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Port of London Authority and partners launch Net Zero River Plan for the Thames

Working together to accelerate progress towards decarbonising the Thames, the Port of London Authority (PLA) and a coalition of terminal and vessel operators and supporting stakeholders, have today published a plan for a Net Zero future.

The Net Zero River Plan identifies four priority themes to accelerate the move to Net Zero: alternative fuels and infrastructure adoption; clear regulation and legislation, funding, and reliable data.

These themes inform four robust commitments and a clear plan of action to support Thames operators transitioning towards and adopting sustainable alternative fuels and green technology:

  1. Supporting the transition to alternative fuels and green technology, including through a strategic infrastructure plan for the Thames for shore power, and the importation, storage and bunkering of alternative fuels.
  2. Working with regulators to promote the safe adoption of alternative fuels and green technology, with a 2024 review of the approval process for green technology use.
  3. Unlocking funding and financing for alternative fuels and green technology, which will include a “Centre of Excellence for Green Projects” for Thames operators to capitalise on future government funding cycles.
  4. Enabling the use of data for decision-making and collaboration, with access provided to the Maritime Emission Portal data for operators on the Thames.

Significant progress is already being made towards Net Zero, with onsite renewable energy generation at terminals, use of the river for light freight deliveries, construction of fully electric berths, the introduction of hybrid passenger vessels, and a fully electric work boat delivered and licensed for use.

Grace Rawnsley, Director of Sustainability at the Port of London Authority, said: “We’re working with operators from the length of the tidal Thames as we know that taking rapid action to reduce emissions is vital both to addressing climate change and to ensure a competitive future for trade and transportation. All of the terminal and vessel operators involved, as well as other supporting stakeholders, are showing great commitment to Net Zero and a sustainable future for our river.”

Olly Brown, Development Director at Brett Group, said: “We are proud to be a coalition partner with the PLA and support their vision towards Net Zero. As a business we’ve been investing in developing wharves along the Thames for over 20 years - to deliver building materials in a more sustainable way into the heart of London."

Laurence Dagley, Business Development Director at Cemex, said: “Close collaboration between industry, port operators and government is essential if we are to collectively deliver upon our Net Zero commitments, in particular to deliver a regulatory framework that supports innovation and investment. We applaud the PLA for their leadership and look forward to working with the coalition in delivering this ambitious but necessary plan for the Thames.”

Susannah Wilks, Cross River Partnership Director, said: “Cross River Partnership is committed to continuing to facilitate productive partnerships between river and land-based agencies that enable a scaling up of clean river freight into central London, with zero emission e-cargo bikes for onward deliveries.”

Kate Willard, Thames Estuary Envoy and Chair of the Thames Estuary Growth Board, said: “Clean, green growth in the Thames Estuary means a Net Zero river and we’re delighted to be working with the PLA to deliver it. Electric and hydrogen-powered ferries and new, clean, green opportunities for freight will transport people to places and goods to market cutting carbon, building business and connecting communities. With innovative new approaches to green investment in the Thames Estuary together we can make this happen.”

Miles Cole, Managing Director of Net Zero Marine, said: “Net Zero Marine Services (NZMS) is delighted to be part of the Net Zero coalition and support the PLA’s Thames Vision 2050. At NZMS we are developing shore power stations that will future proof clean and sustainable marine transport on the Thames Estuary.”

Martin Whiteley, Chief Executive Officer for Thames Freeport, said: "The Thames Freeport is committed to delivering sustainable growth on the Thames, unleashing London's greatest opportunity in a generation to decarbonise and grow industries in the region. We welcome and support the ambitions of the Port of London Authority and partners of the Net Zero Coalition which will position the River Thames at the heart of the net zero transition, enabling sustainable supply chains, generating new, green job opportunities for future generations, reducing the environmental impact of transport on communities and bringing innovative industries to our region."

Download the Net Zero River Plan (PDF)