Greenwich cruise terminal campaigners take heart from European ruling

London City Cruise Port
The cruise terminal was first approved in 2011, then again in 2015

Campaigners who want to cut pollution from the proposed Greenwich cruise liner terminal say they have been given a boost by a ruling from the European Commission.

The East Greenwich Residents Association objects to the London City Cruise Port, at Enderby Wharf, not having facilities to power ships while they are staying at the terminal.

This means ships will need to use their own generators while moored at the port, which residents on both sides of the Thames will hugely increase air pollution in the area.

Greenwich Council first gave permission for the terminal in 2011, before the dangers of air pollution from ships was widely understood. But it gave permission for a revised scheme in 2015, allowing ships to stay for longer.

EGRA has continued to pursue the issue, and last summer presented a petition to the European Parliament objecting to the scheme, saying the environmental assessments had not followed EU law. This went to the European Commission, the 28-member body which implements EU law.

London City Cruise Port
Campaigners are hoping to discuss the issue with Michael Gove

The commission said that while an overall environmental assessment was not a requirement under EU law, countries that gave permission to schemes that would breach EU air quality rules should take compensating measures to ensure they stay within the law.

It said: “If the Member State grants permission to a project that would increase pollution beyond the limit values for ambient air quality, it would logically have to take compensating measures to ensure compliance with the limit values.”

Even if Britain leaves the European Union, Brexit Secretary David Davis has said that environmental protections enshrined in EU laws would still apply, although Parliament could change them later.

EGRA members feel that the Commission’s ruling will help the case for a cruise liner terminal with shoreside power supply, as seen in New York and Amsterdam, and are now hoping to secure a meeting with Environment Secretary Michael Gove.

Local MP Matt Pennycook is also continuing to campaign for shoreside power at the cruise terminal.

EGRA’s Ian Blore said: “No cruise liner will happily dock in Greenwich unless shoreside power is installed. The community will see to that.”

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