14 July 2015
I am writing to you as Chair of Tower Hamlets Green Party. We represent a Borough which is not under your remit. However, it is clear that the proposed development, and indeed a significantly enlarged development, of a cruise ferry terminal at Enderby Wharf on the Greenwich side of the Thames is going to have significant negative impacts on Tower Hamlets residents, particularly those residents living on the Isle of Dogs. Tower Hamlets Green Party counts over 600 members and an even larger number of supporters. Our concerns are shared by a great many more residents in our Borough.
The most immediate of these is the impact on local and London-wide air pollution. London is already in serious breach of European air pollution regulations. Nearly 5000 people die in London every year due to the effects of air pollution in the capital according to the GLA and Tower Hamlets residents are particularly affected.
The proposed development is likely to significantly increase local air pollution which will have extremely negative effects on our residents, particularly the young, old and those in poor health. Ships of the size proposed, accommodating up to 3000 people, could pump out as much air pollution during a single visit to port as 1,000 cars and trucks would emit driving in an entire year. On-ship power is far less regulated than on-shore and there will be little local accountability. The proposed ships also use much dirtier fuel which emits high levels of nitrogen oxide, sulphur oxide, carbon dioxide and diesel particulate matter, the microscopic soot that is so damaging to human health.
There are some potential solutions which will mitigate some of these effects, the most obvious being provision for on-shore power. This could be effectively generated by introducing local renewable energy infrastructure, potentially harnessing tidal power locally from the Thames. However, without any significant efforts towards this, the cruise ferry terminal will pose a huge threat to the health of residents on both sides of the river.
Whilst there are legitimate concerns from Greenwich residents of the increased traffic around the site, on the Tower Hamlets side we are likely to see large pressures placed on the DLR. The DLR is already stretched, and continued development on the Isle of Dogs is going to exacerbate this. The arrival of flocks of thousands of tourists looking to access central London is may make matters far worse. There is simply nothing in the plans which will deal with this problem, and local residents and commuters are likely to be placed in an increasingly uncomfortable position.
Privacy and noise
There are further concerns from Tower Hamlets residents on the Isle of Dogs nearer the river side on privacy and noise grounds. This development has the potential to seriously affect quality of life. Ships of this size have not been seen regularly on the river before, let alone in port for a number of days. With thousands of people on board, and with ships towering over the shores, river-side residents will be particularly vulnerable. Similarly, such large ships are likely to create a lot of noise and are likely to come close to the Tower Hamlets side of the river as they straddle the Thames. This will also negatively impinge on Tower Hamlets residents.
There are potential solutions that would reduce some of the above impacts, but we fail to see the viability of this project in its current guise, particularly due to its potential impact on air pollution. We intend to work with local residents in Tower Hamlets, as well as our colleagues and others in Greenwich, to raise these concerns and push to withdraw or significantly change the current proposal. We shall also be taking these concerns to Tower Hamlets Borough Council in order for them to raise residents' concerns with Greenwich Council.
We hope you will take heed of these concerns, and that residents in Tower Hamlets are given much greater recognition in your plans and consultations. We are very happy to meet to discuss our concerns in more detail.
Tower Hamlets Green Party
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