PLANS have been submitted for a massive dock for ships using the Thames to deliver cement and aggregates for the 2012 London Olympics.
Newham Council has received an application from developer Capital & Provident to build Peruvian Wharf, a massive mixed use development on the north bank of the Thames. The site is at the bottom of the Lower Lea Valley, very close to the planned Olympic Park.
Initial plans for Peruvian Wharf were stymied by a demand from London mayor Ken Livingstone to retain cargo-handling capacity at 50 wharves along the Thames.
But the developer now hopes that by including a docking facility capable of handling up to 500,000 tonnes of aggregate and 1 million tonnes of cement annually the scheme will get the green light.
The dock could help alleviate a potential shortfall in capacity for delivering aggregates to the capital. London currently takes around 14 million tonnes of aggregates for its construction requirements but this expected to rise to 18 million tonnes with construction for the Olympics, Crossrail and various other regeneration schemes currently on site or in planning.
The situation could be further exacerbated by Crossrail, which requires land take along its route that could eliminate some of the major aggregate rail depots serving the city, potentially knocking 5 million tonnes off the total delivered by rail.
The Peruvian Wharf plans were welcomed by Jerry McLaughlin, director of economics and public affairs at the Quarry Products Association.
He said: 'There has always been an issue about wharf capacity. Wharves are important because a fair chunk of the aggregates used in London is marine dredged. There are a number of wharves on the Thames but they are now in competition with other land uses such as residential schemes that want riverside locations. This scheme manages to include riverside development while also maintaining or increasing docking for aggregates.' In 2003, 2.3 million tonnes of aggregate were landed at wharves in Greater London, with a further 2.8 million in Kent and 1.4 million tonnes in Essex.
But development at Peruvian Wharf could be attractive to planners as it would reduce the number of lorry journeys moving material through the capital to the major developments for the Olympics in the Lower Lea valley.