Kicking Up A Stink

LBH&F calls for cross-capital support against 'super-sewer'

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A petition to oppose Thames Water’s plan build a 'super-sewer' to improve water quality in the Thames has been launched. Hammersmith & Fulham Council is against the scheme and is calling for cross-London support.

In a letter to London Councils, which acts on behalf of all 33 local authorities in London, Council Leader Stephen Greenhalgh said, “We cannot afford to allow this appalling assault on the well-being of Londoners to be perpetrated.”.

The aim of the project is to improve further water quality in the Thames which is still used for dumping sewage when the existing system gets overloaded. The 18 mile long septic tank costing £2.5 billion would be one of the largest construction projects ever undertaken in London and the 100 foot wide entrance shaft would be one of the main points of access for construction vehicles and materials. It is anticipated that there would be eight years of disruption around the site.

Originally Thames Water had considered using a site near Homefields Recreation Park in Chiswick by the A4 but this was ruled out as impractical after initial studies. They then decided that a site in Hammersmith and Fulham would be the most suitable with Ravenscourt Park and Furnival Gardens being considered. Thames Water refuses to name a site and simply states ‘all options remain open’.

Hammersmith and Fulham Council said that the project entrance point should be in Dukes Meadows in Chiswick but an angry response seems to have prompted them to come out in outright opposition to the scheme

Cllr Greenhalgh said he fully accepts the need to prevent sewage seeping into the Thames, but said this plan is ‘not sustainable’. He said, “While I don’t want to see raw sewage at all in the Thames, this benefit needs to be considered against the much greater environmental impact of eight years of major construction, severe traffic congestion in neighbouring roads and the substantial loss of green space.”

Cllr Greenhalgh added that over the last 20 years there have been enormous efforts to clean up the Thames. “It is now generally acknowledged as one of the cleanest metropolitan rivers in the world.”

He is calling for a debate on other solutions to the problem of sewage seepage, including separating surface water drainage from foul sewage, which he says, would boost reserve water supplies at a times when the Thames Gateway development is expected to increase demand by 8 per cent.

“We are not engineers, but we must look at other solutions to this problem,” said Councillor Greenhalgh. “The environmental benefits need to be weighed up against the environmental consequences of bulldozing a treasured open space with eight years of construction misery which would result in west London’s traffic grinding to a halt.”

Super-sewer petition


September 19, 2008