance on the car through the reduction in the length and number of motor journeys and in particular those undertaken in single occupancy vehicles.
  • to promote the use of alternative means of travel which are more suitable and environmentally acceptable.
  • to reduce emissions and encourage energy efficient vehicles within the company fleet.
  • encourage work practices which reduce the need to travel

In its July 2009 agreement with the local planning authority the Airport agreed by January 2010 to draw up new Staff and Passenger travel plans which once agreed would then be implemented within six months. The latest version of Travel Plan has been posted to this website.

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London TravelWatch

UNTIL March 2005 the Consultative Committee was represented on the London Airports Access Forum (LAAF) of the London Transport Users Committee (LTUC) - now known as London TravelWatch - which is the statutory watchdog protecting, promoting and speaking for the interests of the non-freight users of transport provided, procured or licensed by Transport for London. For more information on LTUC visit their website.

In February 2002 London TravelWatch published its report Reaching the Skies (.pdf 366k). This represents London TravelWatch's manifesto for surface access to airports. It covers general principles and aspirations that apply to all airports – in a way, a good practice guide but coming from the user perspective – as well as their specific aspirations for each airport, including London City.

On 18th June 2002 the LAAF held its meeting at London City Airport. Members travelled to the Airport by a variety of routes and part of the meeting was taken up with reports of their experiences. These were shared with the Airport who undertook to see how to the problems mentioned might be addressed - see the minutes of the meeting (.pdf 51k).

The LAAF met for the last time at London City Airport on 23rd March 2005. Members received a presentation by the Airport (.pdf - 1.6 mb) on its future dvelopment and on its new Surface Access Strategy.

Following a reorganisation within London TravelWatch, the Forum's functions will henceforward be the responsibility of their Strategy and Integration Sub­Committee which in recognition of the importance of airport access issues will follow LAAF practice and hold some of its meetings at airports.

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Maps and Charts


How to get to London City Airport by Road (1) - 67k
How to get to London City Airport by Road (2) - 51k
Public Transport Links - 125k
Map Showing DLR Developments
Docklands Highways -updated 2006 - 148k
Passengers - surface origin/destination - 8k
Passengers - Surface Access Modes 2000 and 2003 - 10k
Passengers - Suface Access Modes Autumn 2006 - .pdf.13k
Staff Travel to Work - 7k
Forecast Growth in Passengers - 4k

More Information

There is background information on the DLR, the Jubilee Line, the Docklands Highways and local transport issues in the LDDC's 1997 monograph "Starting from Scratch"

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An independent Consultative Committee established by London City Airport pursuant to Section 35 of the Civil Aviation Act 1982
John Adshead     Secretary: Stuart Innes

Page last modified: 18 December 2013