Controversial plans to build a cruise liner terminal on the Thames at Greenwich face the prospect of a legal challenge in the High Court.
The scheme, approved by Greenwich Council in December, would see ships “idling” at the riverside over the summer, burning at least 700 litres of fuel an hour.
Residents and councillors on both sides of the have expressed concern about the impact on air quality and called for an onshore power supply.
Now one anonymous resident wants to launch a judicial review of the decision on the basis of an “inadequate” air quality assessment. The Supreme Court has already ruled that London must make every effort to improve, and certainly not worsen, the capital’s air quality in order to meet EU standards.
The resident has the support of the East Greenwich Residents Association and a fund-raising CrowdJustice campaign has proved so successful the initial target of £6,000 is likely to be raised to £16,000.
EGRA chairman Dan Hayes said: “Nearly 10,000 people die of air pollution in our capital each year and far more suffer ill-health because of bad air.
“It’s time to call a halt on decision-making that makes air pollution much worse for Londoners, and the Cruise Terminal proposal, without onshore power, is a striking example of this.”
EGRA member Ian Blore, who set up the CrowdJustice fundraiser , said: “I am helping the resident to pursue this case in an effort to convince Greenwich Council that onshore-power and a pollution-free terminal is the only way forward.
“Frankly, communities are getting increasingly fed up with councils and government failing to properly consider the serious environmental impacts of their decisions.”
Dr Paul Stookes of law firm, Richard Buxton Environmental & Public Law Solicitors, said: “The challenge to the planning decision is being defended by Greenwich Council and the developers and therefore the opportunity of 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.”
Poplar and Limehouse MP Jim Fitzpatrick has pressed the case in the Commons. He told a debate in December : “When cruise ships start arriving in London, they will have to run their diesel engines 24/7 to power them while they are berthed in the middle of the Thames, which is the equivalent of putting hundreds of lorries’ emissions back into London’s air. If we provided a ship-to-shore energy supply we could deal a big blow to London’s emissions.”
Green Party mayoral candidate Sian Berry said: “Air pollution in London is now a bigger killer than smoking. Since it is already at illegal levels, whoever is the next Mayor of London will be breaking the law if they don’t do everything they possibly can to bring air pollution down.
“It’s astonishing that a Labour local authority and the Conservative Mayor have united to force a cruise terminal on the unwilling residents of Greenwich and the Isle of Dogs, ignoring pleas for the hotelling ships to use clean onshore power rather than dirty diesel fuel.”
A Greenwich council spokesman said: “We believe that our decision making process was correct and will robustly defend it. However, as proceedings have now been issued, it is not appropriate to comment further.”