Thames Vision

Today Tim Beckett launched his alternative vision for the Thames at the Institution of Civil Engineers’ Preparing London event. It is now a year since the Port of London Authority (PLA) launched their Thames Vision thevisionforthetidalthames.pdf and while Tim welcomed the fact that the PLA had produced their document, and are following through with implementation measures, he felt that an opportunity had been missed. The PLA’s Thames Vision is, understandably, the result of wide consultation and drafting by committee; the downside of this approach is that the end result lacks anything that could be described as ‘visionary’; the document is more akin to a business plan.

Our Thames Vision takes a different approach. It starts by identifying twelve challenges that the custodians of the river face over the next 25 years or so. These challenges range from a successor to the Thames Barrier to river crossings in the East, plastic waste pollution and passenger and freight transportation. The Vision then considers what a holistic solution to these multiple challenges might look like.

Many elements of the Vision have been proposed previously but the interconnection of the various elements to provide an overarching solution to the challenges ahead is new. We believe that there are distinct advantages to be had by designing London’s future flood defences to not only do their primary job but also to facilitate bridge crossings, an increase in freight handling, enhanced passenger services and environmental improvement of the river. We hope that this new Thames Vision will prompt debate about the benefits that might be achieved from adopting a holistic view of the river’s future.

The Thames Vision document can be found at