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The Thames Vision Goals

Six goals are at the heart of the Thames Vision.  Each one has priority actions to turn the Vision into reality.  The Goals and actions are:



Port of London: more trade, more jobs

The busiest ever Port of London, handling 60 – 80 million tonnes of cargo each year, on the doorstep of Europe’s biggest metropolitan consumer market.

  • Sustain private sector investment
  • Improve navigational access to the port
  • Improve rail and road access to port operations/terminals, including:
    • Lower Thames Crossing downstream of Tilbury, by 2025
    • At least three further Thames crossings to the east of Tower Bridge, that allow continuation of river trade; the first by 2022
    • Widening of the A13, by the end of 2018
    • Closure of level crossings affecting operational terminals, by 2020
  • Deliver efficient, effective and sustainable PLA harbour and pilotage services to support growth

Inland Freight: more goods off roads onto the river

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 underlying intra-port freight to over 4 million tonnes
  • Champion the Thames as a default choice for moving spoil and materials from infrastructure projects close to the river
  • Maintain or reactivate viable cargo handling facilities, with at least five additional facilities brought into operation by 2025
  • Extend the River Concordat to promote freight movements by water
  • Develop the Thames Skills Academy to provide the skills needed on the Thames

Developments since Vision launch:

  • Underlying intra-port freight in 2017: 3.38 million tonnes (+41%, compared to 2015 baseline: 2.39 million tonnes)
  • Extensive work on London Plan Review, with the examination in public on the document due in early 2019
  • Greater London Authority Safeguarded Wharves Review completed, with submission to Secretary of State expected by end of 2018
  • Peruvian Wharf cleared and ready for occupation – due back into operation by early 2019
  • Substantial investment by operators in new inland waterways vessels and barges
  • Over 90% of boroughs now have policies or references to use of river for freight transport
  • Securing stronger river-related policies in Local Plans River Concordat replaced by Thames & London Waterways Forum, with inland waterways freight goals and working group
  • First group of 22 Thames Skills Academy apprentices in training

Passenger Transport: more journeys

Double the number of people travelling by river – reaching 20 million commuter and tourist trips every year.

  • Make more efficient use of piers and river space, including new timetabling to manage peaks in traffic
  • Innovate to achieve more passenger journeys at current low peak times
  • Develop and implement a long-term pier strategy
  • Convene a consultative forum to address issues of wash from growth in passenger transport
  • Secure the infrastructure required for growth in the transport of passengers and goods on the Thames

Developments since Vision launch:

  • Passenger trips in 2017: 10 million (-3%, compared to 2015 baseline: 10.3 million)
  • Transport for London/London River Services leading development of a new Pier
  • Strategy, in partnership with PLA and river operators
  • Battersea Power Station Pier opened and operational
  • New piers expected to open at Royal Wharf, Ordnance Wharf, Barking Riverside & Canary Wharf East
  • New vessels brought into service by MBNA Thames Clippers and Thames
  • River Services
  • City Cruises vessel in for major refit; new, dedicated MBNA Thames Clippers charter boat in build
  • Wash Forum established

Sport and Recreation: more participants

Greater participation in sport and recreation on and alongside the water.

  • Ascertain current levels of sport participation and work towards increasing participation on and alongside the Thames
  • Extend sport opportunity zones on the Thames
  • Realise new visitor moorings and publicise the availability of all visitor moorings effectively
  • Join up the Thames Path from source to sea

Developments since Vision launch:

  • First Thames sports participation study identified strong baseline of activity and opportunities for increasing participation in the future
  • Working with National Governing Bodies and east London clubs on strategy to boost participation
  • Visitor mooring information expanded on PLA leisure website and mooring/marinas meeting  established to link users with mooring providers
  • A missing link in the Thames Path opened between Charlton and Woolwich
  • Sport and recreation club best practice case studies being produced as part of outreach to boroughs promoting positive approach to
  • development of watersports on the Thames
  • Annual Foreshore Festival launched by Tideway, giving members of the public a chance to sample river-based recreational activities at Putney and Shadwell

Environment and Heritage: improved tidal Thames environment

The river the cleanest since the Industrial Revolution, with improved habitats and awareness of heritage.

  • Build and bring into operation the Thames Tideway Tunnel by 2021
  • Improve water quality by a range of measures including reduced litter in the river
  • Improve biodiversity of sites recognised for their wildlife interest, and the connections between them
  • Identify and improve access to, and appreciation of, the historic environment along the Thames
  • Encourage uptake of new and green technologies to reduce the port’s environmental impact

Developments since Vision launch:

  • Construction of Thames Tideway Tunnel progressing, with tunnelling expected to start before end 2018
  • Thames Litter Strategy published; Cleaner Thames campaign continues; For Fishes Sake 2017 campaign in central London delivered 30% reduction in littering around London Bridge
  • Baselines for biodiversity, invasive species and gaps in habitat have been set, ready for action
  • Air Quality Strategy for the Thames published and implementation work started
  • New, annual environment and heritage conference now a ‘go to’ Thames event
  • Publication of Museum of London Archaeology’s ‘The river’s tale: archaeology on the Thames foreshore in Greater London’
  • Order placed for UK’s, possibly the world’s, first hybrid pilot cutter

Community and Culture: more people enjoying the Thames and its banks

A riverside which is a magnet for ramblers, historians, artists and others, whether living nearby, on the river or travelling from further afield.

  • Enhance access to information about the Thames
  • Educate local school children about the Thames
  • Create new appropriate residential moorings accommodating suitable vessels
  • Explore development of a Thames brand for culture, heritage and quality of life

Developments since Vision launch:

  • PLA working with the GLA on development of cultural strategy for the Thames
  • Four-year programme of PLA support for Thames Festival Trust announced, covering delivery of Totally Thames and education outreach in East London
  • Enhanced PLA support for Thames Explorer Trust, enabling them to extend education activity delivery over a wider area (Greenwich to Gravesend)
  • Further ten-year agreement for the Museum of London to house and curate the PLA archive at the Museum of  London Docklands
  • First phase of the Illuminated River project due to launch in 2019
  • PLA working with partners in the Tidal Thames Water Safety Forum to facilitate river suicide prevention

Achieving the goals will only be possible if a wide range of partners pull together. You can read the full Vision document here.