Skip to main content  

    Port Health boat on the Thames

    ​Watch the video about the Port Health Authority

The London Port Health Authority is the largest port health authority in the UK. We are responsible for all port health functions on the Thames, including the ports at:

  • Tilbury
  • London Gateway
  • Thamesport
  • Sheerness
  • London City Airport

Functions include:

  • imported food and feed controls
  • infectious disease controls
  • food safety and hygiene including water quality
  • shellfish controls
  • vessel inspections and issue of ship sanitation documentation
  • environmental controls

The Authority is registered against ISO 9001 for its imported food enforcement service.​

Our head office is in the City but there are local offices at Tilbury, Denton and London Gateway . You can find details of all our offices on our contacts page.

Port Health operates an emergency 24 hour service to report for infectious disease and illness on board ships and aircraft, the standby officer can be contacted on +44 (0) 7050 389861.

We use automated cargo handling systems and there is a 24-hour standby service for infectious disease control available every day of the year.

The district is divided into two divisions:

  • Tilbury and Upper Thames
  • Thamesport and Lower Thames

The Tilbury and Manorway House offices at Stanford le Hope serve the London Gateway port and deal with imported food. The Denton office deals with shellfish control work and is the base for the launch service.

The district also includes, to the south, the lower reaches of the River Medway with the ports of Queenborough and Ridham Dock and to the north, parts of the River Crouch, the River Roach and its tributaries.

Cargo handling operations continue 24 hours per day, seven days per week at Tilbury and Thamesport and Port Health cover is maintained on a shift basis throughout a 14 hour period on weekdays.

Staff of the London Port Health Authority include:

  • Port Health and Public Protection Director who is based at Walbrook Wharf in the City of London
  • Local Port Health Managers
  • Port Health Officers
  • Official Veterinarians
  • Technical Officers
  • Port Health Assistants
  • Support Assistants

The staff work at various offices in the district, together with launch crew who operate the Authority's launches, "Lady Aileen" and "Londinium III", a Rigid Inflatable Boat (RIB), a smaller RIB and a work boat.

We use the services of public analysts, consultants in communicable disease control and Boarding Medical Officers. We also use the services of Public Health England.

Working with the Port of London Authority

We work closely with the Port of London Authority (PLA) which is responsible for navigational safety and related matters on the 150km (95 miles) of the tidal Thames from the sea to Teddington in west London.

The PLA provides navigational, pilotage and other services for users of the Thames.

It is one of the largest ports in the UK and handles around 40 million tonnes of cargo each year. The PLA comprises over 70 specialised terminals and port facilities at different locations capable of handling a wide range of cargoes.

It has a busy passenger boat trade for tourists and commuters; it is a popular destination for international passenger cruise ships. The tidal Thames is also used widely by those with small recreational craft of many types. Further information can be viewed on the PLA website.