Category Archives: Our Voice

Musicians and Spoken Word Artists Apply by 26 May to Perform Under Tower Bridge

Two exciting opportunities are now open to perform at this year’s Bascule Chamber Concerts. The Bascule Chambers is the unique and atmospheric subterranean space in Tower Bridge where the bridge’s huge counterweights swing down as the bridge above ascends. 



The Bascule Chambers team want to hear your ideas for creating and performing a new 4-6 minute work that responds to the atmospheric underground space inside Tower Bridge.


Spoken Word Artists, Performance Poets

This is an opportunity for you to create new spoken word work –  two 2-3 minute pieces – to perform live at the concert in between the music repertoire.


Find out More


New cycling and walking strategy wins £1 billion funding


The Department of Transport (DoT) has announced plans to oversee £1 billion of funding over the next five years investment in cycling and walking, for distribution to local bodies

The DoT stated, “We want to make cycling and walking the natural choices for shorter journeys, or as part of a longer journey.”  This new aim is the result of a consultation last year on a new cycling and walking strategy for England. The report expands on the goals it envisages the government ambition for England in this field, recaps on what has been achieved to date and sets out a strategy framework to achieve this ambition.

The  idea behind this initiative is to encourage walking and cycling as part of our everyday lives, will reduce the cost of travel and improve health for individuals. It will lead to lower congestion, improved air quality and make possible healthier and  more active communities.

The (DoT) report recognised that to achieve these goals, cycling and walking needs to be seen “as safe, normal and an enjoyable way to travel”.

The report sees the strategy being worked out at a local level with the help of third sector organisations.

Guidance has been published on the creation of Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plans to help stakeholders to identify local issues and implement local solutions, also to make the best use of such aids as the Propensity to Cycle Tool.

The report also confirmed that an Independent Expert Committee of six to eight members, including a Chair, would review the strategy, aid partnerships, and advise on future phases.  The committee will be supported by a Delivery Unit hosted within the DoT.

Various case studies were used in the report to show what can be achieved in a local area. For example, Cycle Southend Bikeability recentl gave children cycling lessons and doubled the number of children cycling to school each week in the area.

It is hoped that the fresh strategy will change attitudes to walking and cycling,  using a multi-layered approach.

The strategy document can be found:


To support the strategy the government has also published:

A government response to the consultation on the draft Strategy, Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy: Investment Inputs, Outputs and Outcomes.

The Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy: Information leaflet for members of the public.

The Guidance on the creation of Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plans can be found here:

Written by TEP member Catherine Quinn

May 2017





Coastal Communities Fund – impressive achievements in 2016

Andrew Percy, Under Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, introduced the third annual progress report 2016 of the Coastal Communities Fund, founded in 2012.

Here is a slightly edited version of Andrew Percy’s comments. For the full report:

“The third progress report describes the Fund’s impressive achievements across the UK since its launch in 2012. It shows the varied ways our coastal communities have risen to the challenges they face, transforming and diversifying their economies, whilst promoting their traditional assets.

“The Coastal Communities Fund provides a targeted source of help to seaside towns. This has allowed it to support many exciting and innovative projects that support jobs and growth in coastal areas, but which don’t always satisfy the funding criteria of other often much larger funding programmes.

“Furthermore, the report shows that the achievements of the Fund are creating a momentum – attracting high quality projects that are bringing real and sustainable benefits to coastal communities throughout the UK.

“The extension of the Coastal Communities Fund for another four years to 2020-21 with at least £90 million available, and the creation of 146 Coastal Community Teams in England will help seaside towns and coastal areas achieve even more success in the years ahead.

“The Government is committed to helping coastal communities flourish and strengthen their appeal as places to live, work and visit.

“The Fund is an important part of the Government’s wider efforts to promote local growth and to create an economy that works for everyone.

“From Amble to Anglesey, Rathlin Island to Kilkeel, and from Brighton to Bute, more than 200 projects have been awarded grants which are predicted to safeguard or create up to 18,000 new jobs and attract over £200 million in co-funding.

“Coastal tourism has regained its position as England’s largest holiday sector and is now worth £8 billion annually.

“With one third of all domestic overnight trips to the coast there is huge potential for our Great British and Northern Ireland Coast to thrive all year round.”

“Floatable” housing development to aid flood alleviation

Can-float residential properties beside a major river before a flood event.


Floodline Developments, a UK property developer, promotes housing development that can rise and fall with the water level; their developments are on and around lakes that retain floodwater from local rivers and streams in order to alleviate flood flow downstream.


This means that houses can be developed in flood zones, without raising them on plinths that displace floodwater and require substantial ramps and steps for access. More than 20,000 homes in the Netherlands are already built as “can-float” or are fully floating.


The “can-float” design concept that Floodline is pursuing is distinct from fully floating designs; they construct two-storey houses on buoyant, hollow, concrete “raft” basements contained within concrete basins; the buildings are able to rise and fall on vertical guide piles when the concrete basins flood.


Can-float residential properties during a flood event.

Entry to the houses is provided by means of sliding ramps with flexible utility connections – these adjust to the rise of water level, in a similar way to pontoon docks.

Join a competition to make London the first National Park City by 19 May

In partnership with Time Out London, London National Park City is calling for artists, designers, illustrators, cartographers, film-makers, developers, architects and landscape architects to enter a competition to visualise London as the world’s first National Park City.

The Thames Estuary Partnership’s Director Pat Fitzsimons is on the judging panel.

The idea of the competition is to attract the best ideas for achieving the aim of making London a National Park City.

Submission Deadline for entries (to include images and artwork): 23:59 BST Friday 19 May 2017.

Judging will take place: 19 – 26 May 2017.

The National Park Idea is about protecting and improving London’s existing green and blue spaces and developing other outdoor spaces to ensure that all Londoners have easy and free access to high-quality green space and to boost London’s biodiversity.

A defining element of the National Park City is that it pays attention to nature and to the potential for nature within the built environment.

When you take part in this competition, dream the possible, knowing that your ideas may transform how Londoners live, work and play.

Your ideas do not just have to be for future urban developments but could involve re-imaginations of London’s current cityscape.

Your ideas could be small scale and that could have a big impact on Londoners’ lives. The ideas could be very different – transformative and on a large scale. It’s up to you!



The London National Park City draws from the values of the UK’s rural National Parks –  better conservation, better enjoyment and better economy –  and extends these values into the cities.

The initiative is about transforming London’s entire habitat. It’s about seeing the gardens, streets, rivers, buildings and parks as one landscape.T

The aim is to have all Londoners to benefit from the National Park City, but also to contribute to it.

The initiative hopes to inspire and educate Londoners, persuading them to get outdoors by stimulating an immense variety of exciting and imaginative activities and grasping new opportunities.

It will enhance the quality of life in London and make it a more attractive place for activities of all kinds, including business and investment.

As the world’s first National Park City, London’s brand and its place as a global city should be enhanced.



You are invited to imagine London at any scale:

  • What ‘micro-greening’ (e.g. a single balcony) can give a home to wildlife?
  • Can a commuter route become a ‘green corridor’?
  • How could a high-rise block enable children to play outdoors easily?
  • What plans for streetscapes, neighbourhoods, or even London’s entire watershed could transform London lifestyles and address London’s challenges?
  • Plans could include air quality, biodiversity, road congestion, community cohesion, mental health, and childhood obesity.


The process


Submission Deadline: 23:59 BST Friday 19 May 2017.
Judging: 19 – 26 May 2017.


Submissions should be in English.

Please send your artwork to

Images must be high resolution 300 dpi with a short description of the work. They can be any size, but consider that if selected, most people will see the image either on a computer screen or printed in a newspaper or magazine.

If your file is large, use Dropbox, or another appropriate service, and email a link to the file.

By submitting any images you give London National Park City permission to publish them with full acknowledgements on its website and to share them with the media for republication.


Entries will be judged on:

  • How well the vision embodies the spirit of the National Park City idea.
  • How inspirational the vision is.
  • Whether the vision can be replicated or scale-able.
  • The quality of the image.

The judging panel will comprise a range of experts and National Park City Foundation Trustees including Pat Fitzsimons (Thames Estuary Partnership), Will Self, Andrew Grant (Grant Associates), Gemma Ginty (Future Cities Catapult), Alison Prendiville (London College of Communication), Steve Head (Wildlife Gardening Forum), Pat Fitzsimons (Thames Estuary Partnership), Ben Smith (AECOM), Judy Ling Wong (Black Environment Network).


A small number of entrants will be awarded prizes for their work in the form of exposure in London Time Out magazine, in London National Park City’s marketing and communications, and will be promoted to professional and popular media publications from June.

Many of the entries will be published in a gallery on the London National Park City website.

Eligibility & participants

This competition is open internationally to professionals and students from architecture, landscape architecture, urban and regional planning, environmental planning, graphic, product and media design, cartography, photography, film, the visual arts and similar fields.

Submissions are welcomed from organisations, teams or individuals.
Find out more about London as a National Park City

For inspiration, explore this website to learn more about what it would mean for London to be a National Park City.

Find out more about the aims of the London National Park City campaign on this website.

There are some useful FAQs here.

Tweet any questions to @LondonNPC #NationalParkCity.



The Past, The Present, The Future 1917-2017 – Seafarers UK

Catherine Quinn

One hundred years of supporting seafarers and their families

This year is the charity Seafarers UK’s centenary year and it is celebrating with various activities and events, holding a Seafarers’ Awareness Week 24-30 June.

There are 630,000 former UK seafarers and the charity’s brief is to support the maritime community which it has been doing since 1917.

Seafarers UK gives money to organisations and projects that impact on people’s lives, across the merchant navy, fishing fleets, the Royal Navy and the Royal Marines.

As an island nation, 95% of everything we import comes by sea, including food and fuel.  The maritime industry is vital to our economy and it relies on the dedication of seafarers working in often harsh and unpredictable seas.

The charity has produced a brochure commemorating and celebrating the service, dedication and hard work of seafarers. It highlights some of the people from its archives who have contributed to its proud history dating back to the First World War. It was supported by George V and has long associations with H M the Queen as patron and HRH The Earl of Wessex KG GCVO as president.

Three special Centenary projects will be launched:

PAST Supporting older and ex-seafarers with a significant grant to help complete the building of Mariners’ Park in Wallasey.

PRESENT Supporting serving seafarers by partnering with the Merchant Navy Welfare Board and others in the International Port. Welfare Project, to establish high standards of facilities in all the major ports of the world replicating those available in the UK.

FUTURE Supporting future seafarers by partnering with the Marine Society and Sea Cadets to provide a fleet of trailers to tour schools for a Marine Engineering Pathway. These provide taster sessions and may award basic engineering qualifications to youngsters.

Seafarers Awareness Week – 24 – 30 June 2017 promoting: Sea Ports for Prosperity” and Maritime Jobs at Sea and Ashore.

For more information on the centenary please follow this link. | Here is a link to the charity’s home page.


A TEP boat trip for upcoming documentary, The Living Thames

Jane McChrystal writes about a City Cruise boat trip on the Thames to raise funds for TEP’s upcoming documentary, The Living Thames.

I was lucky enough to join a party of around 90 people and climb aboard, courtesy of Thames boat operator City Cruise which provided its MV Westminster, moored at Tower Pier.

It was a perfect day for cruising, bright and sunny with gentle breezes, so we all headed for the deck in search of the best place to enjoy our views of London from the River Thames as we sailed along.


We were there at the invitation of TEP to raise funding for the post production costs of making Dorothy Leiper’s film, The Living Thames.

The film is presented by TEP’s president, environmentalist Chris Baines, and it shows the work of the many people and organisations who ensure that the Thames continues to sustain all those who live, work and play by the river, through the careful management of its waters, berths and bank sides.

The film reveals the diverse aquatic life which teems beneath the muddy-looking surface of the tidal Thames on its course from Teddington to Southend, where it joins the North Sea. The aim is to reconnect people with the capital’s river so that they can get to know it in the same way as earlier generations of Londoners, many of whom depended on it for their livelihood and transport.

Everyone on board had a keen interest in the ecology and conservation of the tidal Thames and we were all excited about making a journey which took in views such as Tower Bridge, the Tower of London, Wren’s Old Royal Naval College at Greenwich, and the Thames barrier.  Some of us were also familiar with the converted warehouses which line the banks at Wapping, Rotherhithe and Limehouse, as they shelter some of London’s most historical pubs: The Captain Kidd, The Prospect of Whitby, The Mayflower and The Grapes.



We were joined by a panel of enthusiastic speakers who shared their extensive knowledge of the marine ecology and archaeology of the Thames without baffling us with any thing too technical.

Archaeologist, Dr. Fiona Haughey, brought along a box of intriguing artefacts found along the foreshore of the river which included a Mesolithic stone hand axe, the jaw-bone of an unidentified fish, a Roman weight used for trapping fish and a small, contemporary figure of the Hindu God, Ganesh, with his elephant head.



She emphasised the importance of connecting with the past to enhance our understanding of the modern city. Many of our London ancestors projected their hopes onto coins and sacred items which they launched into the Thames in hopes of harnessing its powers to fulfil their wishes, just as Hindus today drop votive offerings into the river.

Steve Colclough, Independent Aquatic consultant and a rare specialist in estuarine ecology, talked about the Thames with its strong tides, making an ideal environment for juvenile fish, or fry, to mature as they make their way upriver and then back down to the sea. The river is essential to the life-cycle of the dover sole, sea bass and smelt in our seas.

Sixty years after the tidal Thames was declared biologically dead it has become home to 125 forms of aquatic life and receives regular visits from seals, dolphins and harbour porpoises. This transformation has been brought about by the rapid de-industrialisation of the Thames, improved treatment of sewage, tighter regulation of the use of fertilisers and the tireless efforts of organisations such as TEP.

Steve and Chris Baines described the essential role TEP has played in revitalising the Thames, by working with developers to ensure that their projects don’t harm wild life and, in some cases improve their conditions, for example by creating salt-marsh environments by the river.

Amy Pryor, marine scientist and TEP’s Project Manager, told us that the presence of plastics in the Thames remains a significant threat to the welfare of river life. In 2016 TEP launched a campaign, #oneless, as part of a coalition of organisations working to reduce single-use plastic water bottles in London, many of which end up in the river, and it is already showing signs of becoming a success.

Our river cruise took us past the construction site of the Tideway super sewer at the King Edward Memorial Park, Wapping.

The Thames Tideway Tunnel, is being built at 23 sites along the river, stretching from Richmond to Deptford.

When ready in 2023, discharge of untreated sewage into the Thames should be a thing of the past.


Once completed, the tunnel will play a major part in guaranteeing a future for tidal Thames wild life which is looking much promising now than it has in the past.

Dorothy Leiper’s Living Thames will be screened at film festivals and shown in community centres. Free copies of the film will be distributed to London schools.

The Tudor Pull – an ancient ceremony carried out by the Watermen

In April the Queen’s row barge ‘Gloriana’ was rowed by members of the Company of Watermen and Lightermen, and escorted by craft provided by the City Livery Companies on the Thames, from Hampton Court to the Tower of London.

Why? They were taking part in a ceremony which takes place each year, transporting the Stela (a ceremonial piece of wood or metal) to the Tower for safekeeping.

This ceremony is known as The Tudor Pull and is organised by the Thames Traditional Rowing Association.

At Hampton Court Palace the Stela was given in to the custody of the Queen’s barge master and was transported to the Tower of London, via Teddington lock, Richmond and following the Thames through central London til the barge reached the Tower, where the Stela was presented to the Governor.

The cutters (sailing boats) were rigged with full ceremonial canopies and flags, and rowed with four oars by fully-liveried crews. In keeping with the traditions of the Watermen’s cutters, there were passengers on board.

What can you do to reduce marine plastic pollution?

What can you do to help plastic marine pollution? Plastic Ocean Foundation tells you how.

Help raise awareness of plastic pollution – just talking about it with your friends, relatives and colleagues will help them and your community understand the issues.

Don’t buy bottled water, drink tap water and carry your own reusable bottle – join the #OneLess campaign which encourages using just one water bottle.

Take a filter bottle when travelling in places where tap water may be contaminated e.g.

Take your own reusable coffee cup to a shop and ask for a discount from the vendor.  Sadly coffee cups and lids are rarely recycled because of the plastic or wax components and inadequate industrial facilities.

Check out stylish alternatives to coffee in the high street, like KeepCup or Ecoffee Cup. Check online for cafes which provide a discount like delicatessen Hammond’s on Kew Bridge Rd, Kew which gives a 33% discount on their coffee if you bring your own reusable coffee cup.

Choose products that aren’t wrapped in plastic –  loose pieces of fruit and vegetables.

Help raise awareness of plastic pollution – just talking about it with your friends, relatives and colleagues will help them and your community understand the issues.

Don’t buy bottled water, drink tap water and carry your own reusable bottle – join the #OneLess campaign which encourages using just one water bottle.

Take a filter bottle when travelling in places where tap water may be contaminated e.g.

Take your own reusable coffee cup to a shop and ask for a discount from the vendor.  Sadly coffee cups and lids are rarely recycled because of the plastic or wax components and inadequate industrial facilities.

Check out stylish alternatives to coffee in the high street, like KeepCup or Ecoffee Cup. Check online for cafes which provide a discount like delicatessen Hammond’s on Kew Bridge Rd, Kew which gives a 33% discount on their coffee if you bring your own reusable coffee cup.

Choose products that aren’t wrapped in plastic –  loose pieces of fruit and vegetables.

Your local farmers’ market and fruit and veg stall often provide paper bags rather than plastic and you will enjoy seasonal, home grown, fresh produce.

Take your own reusable bag shopping, avoid single use plastic bags and the 5p charge. In small shops where the charge doesn’t apply, let them know you don’t need plastic bags.

Skip the straw! Refuse plastic drinking straws in your drinks or take your own. You can find reusable straws at places like eco-straws or Etsy.

Recycle the plastic that you do use and find out what you can and cannot recycle from your local council here.

TerraCycle is also an innovative company that reuses, upcycles and recycles typically hard-to recycle waste, like cigarette butts, offering alternatives to landfill and incineration.

Avoid buying cosmetics and toothpastes that contain microbeads. Find out more at www.Beat the micro

Use matches or refillable lighters rather than ‘disposable’ lighters.

If you smoke put your cigarette butts in a bin, not on the ground – or even better, send cigarette butts to TerraCycle.

Choose cotton, wool and other non-synthetic fabrics to reduce releasing polyester micro-fibres into the environment from your washing machine.

If you have synthetic clothes use a shorter wash, which sheds fewer fibres.

Report overflowing bins and litter in areas near to rivers and canals to your local council with the Keep Britain Tidy App. Write directly to the leader of the council with a respectful message and photo requesting that they keep these areas clean so that pollution doesn’t pollute the waterways.

Help clean up the Thames – join a shoreline clean-up with Thames21 or paddle and pick with Active360 stand up paddle boarding and Watertrek. (See video below taken by a TEP volunteer).

Keep informed and sign petitions to governments and manufacturers that promote a more sustainable future for plastics – check the Plastic Ocean news page for emerging petitions.

Donate to Plastic Oceans Foundation or Watertrek. Every drop counts and your donation allows us to build our current and future projects, increasing impacts and reach through protecting marine environments and producing creative environmental education.

Please consider giving back to the environment by donting time and/or money Watertrek or Plastic Oceans Foundation.

Keep up to date via


TEP project shortlisted for Tesco’s ‘Bags of Help’ grants

 The Thames Estuary Partnership is hoping to bag a grant thanks to Tesco’s ‘Bags of Help’ initiative.

Tesco teamed up with the charity Groundwork to launch its community funding scheme. The scheme gives grants –  all raised from the 5p bag levy –  of £4,000, £2,000 and £1,000  – for local community projects.

Three groups in every Tesco region have been shortlisted to receive the cash award and shoppers are being invited to go to Tesco stores to vote for who they think should take away the top grant.

TEP is one of the groups on the shortlist with its project The Living Thames. The project involves taking young people on an eye-opening boat trip on the Thames to experience its wonders, encourage them to fall in love with it, and therefore take better care of it. This idea was successfully piloted with the young people and their families who live along the Thames in East London.

Voting for projects is open in stores throughout May and June. Customers will cast their vote using a token given to them at the check-out in-store each time they shop.

Tesco’s Bags of Help project has already delivered over £28.5 million to more than 4,000 projects up and down the UK. Tesco customers get the chance to vote for three different groups every time they shop. Every other month, when votes are collected, three groups in each of Tesco’s regions will be awarded funding.

Lindsey Crompton, head of community at Tesco, said:

 “We are delighted to open the voting for May and June. There are some fantastic projects on the shortlists and we can’t wait to see them come to life in hundreds of communities.”

Groundwork’s national chief executive, Graham Duxbury, said:

 “We’ve been thrilled to see the diversity of projects that have applied for funding, ranging from outdoor classrooms, sports facilities, community gardens, play areas and everything in between.

We’re looking forward to learning the results of the customer vote and then supporting each group to bring their project to life.”


To find out more visit Funding is available to community groups and charities looking to fund local projects that bring benefits to communities. Anyone can nominate a project and organisations can apply online.