Over 200 people, including members and stakeholders from a wide range of sectors, enjoyed the summer networking event which was held besides the Thames in the House of Commons on 5 July.
Chris Baines, TEP’s President, opened the event by acknowledging the huge support that TEP enjoys at senior level from people with a passion for the estuary. This combined with their deep knowledge of the river he said enables a “joined-up ness” for a very complex community.
Matt Kuhn, TEAM2100 Programme Director from Jacobs, reminded us that in 1957 the Natural History Museum pronounced the Thames as biologically dead.
Now it has been transformed into an asset but he urged us not to be complacent and described his company’s involvement on the river – working in partnership to reduce pollution by helping to deliver the Tideway Tunnel and also on flood defences as part of the Thames Estuary Asset Management Programme TEAM 2100.
Anusha Shah, TEP’s Chair, highlighted TEP’s role in being at the forefront of driving key partnerships and projects for decades and being a ‘knowledge hub’ for the Thames.
She noted that climate change and a growing population are the key challenges London faces and stressed the importance of building stronger cross-sector partnerships in future in order to help achieve “joined up solutions”.
She emphasised the need to breakdown silos and said since water resilience, flooding, energy, transport, technology, environment and people’s well-being are inter-related, these need to be worked on as one programme to make London a true smart city.
Anusha also thanked members and TEP’s core supporters for enabling TEP to undertake its meaningful work of connecting people, ideas and organisations for a resilient and prosperous Thames.
The speeches culminated with Jim Fitzpatrick, MP for Poplar and Limehouse, awarding TEP’s second fellowship to Robin Mortimer, Chief Executive of the Port of London Authority (PLA), for his exceptional work in championing an improved environment for the Thames.
The vision Robin has created puts partnership at its heart and key achievements to date include more prominence for the estuary in the mayor’s London Plan and the launch of the first air quality strategy for the Thames. The PLA is also working with a range of organisations to get the river on the radar of young people from diverse backgrounds thinking about their careers.
After the speeches there was plenty of time to connect and to explore new business opportunities – as well as to enjoy the stunning views of the river.
A future date for your diaries. TEP’s annual event is on 14 November and Sir John Armitt, Chair of the Thames Estuary 2050 Growth Commission, is the keynote speaker.