London leads with first Air Quality Strategy for a UK port
The Port of London Authority (PLA) has broken new ground in the maritime sector, publishing the first draft Air Quality Strategy for a UK port.
The PLA has been developing 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 draft strategy, which has been published for consultation, 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.”
The draft strategy is available for consultation until 23 January 2018. The consultation document seeks views on 17 questions, covering all aspects of the draft strategy.
You can read the draft Air Quality Strategy here: https://www.pla.co.uk/assets/airqualitymaindoc051217.pdf
The consultation document on the strategy here: https://www.pla.co.uk/assets/aqsummary051217.pdf
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Notes to editors:
• The PLA works to ensure navigational safety along the tidal Thames, sharing its marine, environmental, planning and other expertise to promote use of the river and safeguard its unique marine environment.
• The tidal Thames is the UK’s busiest inland waterway and is home to the country’s second biggest port by tonnage of goods handled.
• The PLA conserves and enhances a range of diverse, thriving habitats for many different species of fish, birds, seals and other wildlife alongside the thriving commercial port and river activities.
• Within the PLA’s area of jurisdiction there are nine Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), many with further European environmental designations as Special Protection Areas (SPA) or Special Areas of Conservation (SAC), or international designation as RAMSAR sites.
Alistair Gale, Port of London Authority, Mob: 07711-440736