|Fury in Fulham as Thames Water Chooses Carnwath Road for Super Sewer Site|
Campaigners threaten "direct action protests" over proposed tunnel shaft
Campaigners in Fulham have reacted with fury to the news that Thames Water has chosen Carnwath Road on Fulham's riverside as its preferred site for the construction of an access shaft to the Thames Tunnel, or super sewer as it is widely known.
Its decision, switching focus from Barn Elms across the river, is revealed in revised plans for the Thames Tunnel, published today ahead of a Phase 2 14 week public consultation.
Fulham RATS - Residents Against the Sewer in Fulham - have issued a statement condemning the decision and threatening to take "direct action protests".
They have released a statement today saying:
" Furious Fulham anti- super sewer site campaigners have vowed to fight on following Thames Water’s
" Two local groups, Residents Against the Sewer in Fulham (RATSF) and Peterborough Road & Area
The groups have accused Thames Water of caving in to improper political pressure to choose a
Ann Rosenberg Bell, spokeswoman for RATSF and RARA, says: " This decision stinks of political
" So it’s a bad deal for Thames Water customers, who are going to have to foot the entire inflated bill for this questionable and hugely disruptive scheme, and a terrible injustice for the community of South Fulham. Thames Water know it, and they know we know it.
Up to now we have endeavoured to engage with Thames Water in a constructive,
Hammersmith & Fulham MP Greg Hands says: " The news that Thames Water now prefers
" This is not a final decision, however, and I will continue to fight for an alternative to be found to sewerage problems in the Thames. We have lost this significant battle, but the war is not over on this."
Thames Water explains its decision to name Carnwatch Road as the proposed location for one of the main tunnel drive sites as follows:
Carnwath Road Riverside in Fulham. Whiffin Wharf, Hurlingham Wharf and Carnwath Road Industrial Estate have together replaced Barn Elms Playing Fields, the previously preferred site on the Richmond/Wandsworth border.
This change has the benefit of using brownfield land rather than greenfield. Other factors influencing the switch include the need to reduce potentially serious health and safety risks to river users during the construction phase.
The location of the Carnwath Road sites, downstream of Putney Bridge, also means fewer, larger barges could be used to transport materials from the site. A further benefit would be bringing the safeguarded Hurlingham Wharf back into use, in line with the aims of the London Plan.
Using the Carnwath Road sites would also: avoid the need to divert a busy section of the Thames Path, prevent the temporary loss of a number of well-used sports pitches, and still allow the local council’s proposals for new development to regenerate the South Fulham Riverside area.
Should Thames Water go ahead with its decision, companies based in the industrial estate, including Topps Tiles and Howdens Joinery, will be forced to move elsewhere.
Phil Stride, Head of London Tideway Tunnels at Thames Water, says: " We have been working hard to refine our original plans, where possible, in the light of the concerns people have raised with us. This has resulted in some significant changes, also reflecting our absolute determination to balance overall disruption with the equally important need to ensure that the price tag remains affordable for our customers.
Hammersmith and Fulham Council, which is campaigning against the entire Thames Tunnel project, is giving its backing the RATS. Cllr Stephen Greenhalgh, H&F Council Leader says:" Blighting the lives of thousands of Fulham residents, threatening homes, jobs and local schools - not to mention the disruption on our roads - for six years is outrageous. We will continue to defend residents' and water bill payers' interests by highlighting the sensible alternatives to cleaning up the Thames that do exist."
Earlier this week a commission led by Lord Selborne and sponsored by five London councils, including Hammersmith and Fulham, recommended a rethink on the planned Thames Tunnel, proposing instead a shorter tunnel with added green solutions.
Thames Water however have dismissed their findings, saying the commission has failed to find a credible alternative.
November 4, 2011