Seal and bird fears prompt calls for O2 hotel Thames Clippers pier rethink

Ordnance Jetty
Developers want to convert this jetty at Ordnance Wharf into a pier for river buses and hotel visitors

Fears have been raised that a new Thames Clippers pier could disrupt wildlife on the Greenwich Peninsula – including seals that have been spotted on sandbanks by the O2.

The firm that runs the Hotel Intercontinental at the O2 has applied for planning permission to convert a disused jetty at Ordnance Wharf into a restaurant and pier for river buses and hotel visitors.

But local residents are demanding a full environmental impact assessment is carried out first, as rare birds – such as Caspian gulls – are said to use the old jetty, which was grassed over at the turn of the millennium, as a nesting site.

Furthermore, it is also feared that the works required to build the jetty would also disrupt other wildlife in the area. Seals are occasionally spotted on a sandbank at the tip of the peninsula.

Seal on Greenwich Peninsula
A photo of a seal on the Peninsula sandbanks has been used by Greenwich Council’s tourism company

Indeed, Greenwich Council’s own tourism agency, Visit Greenwich, has used a photo of a seal on the sandbank to promote river travel in the area.

853 understands one residents’ group in the area is preparing a submission calling on the council to demand the developers conduct a full environmental impact assessment before a decision is made on the pier.

The residents are being backed by Green Party election candidate Matt Browne. He says: “A new pedestrian ferry link and restaurant on Peninsula could be great news – but not at the expense of local wildlife. Whilst the EIA process will cost the applicants a little more time and money, it will be worth it to help ensure that the ferry and restaurant get delivered without harming the fragile Thames shore eco-system.

“It’s a win win scenario and Greenwich Council can make it happen. We are calling on the Council to insist on an EIA for the application – we can’t keep ignoring the wildlife that shares Greenwich with us, and helps make it such a wonderful place to live.”

  • To see and comment on the application, visit Greenwich Council’s planning search and enter reference 17/2842/F. Comments need to be in by 28 February.
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