London’s Deputy Mayor for Transport, Val Shawcross CBE has welcomed the launch of the Thames Vision, a framework for developing greater use of the Thames over the next twenty years.
The Thames is already the UK’s busiest waterway for passengers and freight, home to the UK’s second biggest port and a hub for tourism, recreation and sport. Developed by the Port of London Authority (PLA) and river stakeholders over the last 18 months, the Vision sets out six goals for increased river use. They include the busiest ever Port of London, more goods being moved by river, double the number of passenger trips and greater participation in sport and recreation.
Speaking at the launch, London’s new Deputy Mayor for Transport, Val Shawcross, said:
“This blueprint for the future of the Thames can make an important contribution to the Mayor’s aim of encouraging greater use of the river for the transport of passengers and freight. There has been a significant increase in river passengers but we will be looking at what else can be done to increase those numbers. We want everyone with a stake in the Thames to come together and help guarantee the success of this vital waterway.”
Joining the 200 guests at the launch were 23-year-old MBNA Thames Clippers master, Joy McGlinchey and Cory Environmental apprentice lighterman, Shane Pink, aged 20. Joy started work with MBNA Thames Clippers five years ago and last year gained her Boatmasters Licence; Shane has worked on the Thames for the last two years.
“More river use will mean more skilled jobs for young people. It’s great to see Joy and Shane here today,” added Val Shawcross. “This Vision is about them as an integral part of London’s future.”
Achieving the targets in the Vision will demand partnership working between the organisations who have helped develop the Vision including the Port of Tilbury, DP World London Gateway, the Greater London Authority, MBNA Thames Clippers, City Cruises, Livett’s Group, the RPSB, British Rowing and many more.
PLA chairman, Christopher Rodrigues said:
“I’m delighted that we have such a large group here to officially launch the Vision. It underlines the importance that we have placed throughout on involving river users and other stakeholders in the development of the Vision. The Vision draws together all our collective ambitions for the Thames. Your support and commitment to taking forward the actions identified will be critical to the Vision’s success.
“Work on the actions is already well underway and I’m excited to see the progress we can make between now and next Spring when we have our first report back of progress.”
Actions already underway include: recruitment of additional PLA pilots to meet growing customer demand; the Thames Skills Academy taking on its first group of students; work on Thames Tideway Tunnel starting in earnest; and a study into the levels of participation in sports on the river and its banks.
The Thames Vision Goals are, in full:
· The busiest ever Port of London, handling 60 – 80 million tonnes of cargo a year.
· More goods and materials routinely moved between wharves on the river – every year over four million tonnes carried by water – taking over 400,000 lorry trips off the region’s roads.
· Double the number of people travelling by river – reaching 20 million commuter and tourist trips every year.
· Greater participation in sport and recreation on and alongside the water.
· The river the cleanest since the Industrial Revolution, with improved habitats and awareness of heritage.
· A riverside which is a magnet for ramblers, historians, artists and others, whether living nearby, on the river or travelling from further afield.
You can access a copy of the Thames Vision with a full list of the priority actions at: www.pla.co.uk/ThamesVision