Hanson - Victoria Deep Water Terminal
EGRA were invited among with other local stakeholders including Greenwich Cyclists and Greenwich Society for a sandwich lunch and a site tour of Hanson UK site on Tunnel Approach. We all enjoyed our tour and the Hanson team consisting of Derek the site manager (who has been at this site for the past 50 years!), regional and local management, the project managers and engineers were generous with their time and patient and clear when answering our questions.
Hanson is the largest producer of aggregates in the UK, we were told that business in booming. Hanson already supply ready mixed concrete to Crossrail sites across the capital, but the enormous amount of infrastructure projects in London and in particular upcoming contracts to manufacture concrete pipes to Thames Tideway tunnel and the Silvertown Tunnel has prompted change and expansion at the Greenwich site. Planning permission is being sought to extend the fabrication facilities in Greenwich. Hanson propose replacing the two existing concrete plants with three plants enclosed in a new building. The sand and gravel currently stored outside on site will also be housed in this new building.
The site currently hosts a noisy recycling facility which takes up space, this facility will be closed to maximise the manufacturing ability at the site. This is good news for residents as the heavy goods vehicles are noisy and polluting. At present the recycling operation uses over a hundred vehicles every day, the closure of this operation will certainly be noticed.
The one point of tension may be in how the Thames Path is managed. Hanson plan to transport their fabricated pipes by barge. Of course we applaud the use of the river over the road but it will be a busy operation. Currently aggregate is loaded to and from barges by crane, many of us know the crane drivers and are used to waiting to be ushered along the Thames Path, however the predicted volume of loading will far exceed what we currently experience so it is likely that a more formal operation with level crossing barriers will be needed. This could mean that at times the path being closed albeit briefly every hour for ten minutes Hanson are aware that this will not be popular but so far no alternative has been arrived at.
The plans went to Royal Borough of Greenwich at the end of May. The original planning application can be found here and a leaflet outlining the proposals can be found here.