5 January 2018
Plans to dredge part of the Thames off Greenwich Peninsula could harm precious wildlife habitats.
The owners of the Intercontinental Hotel by the O2 have submitted an application to Greenwich Council to extend the pier that lies adjacent to the Hotel. The pier, known as the Ordinance Wharf pier, is currently disused and the submitted plans seek to refurbish and enlarge it, enabling passenger ferries to use the pier and creating space for a new restaurant on it.
The application documents confirm that, as well as piles being driven into the river bed, ‘some dredging will be required to facilitate the use of the pier to ensure all tide berthing is available.’ Dredging can wreak havoc on river and marine ecosystems, with silts and sediments disturbed by the process affecting the water quality that river life depends on. Further concerns have been raised about the impact the work on birds that use the current pier as a nesting site, including rare Caspian Gulls.
European law requires planning projects which may have an adverse environmental impact to go through what is known as an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). These assessments examine and record in full what environmental impacts a project will have, which allows for further work to be done to mitigate these impacts and reduce the potential harm to wildlife.
The owners of the Intercontinental Hotel have argued that they don’t need to have an EIA and Greenwich Council appears to have accepted this argument. The application is due to be determined by 28 February and there is no sign of an EIA.
Commenting today, Matt Browne, one of three Green Party representatives for Peninsula ward, said:
‘‘A new pedestrian ferry link and restaurant on Peninsula could be great news – but not at the expense of local wildlife. Whilst the EIA process will cost the applicants a little more time and money, it will be worth it to help ensure that the ferry and restaurant get delivered without harming the fragile Thames shore eco-system.
It’s a win win scenario and Greenwich Council can make it happen. We are calling on the Council to insist on an EIA for the application – we can’t keep ignoring the wildlife that shares Greenwich with us, and helps make it such a wonderful place to live.’’
Comment on the application and demand an EIA through the Greenwich Planning register. The application number is 17/2842/F.