This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government
Fact finding visit to the Port of London Authority's Port Control Centre at Gravesend.
Date filmed: 28 June 2010
Narrator: The Port of London is the second largest port by tonnage in the UK and it plays an important role within the economy of London and the south east. The Port of London Authority (PLA) is the harbour and pilotage authority responsible for the safety of navigation on the tidal Thames, from Teddington Lock in the west to the Outer Thames Estuary in the east - a total of 95 miles. When Minister for Shipping Mike Penning made a fact-finding visit to the PLA’s Port Control Centre at Gravesend, he was met at the Tilbury landing stage by a Harbour Master launch, one of several vessels that patrol the river 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Once in the control centre, the minister saw first-hand how the PLA’s vessel traffic services ensure safe, efficient and carefully co-ordinated vessel movements.
Mike Penning, Minister for Shipping: As the minister for shipping, I need to know and have the confidence that everything’s being looked after, for instance on the Thames - and that, I’ve been shown today, is overwhelmingly true. They are fantastic and I’m very, very proud of them. We must make sure it’s safe; also for people to have fun and pleasure on the river, and to make sure that we are an economically vibrant area along the Thames.
Narrator: The minister then boarded a purpose-built craft that can provide a prompt response to oil spills between Tower Bridge and Canvey Island. Funded in part by the terminals that handle oil and oil products, it’s managed by the authority and on standby 24 hours a day.