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Greener vessel at greener Woolwich pier

From l-r: Civil Engineer Nick Jordan, Technical Advisor (Air Quality) Grace Staines, Marine Manager Afloat Michael Russell, Marine Engineering Superintendent Jason Rudd, Air Quality Technical Officer Paul Bentley, City of London Corporation and Project Manager Sefinat Otaru, Cross River Partnership

A refurbished Port of London Authority (PLA) pier, near the Thames Barrier in south east London, is to be the base for a recently-upgraded, lower-emission vessel, used to keep the river free of debris.

To reduce her emissions of nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter, Driftwood II, operated by the PLA to remove floating hazards from the tidal river through London, Kent and Essex, has been fitted with selective catalytic reduction (SCR) technology.

She will be welcomed to Barrier Gardens Pier, Woolwich, on 30 November by PLA staff and others involved in her upgrade, along with the team who have worked to make the pier safer and more environmentally friendly.

Noise levels at the pier have also reduced as a result of the works.

The PLA’s programme to extend the Barrier Gardens Pier, started in 2020, involved the installation of new tanks, enabling the PLA fleet on the river, to refuel with emissions-reducing hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO).

Driftwoods II’s conversion was co-financed by Cross River Partnership (CRP) Clean Air Thames funding, supported by the Mayor’s Air Quality Fund and the City of London Corporation.

Students from University College London (UCL) monitored pollution levels from the vessel pre and post the technology’s installation.

Steven Clapperton, Director of Marine Operations at the PLA, said:

“Teams across the PLA have collaborated with a range of external partners to deliver this pair of projects, which are important steps towards achieving our Thames Vision 2050 goals of making the river environment cleaner and safer for all its users.

“Key to this is meeting our target of halving our carbon emissions by 2025, on our journey to achieving Net Zero by 2040.”

CRP Project Manager, Sefinat Otaru, said:

“Cross River Partnership was delighted to collaborate with the PLA, City of London, and the Greater London Authority on retrofitting Driftwood II.

“We were able to demonstrate that it’s possible to improve air quality along the Thames by retrofitting vessels to reduce noxious emissions.

“We hope the learnings from the project will be useful to other operators looking to make similar changes their vessels.”

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