Since 2000 there has been a network of wharves in London protected by Safeguarding Directions issued by the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government. These Directions require that the Mayor is consulted prior to the granting of planning permission on a Safeguarded Wharf. As set out in the current and draft London Plan, these wharves are safeguarded for the purposes of water-borne freight handling.
The network was expanded in 2005, and a review attempted in 2011-2013.
In 2018 the Mayor commenced a further review and is recommending some changes to the network.