Smoke on the water: how London is tackling emissions on the Thames

Boats operating on the river Thames have been a neglected source of air pollution, but the Port of London Authority and the capital’s mayor are now paying attention. Gareth Simkins investigates what is being done to keep a lid on emissions

Barge on the river Thames, London. Photograph: Ashok Saxena/Alamy Stock Photo

An expected increase in shipping on the river Thames could be both a problem and part of the solution for air quality in the capital. Photograph: Ashok Saxena/Alamy Stock Photo

Though far from its heyday, the river Thames is still a busy place. From a bridge in central London, you will see dozens of river buses, passenger boats, waste-carrying barges and other vessels plying their trade. Further downstream, closer to where the river meets the sea, tugs, tankers, vast container ships and gas industry support vessels are a common sight.

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