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The Port of London Authority (PLA) is inviting ‘anyone with an interest in the tidal Thames’ to have their say on its Thames Vision 2050 for a ‘zero-emissions port and river in a vibrant Net Zero economy’.

The Thames Vision 2050 – which updates the original Thames Vision published in 2016 – is a framework for the development of the 95 miles of river from Teddington Lock to the North Sea.

In a statement issued today (1 June), PLA chief executive Robin Mortimer explained why the authority is working on the update now: ‘Thames Vison 2035 was published in summer 2016. Since then we have seen great progress in many areas of river use. The last five years have also been a time of transformation with greater urgency in our response to climate change, Brexit resetting the UK’s trading relationship with the rest of the world and the COVID-19 pandemic causing an unprecedented social and economic shock, potentially accelerating change across our cities and the way we live our lives.

‘With a “new normal” now hopefully in sight, the time is right to review progress and look again to ensure the Thames is ready to play a full role in the recovery and transition towards a Net Zero economy.

‘The original Vision was the first strategy for the tidal Thames, developed with stakeholders and taking the broadest view of the river across trade, travel, sport, environment and culture. Now we are asking people to work with us again to shape a new Vision out to 2050.’

In shaping the consultation, the PLA has convened an expert panel of representatives from Harvard University, Exeter University, Resilience Shift, Lloyd’s Register and The Business of Cities to discuss the major drivers set to influence the development of the Thames between now and 2050.

To understand how operations on the Thames will evolve between now and 2050, the PLA commissioned Oxford Economics to complete a Port Trade Forecast. Drawing on input from a wide range of Thames operators, it sets out several forecast scenarios, with outlooks for 2050 port trade ranging from 54 million tonnes and 92 million tonnes.

Further evidence being collated includes a Royal HaskoningDHV study to model the future of energy demand and supply on the tidal Thames, so that vessels calling in the port, or operating on the river have access to the fueling infrastructure that they need.

The initial six-week engagement on Thames Vision 2050 launches today, with an online survey available at: https://www.pla.co.uk/About-Us/The-Thames-Vision/Thames-Vision-2050-Stakeholder-Engagement.

Through the six weeks a series of three engagement events will be held:

Tuesday 22 June, 6.00 pm, IET London and online
Vision update and discussion – in-person event, streamed online too.

Tuesday 29 June, 2.00 pm, online
Online debate with expert panel members on the global factors set to influence the future of the tidal Thames.

Tuesday 6 July, 4.30 pm to 6.30 pm, London Rowing Club
Drop-in session at London Rowing Club, Putney

Interested parties can register for these events via the webpage: https://www.pla.co.uk/About-Us/The-Thames-Vision/Thames-Vision-Engagement-Events

The initial stakeholder engagement around the development of Thames Vision 2050 will close at midday on Wednesday, 14 July 2021.

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