After more than three years relentless campaigning, we are delighted to report that the plans for London's cruise ship port at Enderby wharf have been shelved. Our campaign called for clean onshore power supplies to be incorporated as part of the plans in order to prevent ships idling their engines in port and pumping toxic fumes into the air.
Following disappointment in court and at the EU, which did not have the power to intervene, we launched a community-led campaign in March this year with the support of our local MPs, councillors and all local political parties. Bringing together resident groups from Greenwich and the Isle of Dogs, we continued to plead the case for a clean cruise port or none at all.
A real game changer in our campaign came after the local elections in May, when Greenwich Council's new leader backed residents' calls for a green terminal and publicly appealed for the site's owners, Morgan Stanley, to rethink their plans. Months of pressure from both residents and the council continued as well as extensive news coverage from the local press, BBC London and national titles including the Guardian and the Independent. News then trickled through on twitter on November 13th that the cruise port plans had been abandoned.
Campaigners were contacted by Morgan Stanley the following morning who called to confirm the cruise port would no longer be going ahead. We were also sent a copy of a letter from Morgan Stanley addressed to Greenwich Council which referred to campaigners and stated:
"The Council's position on the desirability of the cruise terminal has clearly changed, as has the position of the Mayor's office following concerns raised by the local community.
As the indirect owner of the site, we have taken this change into account, and listened to the comments expressed both by the Council and the broader community. As a result, we ae discussing revised plans and proposals for the Enderby site that would no longer include a cruise terminal at Enderby Wharf and will continue to explore options to meet the needs of the Council and the local community."
We can be sure that people and families living on both sides of the river in Greenwich and Tower Hamlets will be heaving a sigh of relief now that the prospect of a polluting cruise port and the associated health risks are no longer hanging over them.
We are delighted and much encouraged that action from the local community has resulted in a change in investment strategy from a global company such as Morgan Stanley. We sincerely thank them for listening to us and we hope that this is a sign that times are changing. This is not only good news for local residents, but for those groups fighting for cleaner air across London.
New plans for the site will be submitted in due course and according to Danny Thorpe's comments, it is hoped that more affordable homes will be included as well as provision for a riverside park. This is also welcome news and a golden opportunity for the next two sections of the riverside in East Greenwich, Enderby Wharf and Morden Wharf, to be considered together in terms of how they are developed.
A very heartfelt thank you to all of our supporters and campaigners, including everyone that signed our petition, helped with crowdfunding donations, supported us on social media and shouted so loud for the community that we could no longer be ignored. It just goes to show what the community can achieve when it comes together and is supported by groups and parties on all sides. Not to mention the local press who have played a massive part in helping us resuscitate our campaign earlier this year.
We still have work to do though. Our campaign has highlighted the lack of emissions controls on the Thames and we will carry on our work to tackle the cruise ships that already come every summer to the Port of London Authority's piers in West Greenwich and Tower Bridge.
We are also here to help any other cities across the UK with concerns over cruise ship facilities and to support other clean air groups in London.
A big thank you to everyone who supported our efforts
Jim Fitzpatrick, MP for Poplar and Limehouse
Matthew Pennycook, MP for Greenwich and Woolwich
Neil Parish, Conservative MP and Chair of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Danny Thorpe, Leader of Greenwich Council and Greenwich Council Staff and Officers
Denise Scott McDonald, Stephen Brain, and Chris Lloyd - Councillors for Greenwich Peninsular wards
Mehboob Kahn and Aidan Smith, Councillors for Greenwich West Ward
Caroline Pidgeon, AM OBE, Liberal Democrat
Sian Berry, AM Green Party
Caroline Russell, AM Green Party
Greenwich Green Party
Greenwich Labour Group
Greenwich Liberal Democrats
Women’s Equality Party
Greenwich Conservatives – especially Councillors Matt Hartley and Geoff Brighty
Avril Lekau and David Gardner - Greenwich Councillors
Seb Dance, Labour MEP
Andrew Boff AM London Assembly
Steve O’Connell, AM London Assembly
Chris Chapman, Councillor Blackwall & Cubitt Town
John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets
Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London and his air quality team
Zac Goldsmith MP
Matt Mellon, Ecohustler
Clean Air London
Mike Wellby, Enviro Technology Services
Tom Bull at News Shopper
Calum Fraser at The Mercury
Matt Clark at the Greenwich Visitor
Matthew Taylor at the Guardian
Mike Brooke at The East London Advertiser
Tom Edwards, BBC London
Greg McKenzie at BBC Radio London
Darryl at 853 and Murky Depths
Mandy Little, South London Press
Tom Heap at Costing the Earth
John Vidal at the Guardian
Gareth Furby, BBC London
Laura Cole, Geographical magazine
Josh Gabbatiss, The Indeoendent
Jessica Taylor, Mira Bar Hillel, Joe Murphy - Evening Standard
And from NoToxicPort inc. EGRA and local campaigners:
Jeremy Banx - who gave us so many wonderful cartoons
Ian and Louise Blore
Clare Burke McDonald
EGRA, Greenwich and Westcombe Societies
Our sincere apologies if we have missed anyone out in the long list of people who put so much time and effort into this campaign