The Port of London Authority (PLA) is working with the Mayor of London and Transport for London on research to aid the development of an Air Quality Strategy for the tidal Thames.
The project involves three separate research streams covering shore side power allowing ships to turn off their engines and plug into an electrical grid while at berth, emissions from vessels during trips and an inventory of all emissions from vessels on the river.
Operators working on the research include Cory Riverside Energy, Thames Shipping and MBNA Thames Clippers.
Key elements of the project include comparable journey emissions monitoring, which will gather data on typical river borne journeys of passengers and cargo, to compare to the number of vehicles used and routes needed to make the same journey through Londonâ€™s road network.
The project will also produce an emissions inventory, creating the first port wide air inventory for the Thames.
PLA chief executive, Robin Mortimer, explained: â€œWe anticipate more trade, more passenger journeys, more sport and recreation and more people wanting to enjoy along the Thames. Our ambition is for this growth to be sustainable in the widest sense.
â€œThis research is on an unprecedented scale for the UK. Individually the techniques are tried and tested, but we are bringing them together to create a detailed picture of vessel emissions on the Thames. This will give us the data we need to develop the first air quality strategy for the river. The majority of the research will be completed by the end of September and we look forward to discussing the findings with our partners and wider stakeholder community then.â€
Deputy Mayor for Environment, Shirley Rodrigues, said: â€œThe River is an important part of Londonâ€™s economy and at City Hall we are keen to see it used more for freight, passenger and waste movements while reducing air pollution and carbon dioxide emissions from all river vessels.
â€œCity Hall strongly supports the PLAâ€™s work to understand and reduce emissions from river vessels. The Mayor is leading by example by cleaning up the river fleet that he owns. When his two new Woolwich Ferries enter into service next year they will be among the cleanest vessels on the river.â€