Legal Challenge to the Dirty Cruise Port
EGRA support a recent challenge to Greenwich Council’s decision of December 2015 granting permission for an international cruise terminal on the Thames without adequate assessment of the air pollution that will arise from ships and associated development. EGRA has consistently called for clean onshore power supply to be provided to avoid dangerous emissions from ship’s diesel engines in a dense residential neighbourhood. “Hotelling” cruise ships burn about 700 litres of diesel an hour; something the Mayor of London’s office suggests is equivalent of 688 permanently running HGVs.
Disquiet about air pollution is widespread and increasing. At a national level Jim Fitzpatrick, MP for Poplar and Limehouse, expressed concern to a Government Select Committee that air pollution from the terminal would affect the whole of London. EGRA also understands that mitigation measures such as onshore power will be obligatory by 2025 and asks what is the use of building a cruise port that may be obsolete in 7 years?
Dr Paul Stookes of law firm, Richard Buxton Environmental & Public Law Solicitors, explained that:
“the challenge to the planning decision is being defended by Greenwich Council and the developers and therefore the opportunity for an early resolution of the matter has gone. The High Court will now proceed to a permission stage, and, if granted set a timetable for a final hearing.”
EGRA Chair, Dan Hayes, says:
”We believe that the planning decision is short-sighted and ruinous to Londoners’ health. Nearly 10,000 people die of air pollution in our capital each year and far more suffer ill-health because of bad air. We have been constantly exhorted to use public transport, buy cleaner cars or cycle, only to have dirty developments thrust on our communities. It’s time to call a halt on decision-making that makes air pollution much worse for Londoners, and the Cruise Terminal proposal, without on-shore power, is a striking example of this.”
A community contribution of at least £6,000 is initially needed to support the proceedings. A decision is critical to South East and East London, including Greenwich, which is one of the most polluted London boroughs. However, anyone who objects to air pollution should express support to help highlight their concern: see http://www.crowdjustice.co.uk/case/cruise-liner. Frankly, local residents and communities are getting increasingly fed up with councils and government failing to properly consider the serious environmental impacts of decisions.
Keep in touch with EGRA over the next few weeks to hear of developments and see what you can do to support both the legal and public campaign. We are actively discussing ways out of this mess with London Mayoral candidates and local MPs.
Because of the early success of the Crowdjustice campaign in nearly reaching its initial target, the total “stretch” target of £16,000 has been agreed. We hope this will attract many more supporters from the wider community and perhaps nationally.
Two local MPs, our own Matt Pennycook, and Tower Hamlets MP Jim Fitzpatrick have fully supported our campaign for a cleaner terminal and are to have a meeting with the Minister about it.