Enderby Wharf: Greenwich cruise terminal battle to be debated in Parliament as residents plan appeal

Residents say the ships' engines can be as polluting as 688 lorries idling all day.

Residents say the ships’ engines can be as polluting as 688 lorries idling all day

The battle over the Enderby Wharf cruise liner terminal in Greenwich will be debated in Parliament next Wednesday, while local residents have confirmed they are planning to appeal against a decision to throw out a judicial review into Greenwich Council’s decision to approve the scheme.

Poplar MP Jim Fitzpatrick, who has backed Isle of Dogs residents concerned about pollution from the terminal, will lead the half-hour debate in Westminster Hall on Wednesday afternoon.

Residents on both sides of the Thames object to the terminal allowing cruise ships to use their own generators while on extended stays at the terminals, which they say will hugely increase air pollution in the area. They say the emissions are comparable to 688 lorries idling all day, and are demanding a switch to shore-based power supplies instead.

A judicial review into the decision was thrown out last month, with Mr Justice Collins stating that no errors had been made in making the decision. It is believed that council leader Denise Hyland’s meetings with the developer before the decision was made were not raised in court. Hyland is the only council leader in London to regularly sit on her borough’s main planning committee, and voted for the scheme.

Fitzpatrick’s intervention will be embarrassing for his Labour Party colleague Hyland as well as her deputy leader Danny Thorpe, who also voted for the scheme and called criticism of it “scaremongering”.

Greenwich & Woolwich MP Matt Pennycook has also sided with residents, tweeting that the judicial review’s failure was “not the end of the matter”. London mayor Sadiq Khan also offered his backing while campaigning for the position.

Now the East Greenwich Residents Association is supporting a second attempt at the High Court. While Mr Justice Collins refused leave to appeal, lawyers for the anonymous plaintiff bringing the case claim there were errors in his judgment.

EGRA’s Ian Blore said this afternoon: “We half expected an appeal. Residents and others who attended the two-day fullHigh Court hearing were surprised when Mr Justice Collins joked that he would issue his decision before going on an Antarctic cruise. The 9,500 Londoners who die of air pollution each year may not find that funny.

“It is sad that a potentially highly polluting development is still being pursued when air quality is at the top of everyone’s agenda and when a remedy, onshore power supply to the berthed ships, is possible.

“It’s doubly sad that citizens have to pay to crowdfund a legal action to prevent this and to pay council taxes to fund the legal costs of the Royal Borough of Greenwich.”

Update 4.25pm: Ian Blore adds: “Greenwich MP Matt Pennycook applied in the ballot to have this issue discussed but Jim Fitzpatrick won it.  Nevertheless our MP will be speaking in the debate.  With such a consensus to redesign this scheme can’t we please go back to the drawing board and save a lot of time and legal fees?”

9 comments

  1. maryorelse

    So – something sensible at last. We need remember the main issue here is to deal with pollution from the cruise liners (and other vessels) and there are connected issues like clarifying monitoring and enforcement responsibilities and putting it in an international context. Rather than return to blaming Greenwich Council for everything can we think though, very carefully, what would most likely have happened had they imposed the shore power condition in the planning consent. My guess is that the developers would have gone straight to their lawyers and we would all still be arguing, and paying out, and the pollution issue would be lost in a legal morass. Taking it to Parliament is to put the whole issue where it belongs, with a body which can rule and negotiate to clear this all up. They should have done it long ago. Thanks Jim.

  2. Walt

    I’m not sure the fanaticism of the campaign is helping establish the true facts of the matter. Although –in principle– air pollution is a valid concern, you have to compare the actual output to whatever is on the road. There are relative strict conditions cruise ships need to adhere to (near shore), and most of the exhaust doesn’t reach the nearby residents because the height of the exhausts and wind.
    So what is the FACTUAL percentage of the NO2 and particulates reaching the residents due to the cruise-ships, compared to the roads? (I don’t know but do the campaigners know?, does the developer know?). E.g. it might be in balance much more effective to close off a few roads on car-free sundays than to stop such development. Just blaming this judge for causing 9,500 deaths is below the belt i.m.o. The fierceness of opposition at least gives rise to the suspicion that people are more against the new development in general than having cruise ships visiting.

  3. Darryl

    Fanaticism is a strong word, Walt. What does that make those who are equally determined to impose the terminal in its current state?

  4. Walt

    OK let’s call both sides persistent..But if you time and again loose the council decisions and court battles, maybe you don’t have much ground to stand on. At some point, it is possible to delay further and further, but should you?

    Using the word pollution with elected officials definitely is effective, and a powerful weapon. It always is. How can somebody fight for re-election if they are on “the polluting side”? However, it being effective doesn’t mean such weapon should always be used, nor that blocking this is the most rational decision.

    If I were to live in between enderby and the blackwall tunnel, I would indeed be very concerned and possibly move out; because of the pollution from the road there, not the cruise terminal

  5. Andy

    The judge going on a cruise is a pretty tenuous ‘conflict’. The residents are getting into desperate territory now.

  6. Chris

    Have you seen the pollution over SE London on a hot summer’s day? It doesn’t get moved on, it’s trapped! Just potter up to General Wolfe in Greenwich Park and look for yourself.

  7. Andy

    Tolling the Blackwall tunnel or extending the C charge to East London would help that. Let’s be clear the pollution is a vehicular issue. If you want to reduce pollution people need to suffer some pain, and the only way to shift people’s behaviour is to hit them in the pockets.

  8. John Norman

    Does the increased housing on the Peninsula mean taller buildings? Was the cruise liner pollution study done before the change or after the increased number of properties?
    I know that in Canary wharf the high buildings seem to ‘pull down’ the wind to street level. Wont the high building’s on the Peninsula do the same? The prevailing wind across the Peninsula is from West to East generally, wont that mean the top floors of the new blocks will be hit with dirty diesel if the occupants sit on their balconies and leave their windows open?

    The poor school they are building on the Peninsula seems to be downwind of
    the stationary traffic waiting to go into the Blackwell tunnel, the new power plant that is right next to it (?!?), and now cruise ships. I am sure very healthy for those developing minds….

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