The following post is an extract from the Greenwich Society's June Newsletter. Our thanks to Greenwich Society for supporting the No Toxic Cruise Port campaign.
Across the Royal Borough hustings meetings in the run up to the May 3rd local elections were dominated by one subject: the cruise liner terminal. Local campaigners in East Greenwich successfully relaunched their opposition under the banner No Toxic Cruise Port with a protest meeting on the river path beside the O2 and a social media onslaught including a petition which had attracted more than 6,000 signatures.
The protest is not against cruise ships mooring at Greenwich, but against the pollution created by diesel engines running constantly in the absence of a shore based electrical supply with exhaust fumes equivalent to more than 600 idling lorries. The Council gave planning consent in 2015 for the enlarged terminal without requiring an onshore supply despite local concerns about air quality. In 2016, in the High Court, an application for judicial review, which the Greenwich Society supported with a financial contribution and which the Council contested, failed to get the planning decision overturned.
But in recent weeks, with concern about air quality in Greenwich unabated, campaigners have succeeded in getting the issue to the top of the local political agenda. MP Matthew Pennycook had already made his opposition crystal clear but at hustings across the Royal Borough candidates of all parties, including those from the Labour Party, undertook to oppose the cruise port unless a clean solution is found.
So what happens next? When planning consent was granted, the cruise port was said to be unlikely to cover its costs and to need subsidy from the adjacent tower blocks of flats. But with the site recently put up for sale by owners Morgan Stanley and with no evident rush of buyers, the project seems to have ground to a halt. Perhaps the incoming Royal Borough of Greenwich Council administration can find a way out of the impasse. An onshore power supply is the obvious answer.
Meanwhile congratulations to the campaigners who have proved that people power is alive and well in Greenwich.
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