23 June 2015
In early 2012 Greenwich Council unanimously approved a plan to turn the deep-water berth at Enderby Wharf on the western side of the Greenwich Peninsula into a terminal for cruise ships, having at one stage promised that the first vessels would arrive in time for the Olympics. That never happened, and the only progress on the site so far has been work on a the residential development.
It now turns out that the developer wants to nearly double the size of the terminal before it will go ahead. Citing new regulations on emissions introduced by the International Maritime Organisation, it says the venture won't be viable otherwise. Instead of using the terminal as a drop-off point for day visitors to London, it now plans to accommodate vessels for two or three nights. It also wants to use the terminal as a point of embarkation, where passengers can join and leave the cruise.
As Greenwich Green Party says in its submission to the council, this will subject residents of one of the most polluted corners of London to even greater environmental danger. Cruise ships are vast floating hotels which use huge amounts of energy even when they are at berth. Because they use dirtier fuel and are much less regulated than land structures, they are far more polluting. As far as we can calculate, a 3,000-passenger cruise ship of the kind the proposed terminal will accommodate would pump out as much air pollution during a single visit to port as 1,000 cars and trucks would emit driving in an entire year.
That's not the only problem with the plan. The terminal will greatly increase congestion as visitors make their way by coach through Greenwich to central London, and as passengers join and leave the cruise. And surprise surprise, the developer now wants to greatly increase the number of luxury homes in high rise towers on the site, while reducing the promised proportion of affordable housing.
The scheme has been sold on a promise of creating at least 500 full-time jobs, but as we point out, this is a disingenuous claim: fewer than 70 people will be directly employed by the terminal itself, and the other jobs will supposedly be generated indirectly through expenditure by passengers, crew and the cruise line. What the developer has not made clear is that these numbers are simply guesses, and we suggest they are wild overestimates – particularly given that cruise passengers have paid for all their meals on board and tend to book shore excursion packages through the cruise line itself. The chances of this expenditure benefiting individuals or business in the Royal Borough of Greenwich are much lower than we have been led to believe.
Greenwich Green Party Submission: here
Leter to Evening Standard: here