Mayor of London steps into row over cruise-liner diesel pollution at proposed Enderby Wharf terminal
PUBLISHED: 17:21 04 June 2018 | UPDATED: 16:38 05 June 2018
High level talks have been going on at City Hall today over controversial plans for a cruise-liner terminal on the Thames close to the Isle of Dogs which is feared would cause severe air pollution both sides of the river.
The newly-elected leader of Greenwich Council has been called to a meeting with the Mayor of London to try and overturn a planning decision in 2015 for the Enderby Wharf terminal where cruise liners would have to run diesel engines because there was no shore-to-ship electricity in the scheme.
One ship could emit the same pollution as 600 lorries, the London Assembly has heard.
The proposed terminal on the Greenwich Peninsular has led to a “no toxic port” campaign that has now been boosted both sides of the Thames with a 7,000-name petition by Isle of Dogs families at Cumberland Mills Square, in Cubitt Town.
A government minister was accused by Poplar & Limehouse MP Jim Fitzpatrick of “abdicating responsibility” by passing the buck for insisting Greenwich council was responsible.
“The problem was no legislation covering shipping at berth which allowed a terminal without emissions control,” he told the East London Advertiser today.
“We hope the new council will revisit this. There are now ‘wobbles’ in the planning application, so there’s no guarantee it will go ahead.”
He was scathing in a heated debate 18 months ago accusing air quality minister Theresa Coffey of allowing the terminal to go ahead without clean electricity supplies to the cruise liners.
“To say that Greenwich made the decision is an absolute abdication of your responsibility,” he told the minister at the Commons Environment committee.
“It’s an insult to London and to the tens-of-thousands of people dying because of bad air.
“This should not be a local council decision because it hits areas both sides of the river and the whole of London. There is a gap in legislation because there is no ‘London’ power—even the mayor cannot deal with it.”
Theresa Coffey rejected the accusation and maintained “Greenwich gave permission, having looked at that environment assessment”. She insisted: “The Mayor of London chose not to call it in.”
But the council had no legal grounds to refuse a terminal just for not having shore-to-ship power supply, MPs heard, while the Mayor had no legitimate grounds to over-rule the decision anyway.
Campaigners were not against a cruise-ship terminal bringing tourists to London and business and investment to the area—but it needed to be environmentally safe.
The fear by ‘No Toxic Port’ campaigners was ships berthing up to 155 days a year billowing diesel fumes across the Thames—like lorries on the roads with engines idling.
But now there appears a shift in attitude after the mayor told the London Assembly last week that he hoped Greenwich would “do the right thing”.