Port of London floats Thames development ideas

Proposals to bring old wharves back into use, increase freight traffic by at least 25 per cent and create new residential moorings on the River Thames have been earmarked as emerging goals in a 20-year development framework from the Port of London Authority (PLA).

The River Thames (pic DncnH via Flickr)
The River Thames (pic DncnH via Flickr)

The body, which manages 95 miles of the tidal River Thames, from Teddington Lock in south west London to its estuary at the North Sea, said its "vision" document also aimed to double the number of tourist and commuter journeys on the Thames to 20 million a year by 2035. 

The scoping document, put out to consultation this week, identifies six core goals for the river’s development over the next two decades, and a more extensive list of actions for achieving them.

Boosting the amount of freight carried on the Thames from last year’s 44.5 million tonnes to "60-80 million tonnes" of cargo every year would require a package of measures, including four new river crossings east of east of Tower Bridge, according to the vision.

Also required would be the widening of the A13 and delivery of proposals to electrify London Overground’s Gospel Oak to Barking railway line.

The vision also calls for more freight to be moved between wharves on the Thames, for which protecting or reactivating safeguarded wharves would be a key action. Bringing Peruvian and Orchard wharves in east London, and Hurlingham Wharf in Fulham into operation over the next decade was identified as a minimum requirement.

A further goal of developing a riverside that is a "magnet for ramblers, historians, artists and others" identifies the development of new residential moorings in "appropriate locations", in combination with innovative riverbank-protection measures.

Doubling the number of tourist and commuter journeys on the river would require new passenger piers at Thamesmead, Erith, Greenhithe, Swanscombe, Grays and Tilbury according to the PLA. 

Also proposed are strategies to bring riverbank Sites of Special Scientific Significance up to "favourable" condition, the introduction of new "sport opportunity zones", and creating a completely joined up Thames Path from Teddington to the Thames Estuary.

PLA chief executive Robin Mortimer said feedback on the latest proposals would contribute to a full Thames Vision draft document expected to be published in the spring.

"A shared vision, reflected in public policies, will encourage entrepreneurial innovation and provide a stable environment for investment," he said.

"We want now to stimulate continued discussion as we develop the complete vision document for consultation in the spring of next year."

The framework’s latest phase of development is open to consultation until 15 February next year. Documents and response forms can be found here.

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