Rotherhithe Tunnel Restrictions December Update

From 2 December, drivers of prohibited vehicles could now receive a fine for each journey made through Rotherhithe Tunnel. This is due to a number of restrictions in place to help ensure the safety of people in the tunnel.

Vehicles more than two metres (6’6″) wide, two metres high or goods vehicles that weigh more than two tonnes (maximum gross weight) are not permitted. This is to ensure safety and reduce risk of collisions.

Cameras have been in place since early February 2019 to enforce these restrictions 24/7, but fines have been limited to one per offending vehicle per day. Since then, there have been a number of repeat offences by prohibited vehicles. The changes coming into place mean that drivers of these vehicles could receive a fine for each journey made through the tunnel.

Drivers restricted from using the tunnel should use Tower Bridge or Blackwall Tunnel, both of which are outside of the Congestion Charge and ULEZ zones.


A sign warning vehicles on the approach to the Rotherhithe roundabout (2019)

Alternative crossings

Drivers of vehicles that do not meet these restrictions should use Tower Bridge or the Blackwall Tunnel, both of which are outside the Congestion Charging zone and the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ).

When Tower Bridge is closed for overnight maintenance, Southwark Bridge can be used. Currently, the Congestion Charge does not apply during the hours that Tower Bridge is closed overnight. The ULEZ operates from midnight to midnight, 7 days a week, every day of the year, including weekends and public holidays.

Weight restriction

Goods vehicles can’t use Rotherhithe Tunnel if they have a gross vehicle weight of more than 2 tonnes.

Gross vehicle weight is the maximum weight that the vehicle is legally permitted to be loaded to. It is also called the Maximum Authorised Mass (MAM) or permissible maximum weight.

To find your vehicle’s GVW you can check:

  • The revenue weight listed on the vehicle’s log book (V5C)
  • On the plate or sticker fitted to the vehicle
  • With the vehicle’s manufacturer

If you’ve received a penalty

Customers that receive a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) can, if they want, challenge it (also known as ‘making a representation’) on the Challenge a Penalty Charge notice page.

Actions taken by TFL

In September 2018 Transport for London did a detailed analysis of the ventilation system which would extract smoke and other dangerous fumes from the tunnel in case of a fire.

This analysis shows that repair work needs to be carried out urgently.

TFL are now introducing fines for drivers who do not comply with the restrictions. Signs clearly warning of the restrictions have been installed

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