A warm reception at the Thames Vision Conference 2020

A bitter winter’s morning towards the end of January 2020 found me standing on a train platform in Bedford at 6.30 am in the morning. Two things were going through my mind. How do people do this day in a day out? And, this conference is important so don’t be late.

I wasn’t late and I wasn’t disappointed. This was a well organised conference and there were many interesting speakers. The central topic introduced by the Port of London Authority’s (PLA) CEO Robin Mortimer was about becoming carbon neutral. It’s a big subject and one that is hard to crack especially when you consider the irony that ¼ of the port’s imports are fossil fuels.

The speakers spoke well and were probably well salaried. Many of the audience however were there on their own coin. I’m sceptical of being told what’s what by people who make PowerPoint presentations for a living. But I was pleased by their honesty in saying that they didn’t have a solution and they couldn’t foretell the future.

But before I go on a rant here are just few facts.

  • 2015-2019 were the hottest on record – with more than average rain in the winter and less in the summer
  • 13% of our species are at risk of extinction
  • Natural Capital Accounting is a way of putting nature on the balance sheet and can help with investment decisions
  • 2/3 of the mussels on the Thames are not native to the UK and thrive because of warmer temperatures – this affects the whole ecology of the river

The PLA, I feel, genuinely want to help put things right. They want more traffic on the Thames and less on the roads. River traffic is less polluting road traffic. They want to double up on this by making the river traffic none polluting by using electric motors or hydrogen.

It’s good thinking but I bet that the people who make PowerPoints for a living won’t be able to break away from their usual security blanket suppliers and get something that is less than it could be later than we need it.

The EBA is full of original thinkers. People who have paddled against the tide for many years. And we’ve done this hamstrung by limited budgets.

Robin Mortimer please call us. Then would you please give us some money, enough to cover our cost. We can and will help. We’d make an excellent sounding board.

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