By Allan Fuller
The Port of London Authority (PoLA) has confirmed that it is seriously considering proposals for a ferry crossing to mitigate the closure of Hammersmith Bridge. The Councils on both sides of the river have called on a ferry to be introduced to help local schoolchildren get to school without a substantial detour.
It says it has been in contact with the promoters of several temporary ferry schemes and is holding pre-application discussions although no formal applications have been submitted yet. A spokesperson for PoLA said ,”As and when they are, we will determine them quickly as part of the range of consents that will be needed. Our prime consideration will be ensuring any scheme is navigationally safe.” They are also holding strategic discussions with the London boroughs of Hammersmith & Fulham and Richmond upon Thames, Transport for London (TfL) and the Department for Transport.
The Department of Transport recently took over control of the project to repair the bridge and a special taskforce has been formed. The authority are also working with the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham (H&F) to allow a controlled passage of vessels that need to travel to their home berths, either up or downriver of the bridge.
H&F council’s ruling Labour group said in August that it is “seeking to put a temporary ferry in place with local partners, possibly just for school children”. However, a spokesperson for TfL has said previously that ferries would not be practical because they would require new piers at a location where at low tide the river is very shallow and therefore they would need to extend a significant distance into the river. PoLA