Call to Reject the Cruise Liner Terminal

The Greenwich Society calls on Greenwich Council to reject a planning application for a cruise liner terminal at Enderby Wharf – and to require the developers to provide a proper Environmental Impact Assessment, including options for clean ‘shore-based power’ for the cruise liners, before returning to the Council.

The planning application (15/0973/F), submitted by a trio of joint venture companies backed by developer Barratt Homes and investment bank Morgan Stanley, includes plans for a major cruise liner terminal at Enderby Wharf – the “London City Cruise Port” – which would see cruise ships docked between the Greenwich Maritime World Heritage Site and the O2 Arena at North Greenwich up to 200 days per year.

Under current plans the cruise liners will not be provided with shore-based power – as used in major cities from Los Angeles to New York to Amsterdam – but instead will have to generate their own electricity using on-board generators.  According to the developers’ own report, such generators on medium-sized cruise ships consume around 700 litres of heavy diesel fuel per hour equivalent to 400 idling HGVs – 24 hours per day.

In response to local concerns about air quality, Greenwich Council in February postponed consideration of the planning application pending an environmental assessment.  However, the ‘statement of environmental issues’ that was eventually provided by the developers is a mere 12 pages in length and provides little actual information – and no hard data.  The report glibly dismisses concerns about the pollution these cruise ships will emit by referring to the increasing use of ‘low sulphur diesel fuel’ by shipping companies.

The Enderby Wharf site is located just 200m away from the heavily polluted Blackwall Tunnel approach road – one of London’s dirtiest thoroughfares, already well in excess of EU-mandated limits on both nitrogen oxide (NOx) and sulphur oxide (SOx) emissions.

When the emissions from the cruise liners are added to the significant increase in local traffic to service the cruise liner terminal and ferry passengers into London, the whole project would have a devastating effect on air quality on the Greenwich Peninsula – which is earmarked for tens of thousands of new homes over the next decade.

The cruise liner terminal proposal, which has attracted more than 70 formal objections and sparked a petition for the terminal to provide shore-based power with more than 300 signatories, will now be decided at a hastily arranged Greenwich Planning Board meeting on Tuesday 21 July.  All those affected by the proposals are welcome to attend – and speak at – the Planning Board meeting, the details of which are here.

The Greenwich Society also highlights the fact that air quality in riverine Greenwich is particularly poor, owing to the high-ground to the south which traps polluting emissions in the river corridor.  This has been acknowledged for over a century, with major concerns about air quality in Greenwich – and its adverse impact on the health of cadets training at the Royal Naval College – expressed by Admiral of the Fleet John Fisher as long ago as 1905.

Despite the lack of a proper Environmental Impact Assessment, Greenwich Council’s planning officers have recommended Councillors approve the planning application.  This seems particularly perverse the day after a major new academic study reported that almost 10,000 Londoners die prematurely every year as a result of exposure to these deadly pollutants.

The Greenwich Society’s Chairman, Richard Baglin, said, “Local residents are deeply concerned about this new development, particularly the pollution that would be caused by the cruise liners ‘hotelling’ at Enderby Wharf.  We call on the Planning Board to refuse permission for this planning application until a proper, detailed and thorough Environmental Impact Assessment has been submitted.”

In addition to major concerns about air pollution from the cruise liners, the Greenwich Society has also objected to many elements of the accompanying residential development plans, including: 

  • Densities well in excess of the London Plan;
  • Excessive height of the tall buildings (32, 26 and 23 stories);
  • The lack of affordable housing;
  • The lack of family dwellings; and
  • Insufficient open space provision.

For all these reasons, the Greenwich Society calls on the Greenwich Council Planning Board to reject the Enderby Wharf planning application and to insist on the provision of environmentally and socially sustainable development of this key site.

To help support the Greenwich Society in keeping the ‘green’ in Greenwich, join us at http://www.greenwichsociety.org.uk/Join-The-Society.