Greenwich cruise liner terminal: City Hall sides with council despite pollution fears

The new proposals for a cruise liner terminal at Enderby Wharf
The planned new London City Cruise Port is expected to be up and running by 2017 and will feature a 31-storey tower block

Mayor Boris Johnson’s deputy has backed Greenwich Council’s decision to allow a cruise liner terminal to be built at Enderby Wharf, east Greenwich, despite residents’ fears that it will increase air pollution in the area.

The Conservative administration at City Hall sided with the Labour council on last month’s go-ahead for the scheme, even though locals are demanding the terminal is fitted with on-shore power generation to save the area from being exposed to emissions from the dirty fuel that cruise ships usually use.

A version of the scheme was originally approved in 2011, but new plans put forward this year propose ships staying longer at the site, using their own fuel, rather than shore-side power as recommended by the European Union.

Despite councillors hearing last month that the scheme will actually only create 88 jobs, a City Hall press release persists with the original claim that the scheme will lead to 500 jobs.

Deputy mayor Edward Lister – a former leader of Wandsworth Council – took the decision, saying: “We have worked with the local authority and the developer to ensure the new terminal and surrounding infrastructure will meet the needs of thousands of tourists coming to the city each year.

“It will provide a major boost to tourism, benefit the local economy and further contribute to London’s status as a world leading city.”

City Hall said it relied on an separate independent assessment to the one revealed to Greenwich councillors just days before last month’s planning meeting.

“While it recognised there could be some moderate adverse impact on occasion, it also acknowledged the height, speed and heat of ship emissions disperse more efficiently in comparison to motor vehicles,” it said.

“Recognising the levels of background pollution already experienced in the borough, £400,000 has been secured towards ongoing environmental monitoring or improving air quality through the Royal Borough of Greenwich’s Air Quality Action Plan.”

For Greenwich Council, regeneration cabinet member Danny Thorpe said: “This landmark cruise liner development will bring many thousands more visitors to the borough, and provide a major boost to tourism.

“The council is committed to improving air quality in the borough, and recognises that this was an area of concern for local residents. I hope that it will be reassuring for residents to learn that the Mayor has submitted our measures to independent scrutiny and found them to be satisfactory.”

Residents in the area already complain of feeling under siege by politicians and developers, and many may find hearing a Labour councillor endorse Boris Johnson’s administration on air pollution – not the Conservative mayor’s strongest point – represents a new smack in the face.

Last week, the East Greenwich Residents Association called on council leader Denise Hyland to step down from its main planning committee after it emerged she was the only one of London’s 28 council leaders to take a direct role in deciding whether new developments should go ahead.

Hyland’s comments during the meeting were also leaked to Private Eye magazine, leading to the council’s first appearance in the satirical publication for many years.

6 comments

  1. How sad that amongst the concerns about air pollution, the fundamental point that the developer has u-turned on their original plans and Royal Garbage has done nothing to dissuade them or even attempt to make it half-sensible as an overall development.

    I’ve not seen a single word reported about the Travel Plan submitted with the application. A woeful, laughable document that was actually a plan-for-a-plan, to be created after the development is done. Er?

    I’m less worried about choking on ship exhaust fumes and more about the hundreds of vehicles that’ll on and offload goods and people at each changeover. Where they will all park is anyone’s guess.

  2. They’ll “park” on Trafalgar Road/Blackwall tunnel like everyone else I imagine. Eventually someone will bring in levies around the Pollution control for central London, Greenwich will roll it out and just rake in the cash rather than improve the quality of life for it’s residents. There are 4-5 primary schools and a brand new secondary opening within a square mile of this “regeneration”.

    God it’s depressing to see such a lack of utter foresight in the people we elected to represent us.

  3. Those points were certainly made by objectors, including myself, at the planning board meeting where the revised scheme was approved. The developers note in their application that there is a bus stop immediately outside the terminal. I got a large round of applause when I pointed out that no one turns up for a cruise holiday on the 188 bus. They ignored us, of course. In replying to our verbal submissions, Cllr Danny Thorpe read a speech that he had clearly prepared before the meeting, before any of us had spoken.

  4. Well I for one am astounded that a Tory city hall agrees with a Labour adminstration in Greenwich that time and again have been shown to put the interests of developers/business above the interests of residents – two cheeks of the same backside…

  5. I’ve just been looking at the sketch which Darryl has put at the top this post.

    The ship is pointing north (despite the angle shown). The prevailing wind at this piece of river? Generally west. Look where the smoke that comes out of the funnels will go. Right onto those flats/play areas/parks. Are the pollutants going to conveniently rise to above the height of the flats (one a 31 storey block) and then disperse?

    “£400,000 has been secured towards ongoing environmental monitoring or improving air quality through the Royal Borough of Greenwich’s Air Quality Action Plan.” That is a joke right? Allow the equivalent of 50 lorry engines running at idle into the middle of a borough and boast about an Air Quality Action Plan?? Something doesn’t compute!

  6. So, that’s all they care about then – meeting the needs of tourists. Sod the residents – that just about sums it all up for me.

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