The Port of London Authority (PLA) has innovated in the UK maritime sector, as it published the first draft Air Quality Strategy for a UK port. The draft aims to enhance the growth in river use over the next twenty years and air quality in urban centres.
Specifically, the strategy covers the tidal Thames from Teddington Lock to Southend, and wants to reduce emissions to air from marine sources within the tidal River Thames, while facilitating the Port and London’s future growth.
Prior to this move, PLA made London the first UK port to offer a ‘green’ discount on charges for ships using cleaner technology.
PLA chief executive, Robin Mortimer noted: “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.”
Continuing, he said that the Thames Vision aims to develop the use of the river over the next twenty years, as well as improve the environment. The Air Quality Strategy is part of this commitment.
The draft strategy is now published for consultation and features 19 proposals, including exploration of 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 described in a Five Year Action Plan, running from 2018 to 2022, which also includes continued research and studies.
The strategy was formed through various research and consultations with stakeholders conducted during 2017. The studies included developing the first Port Wide Emissions Inventory for the tidal Thames.
“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,” Robin Mortimer concluded.