To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans he has for promoting greater use of the River Thames for (a) passenger and (b) freight traffic; what estimate he has made of the amount of (i) passenger and (ii) freight traffic on the River Thames in each year since 1990; and if he will make a statement.
The Environment Agency is working with Sea and Water, the Inland Waterways Advisory Council and the Association of Inland Navigation Authorities to further the potential for the growth of freight across their waterways.
The Environment Agency promotes the River Thames as a leisure destination through a tourism marketing partnership under the River Thames brand. It promotes passenger boats as a leisure experience and an alternative form of transport through this partnership.
The Environment Agency is the navigation authority for the non-tidal River Thames (source to Teddington) and registered the following number of passenger boats for use on the non-tidal Thames from 1990 to 2008.
The Environment Agency started monitoring passenger boat movements through locks (traffic) in 2004. The figures are shown in the following table:
The Environment Agency does not specifically monitor freight traffic as this is currently negligible on the non-tidal Thames.