THE RIVER MAGAZINE | Winter 2016 21 Many docks – including those at Greenwich, Plymouth, Liverpool, Hull and Edinburgh – are expanding or planning to do, so that they can cater for ever bigger ships. But as a campaigner from the Isle of Dogs states, it’s not just the giant ships that will add to air (and noise) pollution. “On top of the ships, the port will need tugs, taxis and service vehicles all belching diesel close to high- density housing in an already heavily polluted area,”says Ralph Hardwick, a mechanical engineer and former naval scientist. “Greenwich is already breaching EU limits – I’m aghast. Most cruise ships use a combination of diesel and gas turbines. Measures are being taken by cruise-ship companies to lower emissions by such as switching to liquefied natural gas. One solution is Shore-Side Electricity (SSE) that allows ships to turn off engines and connect to an electrical grid while berthed. The EU’s European Commission research team showed this can reduce pollutants by more than 90 per cent. It also eliminates (24-hour) engine noise pollution. However, less than a dozen ports around the world have facilities for this at present. As well, most cruise ships would have to be adapted. Campaigners against the Enderby Wharf terminal state that SSE could work ideally, especially in such a densely populated area. But so far the council and developers have dismissed it as not “commercially viable”. “We believe the planning decision is short-sighted and ruinous to Londoners’health,” says Dan Hayes, Chair of EGRA (East Greenwich Residents Association). “It’s time to call a halt on decision-making that makes air pollution much worse for Londoners. The cruise terminal proposal, If ports want to expand, they need to demonstrate they’re not going to worsen people’s exposure to harmful pollution without on-shore power, is a striking example.” Greenwich Borough Council has reminded campaigners that the cruise liners will bring a lot of money into the borough through tourism and new jobs. However, many are not convinced it is a reasonable trade-off for the poorer air quality and related ill health that may arise – and that in fact it will not be that much of an economic boost either. “People on cruise liners are eating on the boat and might only go to see one or two things, such as the Royal Observatory or the market,”says Dan Garrun, of Greenwich Green Party. “When you see the money that’s in the cruise industry and how much of that goes into the local community you can see why people might be against it.” Now the final hope for Greenwich residents is the EU’s pollution laws. After a successful petition local residents have recently heard that the EU will be investigating the case. “While we’re in the EU we’re covered by EU pollution laws,”says Dan Garrun. “There are places that have built green terminal locations for cruises. People could be behind this terminal if it was done properly. We’re not saying cancel it – but that there is a good way to do it.”