Clean Air Thames

Clean Air Thames

Active Dates: 2019 - 2022
Number of Project Partners: 5
Lead Borough: City of London Corporation
CRP Project Lead: Sefinat Otaru

About Clean Air Thames

Clean Air Thames is a three-year project funded by the Mayor’s Air Quality Fund (Round 3). The £500,000 project aims to demonstrate air quality improvements along the Tidal Thames by retrofitting inland commercial vessels with an after exhaust treatment.

The Tidal Thames carries more passengers and freight than any other inland UK waterway. Vessels using the river currently account for approximately one per cent of emissions across the Capital. However, this figure is projected to increase as road vehicle standards become stricter, and the use of the river expands. River operators need to reduce emissions to keep the Thames a healthy and pleasant space for river workers, passengers and visitors alike.

CRP has partnered with the Greater London Authority, Port of London Authority (PLA), and the City of London Corporation to deliver the project through March 2022. The project will provide match funding to retrofit of 6 – 11 commercial freight and passenger boats with an after exhaust treatment to reduce hazardous emissions, including particulate matter, nitrogen oxides and sulphur oxides by up to 90 per cent, as well as share lessons and best practices over the lifetime of the project. 

Operators can benefit from the program by:

  • Saving up to 50% on the cost of the retrofit
  • Preparing for future policy restrictions on emissions
  • Boosting their environmental commitments and targets 
  • Supporting requirements for the Thames Green Scheme
  • Contributing to the aims of the PLA Air Quality Strategy
  • Enhancing their public image
  • Joining an international community of operators tackling poor air quality

Project requirements

Following notification, successful applicants will be expected to

  • Retrofit their vessel with an after exhaust treatment to reduce noxious emissions using, for instance, selective catalytic reduction (SCR) or diesel particulate filters (DPF).
  • Make their vessel available before and after the retrofit to have the vessel’s exhaust monitored to gauge the effectiveness of the retrofit
  • Publicise their participation widely to various stakeholder groups
  • Participate in project workshops, sharing lessons learned with stakeholders

Applications for Round 1 of Clean Air Thames closed on 10 December 2019, and the first successful applicants were notified in January 2020.

“I made it my business to improve the environmental performance of our business. GPS Marines’ main selling points are that our services are cost-effective and significantly less environmentally damaging than road transport.”

John Spencer, Managing Director, GPS Marine Contractors Ltd
Clean Air Thames Round 1 Participant.

Applying for Round 2 funding:

Commercial operators may apply for match funding (up to 50%) to retrofit workboats or passenger vessels currently running on the Thames within Greater London. Please note that while an operator can apply for multiple vessels, one application per vessel is allowed. 

Operators may provide match funding in cash or kind (non-cash funding of free goods or services)

Costs will vary based on the vessel and engine type(s). Round 1 participants each requested £59,000 on average. Applicants must show at least two quotes for vessel retrofit costs, demonstrating the best value for money. 

Round 2 timeline

  • Applications open – 4 December 2020
  • Applications close – 12 February 2021
  • Funding recipients announced – March 2021
  • Retrofit, as well as pre- and post- monitoring – through February 2022
  • Project close – March 2022

To apply, please download the guidance document and application form to your computer (links below). The deadline to submit your application is 12 February 2020. Note: You cannot complete the form in your web browser (e.g. Edge, Chrome, Firefox). It must be completed in Adobe Acrobat or printed and completed manually.

For more information, please contact Clean Air Thames project manager, Sefinat Otaru.

Mayor's Air Quality Fund

Project Partners

City of London Corporation Mayor of London Port of London Transport for London Cross River Partnership

Useful Downloads & Links

Clean Air Thames Round 2 - Guidance Document
Guidance to be used in conjunction with Application Form
Clean Air Thames Round 2 - Application Form
Application form for Round 2 funding. Refer to Guidance Document when completing.
Press Release: £500,000 boost for greener vessels on the tidal Thames
Port of London Authority