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Life-threatening emergencies on the river:
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Richmond Lock & Weir Sky water

Climate change

We aim to tackle the causes and effects of climate change head-on, both through our own plans and by working with others on the river

A Net Zero plan for the river

In 2023, we convened the Thames Net Zero Coalition, to bring together river operators and share challenges and opportunities. The resulting Net Zero River Plan focuses on river-based emissions, primarily from vessel movements, and identifies four priority themes to accelerate the move to Net Zero: alternative fuels and infrastructure adoption, clear regulation and legislation, funding, and robust data.

While the PLA is not directly responsible for vessel emissions of other operators, we know this is a crucial first step to wider emissions reductions and gaining a competitive advantage for river operators.

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Net Zero River Plan Graphic

Our commitment

We are committed to achieving Net Zero emissions in our own operations, and across our value chain, by 2040.

That means prioritising our work on reducing emissions from our vessel fleet and keeping a close eye on our building energy consumption. We are also working closely with suppliers on reducing emissions, as our biggest source of Scope 3 emissions are purchased goods and services. 

We also track and measure river-based emissions from vessel operators in our port jurisdiction. Using our Maritime Emissions Portal, we can spot hotspots of emissions and work with vessel operators or terminals to reduce them.   

Our progress

We set our original baseline in 2014 and halved our Scope 1&2 emissions by 2022. This was achieved through purchasing renewable energy for our buildings and transitioning to HVO in our vessel fleet. We have also invested in solar energy at many of our sites including installing a 170kWh solar array on our Denton operational site in 2023.

In 2023 we set a new baseline year, to bring in line changes to our reporting methodology. We’ve expanded our reporting to cover all our material Scope 3 emissions. While this means our carbon footprint has gone up on paper, we know that it will allow us to focus our efforts on reducing our Scope 3 impact over the next 5 years. 

 We have installed solar panels on our facilities, including Marine House at Denton Wharf.

We have installed solar panels on our facilities, including Marine House at Denton Wharf.

Preparing for a changing climate

Ports, and port cities, keenly feel the impacts of climate change and London is no exception. In the future, we can expect more extreme weather events that will affect the Thames and all those who live, work and use it. Since 2011 we have conducted climate adaptation risk assessments for our operations. These risk assessments have resulted in concrete measures being put into place to keep people safe. For example, in 2013 we implemented our ebb tide flag warning system which gives up to date advice on fluvial flow conditions in the upper river to river users.

We are also working closely with the Environment Agency’s TE2100 team to secure future improvements to London’s flood defences.    

nature reserve plants water reeds cranes

Thames Vision 2050

Natural Thames

Our 2050 Vision is of a clean river, free of sewage, waste and other pollution, supporting greater biodiversity.

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