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Thames Environment Fund launched

The Port of London Authority (PLA) has launched an Environment Fund to support community projects that will help improve the environment, in line with the goals of the river development framework, the Thames Vision.

Chief executive of the PLA, Robin Mortimer revealed the community-facing initiative at a Thames habitats webinar on Thursday, 18 March. The Environment Fund is the latest in a series of PLA climate- and ecology-related announcements in the first months of 2021. These include the launch of a Sustainable Innovation Fund to help develop and test new technology and setting up the Thames’ first tidal energy trial site.

The PLA is looking to assist projects that achieve specific objectives around Invasive Non-Native Species (INNS) and litter. Small scale projects costing no more than £5,000 each, and that can be completed by December 2021, will be eligible to bid for support.

Robin Mortimer explained:

“Lockdown saw more people than ever discover the Thames and its banks as a fantastic space to relax and exercise. Now, with the Environment Fund, we’re set to help local people nurture these precious spaces even more closely. A mix of projects which tackle the ever-present menace of litter and the less visible, but no less troubling Invasive Non-Native Species, will make a genuine difference to the health of the river.”

Details of the bidding process are on the PLA website. Charities, NGO’s, universities and academia; and other not for profit organisations are able to propose schemes that meet one of the seven objectives. including eradicating an INNS in an area of the tidal Thames; and designing/trialling a new innovative method of macro and micro litter removal from the foreshore and water of the tidal Thames. The deadline for applications is 5.00 pm on Friday 28 May 2021.

The full list of objectives for the Fund is:

Invasive Non-Native Species (INNS)

Eradication of an INNS in an area of the tidal Thames
Trial of a new method for the management or eradication of an INNS on the tidal Thames
Relevant research into the life cycle, ecosystem interactions or spread of INNS on the tidal Thames with the aim of better informing eradication of the species in the tidal Thames.


Design and/or trial of a new innovative method of macro and micro litter removal from the foreshore and water of the tidal Thames
Research into the pathways of litter and pollution entering the Thames; including ways of managing these pathways
An educational programme relating to litter and its impacts on the environment.
A public awareness campaign to drive a long-lasting reduction in the amount of litter entering the tidal Thames
The Environment Fund is part of the PLA’s work to deliver the Thames Vision 2035, which aims to secure greater use of the Thames and see the river between Teddington Lock and the North Sea become the cleanest and most diverse since the Industrial Revolution.

The Fund is part of wider work aimed at habitat and amenity improvement. Last week the PLA announced a programme to restore an intertidal area Site of Special Scientific Interest at West Thurrock and has also supporting RSPB on the banks of the Thames in Essex and Kent.

The PLA is active in collecting litter from the river, supports Thames21’s volunteer foreshore clean ups and last year launched a website, Cleaning the Thames to help local people work together on local clean ups and record what they recover. The PLA’s driftwood service annually collects over 200 tonnes of litter from the river, including plastics. In 2019 the team recovered 70 Trolleys from one spot on the river. The PLA is working with DP World London gateway on an expansion of the driftwood service to the lower Thames.

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