|H & F Council at War with Government over Super Sewer|
As plans for tunnel are referred to national planning body
The Department for Communities and Local Government has announced that plans for the Thames Tunnel, nicknamed the super sewer, are being referred to the Planning Inspectorate’s National Infrastructure Directorate.
The Department for Communities and Local Government said in spring this year that it regards the proposed tunnel to be a "nationally significant infrastructure project" when it issued a safeguarding direction to Hammersmith and Fulham Council over the site in Fulham which Thames Water has chosen as its preferred site for building an access shaft to the tunnel.
The direction prevents the council from granting permission for other projects on the site.
Hammersmith and Fulham Council has responded angrily to the announcement, arguing that it is totally inappropriate for the Government to class the Thames Tunnel super-sewer as nationally significant when it only covers a 20 mile long stretch of the River Thames and only Thames Water customers are paying for it.
"Why should 14million Thames Water customers pay £100 a year extra on top of our current water bills and have no say on how this project evolves?
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The council says the plans will be considered by the planning committee later in the year, and if the council was to grant planning permission, the final decision would be referred to the Government.
However, the Government appears to have already made its decision. The safeguarding direction from the DCLG states: " Put simply, the effect of this Direction is that, without specific authorisation from DCLG, your authority cannot grant planning permission on any application in respect of any land to which this Direction relates."
July 6, 2012