In 2018 the Port of London Authority (PLA) broke new ground in the maritime sector, publishing the first draft Air Quality Strategy for a UK port.
The PLA has developed the strategy in the light of projected growth in river use over the next twenty years and concerns about air quality in urban centres. The aim of the strategy, which covers the tidal Thames from Teddington Lock to Southend, is to reduce emissions to air from marine sources within the tidal River Thames, while facilitating the Port and London’s future growth. The move comes less than 12 months after the PLA made London the first UK port to offer a ‘green’ discount on charges for ships using cleaner technology.
PLA chief executive, Robin Mortimer explained:
“Air quality is an environmental priority in the UK and has been identified as being one of the top issues for ports in Europe. The aim with this strategy is clear: we want to reduce emissions to air from marine sources on the Thames. By achieving this we will also be able to meet the growing demand to use the river as an essential part of our transport network, whether it be passenger travel or moving freight.
“The Thames Vision sets out how use of the river will grow over the next twenty years. Our commitment in the Vision is that this growth will happen in tandem with an improving environment. We took an important first step towards this with the ‘green ships’ discount. The Air Quality Strategy is another important part of delivering on that commitment – cementing the river’s place as part of the low emission city of the future.”
The strategy features 19 proposals, which include exploring shore side power, trialling new emissions reducing technology with MBNA Thames Clippers and running an ‘Expo’ to share the emerging best practice with Thames operators. The main steps are captured in a Five Year Action Plan, running from 2018 to 2022, which also includes continued research and studies.
The strategy was shaped through a range of research and consultations with stakeholders conducted during 2017. The studies included developing the first Port Wide Emissions Inventory for the tidal Thames.
Robin Mortimer concluded:
“Our goal is to support a thriving port and a thriving environment. This is something that can’t be done by us alone, and we’ve had great support from stakeholders and partners including MBNA Thames Clippers, Cory Riverside Energy and Thames Shipping in gathering data and developing the strategy. Now we really need as many people as possible to get involved, to read the strategy and tell us what they think.”
You can read the Air Quality Strategy here: