This week saw a major step forward in our campaign for a clean cruise port. The newly elected leader of Greenwich Council, Danny Thorpe, has backed a “green" cruise terminal and made the call to get developers back round the table. He made his comments to the News Shopper in his first week of business as leader whilst visiting different projects in the borough.
Having previously backed the scheme when revised plans came before the Council in 2015, Cllr Thorpe now acknowledges the heightened public awareness and concern over air quality issues. He said that developers had been “quiet” on the issue and that it was up was to them to engage with peoples’ concerns over the pollution threat from the terminal. He said he would continue to press them.
The shift in the Council’s formal position comes one week after Assembly Member Caroline Pidgeon challenged the Mayor on why there was no reference to Enderby Wharf in his environment strategy.
The Mayor took a strong line saying that he still has concerns over the cruise terminal. He added that whilst it was essentially a matter for the local council and the PLA, he would be using City Hall’s influence to get the relevant parties to do the right thing. Sadiq Khan also stated that he would be seeking to meet the new leader of the Greenwich Council shortly.
Dan Hayes, Chair of East Greenwich Residents' Association said:
"This is a great week for the campaign to clean up the proposed cruise liner terminal. EGRA welcomes the public acknowledgement by both the new Greenwich council leader and the Mayor for London that the scheme in its current form is not acceptable. Residents have campaigned for the last several years to see this public acknowledgment from the local council and have asked the GLA to do more to help broker a solution to the problem. Recent efforts by the No Toxic Cruise Port campaign have brought about an important change in attitude from these two important stakeholders. We look forward to further progress towards a clean cruise terminal."
Cllr Thorpe in his interview also highlighted issues over the Thames and the cruise industry as a whole, not just Enderby Wharf. Currently, cruise ships are able to dock and run their engines at Port of London Authority piers at Deptford Creek and Tower Bridge. A total of 34 cruise ships are due to arrive in London over the summer.
Whilst there is no direct reference to Enderby Wharf in the Mayor’s environment strategy, he does ask for increased powers on regulating river emissions on the Thames. Responsibility for Thames' emissions lies with the International Maritime Organisation and not with the Mayor or the Government.
We support the Mayor's bid to have powers to control emissions on the river to ensure consistency in the approach to tackle and reduce London's pollution. We are calling for the creation of a low emission zone for the Thames. All cruise ships coming to London need to plug in, not just those coming to Enderby Wharf.
We have raised this issue with the Government, the Mayor and the Port of London Authority and will keep up the pressure. As yet, the Government has failed to acknowledge or deal with the issue of Thames emissions as part of their own environmental policy.
In the meantime, we look forward to the outcome of the meeting with the Mayor and the Council. We hope this marks a new chapter in the saga of the cruise terminal which starts to put the community's health at the top of the agenda.
We would like to thank all our supporters and acknowledge the important role the local press has played in keeping this issue in the limelight.
We still need to keep the pressure up though, so if you haven't signed the petition already, here's the link