Rotherhithe Tunnel restrictions: don't get hit with a £130 penalty

Rotherhithe Tunnel restrictions: don't get hit with a £130 penalty

05 October 2021 | Kate Kozlowska | 3 min read

The Rotherhithe Tunnel is a road tunnel in East London that connects Limehouse in Tower Hamlets to Rotherhithe in Southwark, running beneath the River Thames. The Rotherhithe Tunnel was constructed in 1908 and was not designed to handle the volume of today's traffic. In order to maintain the safety of the users, Transport for London (TfL) implemented some restrictions on which vehicles can use the tunnel.

Which vehicles are not allowed to travel through the Rotherhithe Tunnel?

A vehicle that is more than 2 metres (6'6") high or wider than 2 metres (6'6") cannot travel through the Rotherhithe Tunnel. 

Goods vehicles with a gross vehicle weight of more than 2 tonnes cannot use Rotherhithe Tunnel either.

The gross vehicle weight (GVW) refers to the maximum weight to which a commercial vehicle can legally be loaded. It is also known as the Maximum Authorised Mass (MAM) or permissible maximum weight.

You can find your vehicle's GVW by checking:

  • the revenue weight in the logbook (V5C)
  • on a sticker or plate attached to the vehicle
  • information from the manufacturer

Rotherhithe Tunnel penalty

Failure to comply with Rotherhithe Tunnel vehicle restrictions could result in a fine of up to £130. TfL has been imposing the penalty since February 2019, and at that time fines were limited to one per day. Due to the high number of repeat offences, this limit has been lifted on 2 December 2019 and fines are no longer capped. Every time a prohibited vehicle travels through the Rotherhithe Tunnel, the driver could be fined. 

Is there an alternate crossing if my vehicle doesn't meet Rotherhithe Tunnel restrictions? 

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

During overnight maintenance at Tower Bridge, traffic can use Southwark Bridge instead. Congestion Charges are currently not in effect when Tower Bridge is closed overnight. ULEZ operates every day of the year from midnight to midnight, including public holidays and weekends.

What should I do if I receive a Rotherhithe Tunnel penalty?

Whenever a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) is received, drivers can, if they choose, challenge (or represent in other words) the penalty.

To make a representation or pay the penalty online, you will need to provide:

  • your PCN number
  • your Vehicle Registration Mark
  • reasons why you think you should not have been issued with a PCN if challenging it

Challenge a PCNPay a PCN


We hope this Rotherhithe Tunnels information will help you avoid fines.

Please don't hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or if you're looking to lease a vehicle.


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