The Port of London Authority has unveiled an ambitious plan to develop use of the Thames, including improvements to navigation

The Port of London Authority (PLA) has set out plans to develop and maximise the use of the River Thames in its Thames Vision, published this week.


Within the next 20 years, the PLA wants to see the busiest ever Port of London, 20 million passenger trips a year, more goods moved by river, the cleanest river since the Industrial Revolution, and more people than ever enjoying sport and recreation on the river. To achieve this, it has developed 24 Priority Actions that need to be taken to achieve the goals.


PLA chief executive, Robin Mortimer, said:

‘Today we kick off a ten-week consultation on the Goals and Actions needed to make the most of the Thames. When we started this project in March we were sure there was untapped potential in this great river.  What we’ve found, working with hundreds of people and more than 70 organisations, has surpassed our expectations.

The cargo port the biggest it’s ever been and doubling the number of passenger trips on the river are great goals to aim for.  We can combine this with environmental improvement and drawing more people to the river to enjoy sport and cultural attractions.  This is about opening our eyes to what the great River Thames can offer right in the heart of London and the South East.’


The six key goals in full are:

  • The busiest ever Port of London, handling 60 – 80 million tonnes of cargo each year (in 2014 the port handled 44.5 million tonnes)
  • Double the number of people travelling by river – reaching 20 million commuter and tourist trips every year
  • More goods and materials moved between wharves on the river, taking 550,000 lorries trips off the region’s roads
  • The cleanest Thames since the Industrial Revolution, with improved habitats in the water and on adjoining land
  • Greater participation in sport and recreation on the water
  • A riverside which is a magnet for ramblers, historians, artists and others, whether living nearby, on the river or travelling from further afield


In order to achieve these, PLA will begin work on its 24 Priority Actions, which include improving the main navigation channels, reactivating safeguarded wharves, a long-term pier strategy, including new piers at Thamesmead, Erith, Greenhithe, Swanscombe, Grays and Tilbury, development of sport opportunity zones along the river, and Tideway completing the Thames Tideway Tunnel as planned.


PLA are seeking feedback from anyone who uses the Thames, including sailors on the Thames estuary, as part of a consultation on the plans. Feedback can be given online at:

More information can be found at: