LORD Heseltine and members of the Thames Estuary 2050 Growth Commission took to the Thames recently for their first fact-finding trip.
The group were hosted on the river by the Port of London Authority (PLA) and travelled the Thames from Tower Pier through east London as far downriver as London Gateway Port and Thames Oilport in Essex. On board during the 30-plus mile trip they were briefed on river uses, ranging from port trade and passenger travel to riverside housing developments and habitat creation.
The formation of the Growth Commission was announced in the March 2016 Budget. The Commission is charged with developing a vision and delivery plan for North Kent, South Essex and East London, reporting back for the Autumn Budget Statement in 2017, with a clear and affordable delivery plan for achieving the vision. They will look at how the area can develop, attract and retain skilled workers, making the most of opportunities from planned infrastructure investment, including the Lower Thames Crossing.
Just one week ago the PLA formally launched a Vision for the development of the Thames over the next 20 years.
"There is a renewed focus on the Thames as a catalyst for growth over the coming decades," said Robin Mortimer, PLA chief executive. "This trip was a great opportunity to share with the commissioners the Vision for the Thames that we shaped with stakeholders over the last 18 months. We hope that the Vision will give the Commission a ready reference for the potential growth in use of the Thames and what needs to be done to unlock it."
Briefing the commission on board an MBNA Thames Clippers fast ferry were representatives from organisations including: Tate & Lyle, Ford, MBNA Thames Clippers, the Port of Tilbury, London Gateway Port, the RSPB and housing group Peabody.