Protection for residents from pollution caused by a planned cruise terminal at Enderby Wharf have fallen down a bureaucratic black hole.
No single public organisation claims responsibility for safeguarding air quality safeguards, which meant that the London City Cruise Port was allowed to secure permission without a ship-to-shore generator, generally seen as the best method of reducing air pollution.
Ships will “hotel” at Enderby Wharf for 155 days a year with engines producing the same amount of pollution as 688 idling lorries.
Addressing a Parliamentary debate at Westminster Hall, Poplar and Limehouse MP Jim Fitzpatrick said he had been working since 2014 to pin down an authority willing to “champion” the cause.
He listed the Department of Transport, the Department for Communities responsible for planning, Department of the Environment, responsible for air quality, Greenwich and Tower Hamlets councils, the Port of London Authority, the Greater London Authority and the Mayor London – each had a get-out clause that allowed them to shift responsibility elsewhere.
Meanwhile, the High Court had rejected a judicial review against Greenwich council’s decision, a decision which itself was made under the threat of legal challenge.
Mr Fitzpatrick offered an alphabet soup of bureaucracy: “We have DCLG, Defra, DfT, the Department of Health which will be picking up the pieces, RBG, LBTH, PLA, GLA and the Mayor of London, and no one is able to sort this out to the satisfaction of the residents. Something needs to be done.”
He said he had managed to secure the promise of round table talks by the air quality minister – Rory Stewart – only for him to be reshuffled out of his post.
“It almost feels as if we are starting over again. We have had two years of campaigning on this, so I hope it will not take us two years to reach what I hope would be a successful conclusion.”
Greenwich and Woolwich MP Matthew Pennycook said: “What is required is a serious examination of the feasibility and benefits of installing shore-to-ship power and, more importantly, a genuine willingness on the part of those involved to approach the issue with an open mind.”
Minister for housing and planning Gavin Barwell said Government was keen to give councils and communities “more power to make decisions locally” and that the Greenwich’s decision had been ratified as legal by the High Court.
He said: “We have made sure that local councils have the tools they need to ensure that developments are appropriate for their location and to prevent unacceptable risks from pollution.”
Follow The Wharf on Twitter @the_wharf
Keep up to date with all our articles on Facebook