The Port of London Authority has launched a project to develop a ‘Vision for the Thames’ for the 95 miles of the river from Teddington Lock through the heart of London to the North Sea.

Over the next six weeks the PLA is inviting anyone with an interest in the river to contribute views on how the river should be run as part of the 12-month project.  

PLA chief executive, Robin Mortimer, said: “The Thames is one of the UK’s greatest natural assets.  It plays a vital role in everyone’s lives, much of it unseen.  We’re confident that we’re sitting on untapped potential here – for trade, travel, leisure and sport. 
“That’s why the first stage – [the] call for evidence – is so important.  Over the next six weeks we want to hear from anyone who has an interest in the Thames as we start to shape a plan that makes the most of all the river’s attributes, as a trade hub, a low-carbon super highway, a natural ‘outdoor gym’ and a haven for wildlife.”

The initial evidence-gathering phase of the project is set to last until May 6th.  The feedback will shape the agenda for a series of public meetings that the PLA will run through May and June. 

People who want to contribute can complete an online feedback ‘Have Your Say’ form on the dedicated section of the PLA website:

And a special edition of Tidal Thames - the PLA's newsletter - has been published with details. See it HERE

The views gathered will be combined with a range of other data including an updated economic impact study, river amenity value study, river capacity study (commissioned jointly with Transport for London), economic growth forecasts and futures scoping work.

The move to develop the tidal Thames Vision has been welcomed by leading figures in the Thames and wider communities. 

Isabel Dedring, Deputy Mayor for Transport, said passenger numbers on the Thames  hitting almost 10 million a year showed the current River Action Plan was working and demonstrated “what can be achieved with a clear and shared vision for the future.

“This exciting new project, which will apply a similar approach to the whole of the tidal Thames, is an important step in boosting the profile of the river and looking beyond our current strategy.”

Perry Glading chief operating officer of Forth Ports, owners of the Port of Tilbury: "As Tilbury approaches 130 years of cargo handling and passenger operations, I welcome this opportunity to shape a clear plan for the whole river.”

Simon Moore, chief executive of DP World London Gateway: “We welcome and support this PLA initiative to ensure the river continues to thrive, both as a habitat and as a waterway of key economic and social value.”

Martin Humphrys, chairman of the Thames Regional Rowing Council: “The Thames is a vibrant centre for rowing and other sports.  Anything that brings more people to the river has to be good.” 

RSPB chief executive, Mike Clarke: “The river is a vital haven for nature, alongside one of the UK’s busiest ports and waterways.  We’re going to be looking to make sure that aspect is embedded and protected in the Vision.”
The Thames is home to the UK’s second biggest port and the busiest inland waterway in the country. The PLA is self-financing organisation whose 350-strong workforce oversees safe navigation, protects the marine environment and promotes the use of the river.  It has no shareholders and any financial surpluses are reinvested in the river and PLA operations. 

To start the project and prompt people’s thinking, the PLA has launched a short film in which people explain what the river means to them.  It can be found at: HERE

Story dated March 27TH 2015