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Thames wharf set to take pressure off capital’s roads

Words: Huw Morris
Peruvian Wharf

A strategically important wharf in East London is set to return to cargo handling and keep thousands of lorries off the capital’s roads each year.

The Port of London Authority (PLA) has bought Peruvian Wharf in Newham for £3 million with the aim of developing it as a hub for low-carbon transport of building materials.

The wharf has been protected since 1997 under the Mayor of London’s policy to safeguard strategically placed wharves for cargo handling. The PLA completed the acquisition of the site after a long battle over the wharf’s planning status, subsequently acquiring the site when the former landowner failed to reactivate it for cargo handling.

“We’ve fought long and hard to get Peruvian Wharf back into use,” says PLA chief executive Robin Mortimer. “It’s ideally placed to service East London’s growth, underlining the importance of retaining strategically located sites for cargo handling.

“The river will play a key role in servicing the construction of at least 260,000 new homes and communities, offering 360,000 jobs. This will help keep tens of thousands of lorries off London’s roads every year, reducing air pollution and improving local people’s quality of life.”

The PLA will complete an access road to the site and then let it on a long-term lease to the Brett Group, a construction and building materials specialist. Brett will develop an integrated terminal on the site, which is expected to be operational late in 2017.

More than two million tonnes of cargo are moved between wharves on the Thames each year. Fifty wharves on the river have been safeguarded for cargo handling by the transport secretary, following the advice of the Mayor of London and the PLA.