Fulham RATS Report on Meeting about Super Sewer

Thames Water challenged over riverside construction plan

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Fulham RATS - Residents against Thames Sewer - turned out in force at a meeting held at St Matthews Church on Tuesday night, where they had the chance to question a panel about proposals to site a construction shaft for the Thames Tunnel, or super sewer, on Fulham's riverside.

Here is their report:

Nearly 200 local Fulham residents packed into St Matthews Church in Wandsworth Bridge Road last night for a highly-charged meeting to challenge Thames Water executives about the nomination of Carnwath Road Riverside as the alternative main construction site to Barn Elms in Putney for the proposed London-wide "super sewer".

The meeting was hosted and organised by PRARA (Peterborough Road and Area Residents Association) and was chaired by PRARA’s chair, Sue Oriel. Guest speaker was Thames Water’s Head of Tideway Tunnels, Phil Stride, and the panel also included RATSF's representative Nigel Henson.

Following a short presentation by Phil Stride on the tunnel project the meeting was opened to the floor. Questioner after questioner lined up to object angrily to the company’s proposal to dump a giant and hugely disruptive construction onto a tiny site squeezed in the middle of such a densely residential locality.

The vehemence of the questions made clear the strength of local community feeling about the loss of jobs on the local business park (which would have to be closed down to make way for the construction), the hugely increased heavy traffic and associated pollution and, above all, the misery for local residents closest around the site from a construction operation which would operate for more than six years, including 24-hour drilling for at least 18-months.

Summing up RATSF’ position at the end of the meeting, addressing Phil Stride directly, Nigel Henson said: " We have done all we can, in a constructive dialogue with Thames Water, to bring home to your company the folly of trying to put the site here at Carnwath Road.

" We have also compiled and presented our detailed, 34-page submission document which appraises our site specifically against all your company’s own site selection criteria. This shows unarguably that Carnwath Road would not only be a far more expensive site to develop than Barn Elms – and would therefore needlessly cost all Thames Water customers more - but would have an incomparably more damaging impact on the lives of local residents.

" You now have to decide – would you rather prioritise the interests of trees or people?”

The proposed tunnel will run for approximately 20 miles through London, and up to 75 metres beneath the River Thames, broadly following the path of the river. Along the way it will capture the flows of storm sewage from 34 sewer overflow points along the River Thames.

The council says this latest meeting comes just weeks before Lord Selborne’s independent commission – which is sponsored by five riverside boroughs including our own, and is examining ways of cleaning up the river – is due to make its final recommendations public.

Meanwhile Thames Water plans to to begin the second phase of its public consultation next month. You can read all the background to the project and the consultation on the website.




October 20, 2011

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