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Air Quality

Air Quality Strategy for the tidal Thames

Air quality and emissions to air from vessels is a health and environmental priority in the UK and has been identified as being one of the top issues for ports in Europe.

The operation of vessels on the tidal Thames provides only a small percentage of the London atmospheric emission inventory, accounting for 1% of the capital’s emissions. However, the river’s overall contribution to London’s emissions is likely to increase as emissions from road vehicles fall due to tightening legislation, and use of the river grows.

In order to address air quality on the tidal Thames, we have developed our first Air Quality Strategy. To help shape the strategy we gathered data through a range of research and field studies through 2017. The studies included developing the first Port Wide Emissions Inventory for the tidal Thames, this will be published here shortly. (More detail on the studies conducted can be found in Towards an Air Quality Strategy for the tidal Thames, published in summary 2017.)

Once the studies were complete and the data analysed, we met with a range of stakeholders to consult on the emerging findings and options for improving the environmental performance of vessels on the Thames.

The resulting draft Strategy, which is currently available for consultation, aims to reduce river-based air pollution on the tidal Thames between Teddington and Southend, whilst facilitating the port and London’s future growth of waterborne freight in line with the wider Thames Vision 2035.

The aim of the Strategy is:

The reduction in harmful emissions to air from marine sources within the tidal River Thames, whilst facilitating the Port and London’s future growth.

The Strategy will be delivered through a Five Year Action Plan, covering 2018 to 2022. The 19 proposals for action in the document include carrying out further studies, establishing standards, investigating means to develop and implement green technology, encouraging best practice and further monitoring of river emissions.

Updates on the Air Quality Strategy will be available on this website and in future PLA publications.

Public consultation on the draft Air Quality Strategy

The draft Air Quality Strategy was published for consultation in early December 2017. The consultation closed on 23 January 2018.

You can read the draft Air Quality Strategy here and the consultation document on the strategy here.

The first port wide inventory commissioned by the Port of London and Transport for London is available here for download.

Or write to us at:

Environment Department
Port of London Authority
London River House
Royal Pier Road
DA12 2BG


Download the Air Quality Strategy and Consultation Documents

You can download the Consultation on Draft Air Quality Strategy for the Thames and Draft Air Quality Strategy for the Tidal Thames documents by clicking on the covers below.