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£500,000 boost for greener vessels on the tidal Thames

A £500,000 grant from the Mayor of London’s Air Quality Fund will drive work to reduce pollution from boats on the tidal Thames, to be supported by the Port of London Authority (PLA) and co-ordinated by the Cross River Partnership (CRP).

With the City of London Corporation as lead authority, as part of the Clean Air Thames project, the new funding will see up to a dozen commercial freight and passenger boats adapted to cut emissions, including particulates and nitrogen oxides.

Details of how operators can apply for modifications to enhance their fleet’s environmental performance are due to be announced at Greening Inland Shipping, a major conference and exhibition to be staged by the PLA at The Crystal in Royal Victoria Dock, London, on 10 September, coinciding with London International Shipping Week. Full details of how to attend or exhibit at the conference are available on the PLA website.

The event is one of the commitments made in the PLA’s Air Quality Strategy, published in May 2018, the first ever to be produced by a UK port.

Tanya Ferry, PLA environment manager, said: “Protecting the environment is integral to our 2035 Thames Vision work to maximise use of the river for trade and recreation. Practical initiatives like this, working with businesses active up and down the river, from Teddington to the North Sea, are central to achieving our ambitious goals for maximising its social and economic potential."

Susannah Wilks, CRP director, said: “Clean Air Thames will deliver tangible air quality improvements through the operation of cleaner vessels on the River Thames, which will benefit river users and riparian boroughs alike. Cross River Partnership is very much looking forward to working with the PLA, the City of London Corporation and partners on another project making London a nicer place to live, work and visit.”

Vessels using the tidal Thames currently account for an estimated one per cent of total emissions across the capital, but this figure is projected to rise as standards for road vehicles become stricter and use of the river expands.

The tidal Thames carries more passengers and freight than any other inland UK waterway. This led to 250,000 fewer lorry movements on London’s roads in 2016.


For further information please contact: Nick Tennant (07784 20807).

  • The PLA works to ensure navigational safety along the tidal Thames, stretching 95 miles from Teddington to the North Sea. It shares its marine, environmental, planning and other expertise to promote use of the river and safeguard its unique marine environment.
  • The CRP is a non-profit and impartial organisation that has been delivering positive change London’s residents, businesses and visitors for 25 years, aiming to improve the capital’s environment and economic health through community engagement and innovation.
  • The tidal Thames is one of the UK’s busiest waterways and is home to the country’s second biggest port by tonnage of goods handled.