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PLA chief Robin Mortimer launches the Thames Vision document

In the first project of its kind, a consultation document has outlined a vision for the next 20 years' development of the tidal river.

It envisages:

  • More cargo;
  • More boat passengers;
  • More people taking part in sport and leisure;
  • A cleaner river and
  • More visitors attracted to the riverside.

The Thames Vision document sets out ‘goals and priority actions’ and is asking everyone who is interested  – from river organisations, to commercial operators and the general public – if the PLA has got it right.

Over 200 responses have been received so far after an initial 'call for evidence' – half from the public – and more than 200 people have attended public meetings.

After the latest responses are received more detailed work will be done before a final strategy is produced next year.

The just-published interim document breaks down the vision for the future into a six goals and 24 priority actions and it also recognises that different sections of the Thames will prioritise different activities varying from an emphasis on leisure upstream to commercial traffic downstream.

The breakdown includes:

Port of London: more trade more jobs. The goal is for the port to handle 60-80 million tonnes of cargo each year. Currently it handles 44 million tonnes.

Inland freight:  More goods off the roads and onto the river. Every year sustaining the 5.5 million tonnes carried by water last year – an estimated 550,000 lorry trips off the capital’s roads.

Passenger transport: More journeys. An aim to double the number of people travelling by river – reaching some 20 million trips every year.

Sport and recreation: More participants. More people taking part in sport and recreation on the Thames.

Environment and heritage: Aiming at the cleanest Thames since the industrial revolution.

Community and culture: attracting more people to enjoy the river and its banks. Including improvements in the Thames Path.

PLA Chief Executive Robin Mortimer said: “This consultation is an important milestone in the Vision’s development. In it we share the emerging priorities that we have heard through ten months of consultation and discussions with the public and river communities.

“We want now to stimulate continued discussion as we develop the complete Vision document for [final] consultation in the Spring of next year.”

Launching the document on the project so far Mr Mortimer said: “The idea is that the heyday of the Thames was not in the past but is in the future.

“We want it to be a shared vision. If we were just setting a number of visionary goals people might say ‘so what’. It is very easy to dream but we are doing more than that.

“First the goals are backed up by evidence and forecasts. Second a set of actions ranging from the specific, like a new Thames crossing by 2025, to longer term like linking up all the sections of the Thames Path so we can walk from coast to source.

“Overall it adds up to more use of the river - an achievable vision for more use of the river and over the next nine weeks we want know if what we have come up is right. Have we proposed the right goals? Have we missed things? Are they the right actions to deliver the vision? We want views.”

Views are being sought before a deadline of February 15th. Read more on the PLA website HERE

See a special edition of Tidal Thames News HERE

December 14th 2015