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New greener berth at Barrier Gardens Pier in Woolwich

Access for larger vessels to onshore power points to boost air quality and reduce noise

Investment by the Port of London Authority (PLA) to improve and expand its pier at Barrier Gardens in Woolwich is underway (30 June).

The work, close to the iconic Thames Barrier, will improve environmental performance, reduce noise generation and enhance crew safety.

Due to be fully operational later this summer, the new berth will cost £685,000. It will enable larger vessels, such as PLA flagship, London Titan, to dock directly at the pier, making it quicker and safer for crews to get on and off at the start and end of their shifts.

The investment will also enable London Titan and other vessels to tap into onshore electrical charging facilities, rather than running diesel generators, as they have to on the current ‘mid-stream’ moorings.

The PLA’s fleet of over 40 vessels helps keep a wide range of craft safe on the river, the UK’s busiest inland waterway. Users range from fast ferries to cargo ships and from stand-up paddle boarders to barges carrying building materials.

The improvements require the insertion into the riverbed of two 38-metre long piles, manufactured in Cardiff. They were delivered to Woolwich by boat from Tilbury.

The first is due to be put in position on the river on Wednesday 1 July, with the other one expected to follow on Monday 6 July.

Peter Steen, the PLA’s director of marine operations, said: “This is another example of our efforts to promote safe, sustainable use of the river. It adds to the pier’s ability to welcome a wide array of other vessels.

“It also demonstrates our commitment to help support a green economic recovery, post COVID-19, by rolling out long-term investment projects, which also contribute towards meeting ambitious Net Zero carbon reduction targets on the river.”

Preparations by the PLA for the arrival of the piles have included a specialist survey of the riverbed to check for unexploded World War Two bombs.

To minimise potential noise disruption, the piling works will be limited to between 8am and 6pm.