Not so super sewer

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Not so super sewer

By Ann Rosenberg

Thursday November 8, 2012

The real story with Thames Water’s ‘super sewer’ is the residents who face being re-homed like cats and dogs. The effect on their lives will be catastrophic especially if they have school age children. One of my neighbours is threatening not to leave, even though his block of flats may be demolished. The area around Carnwath Road is a close knit community and includes old people in poor health. It’s frightening and deeply distressing for them.

In many cases these are people who are trapped as they have no money to move away. They are being treated like cattle – as they are an inconvenience. The housing associations who own some blocks of flats were apparently in the dark when the announcement was made that Thames Water has offered to re-home people living very close to the site. The closest is a block of flats for the disabled. So the physical and mental anguish these people will suffer is enormous.

The other fact is that for Thames Water to make such an admission at this late stage is cause for grave concern. They are supposed to have done an impact assessment and they told everyone who expressed their concerns at the consultation sessions  last spring that there would be nothing to worry about as they would ensure that noise and pollution levels would be minimal and within regulations. So they were economical with the truth and misled the public. This calls into question all their other assurances which now need close scrutiny. Frankly for a company of this size this is outrageous.

The other point is their sheer arrogance. They have a problem so they think they can solve it by throwing money at it. Our money! They really have to be taken to task on this.

Thames Water is a private utility company who need to be challenged now.  The cost is escalating - currently £4.1billion - and they probably feel that they are too big to fail and the government will bail them out if they get into trouble as the whole project is underwritten by the Treasury. They are putting a levy of £80 a year on every Thames Water customer’s bill forever and will start taking money from their 11.5million customers in a couple of years time – for what? We will be paying for something that does not exist. The tunnel is not due to be completed until 2023. Many elderly customers will be paying for something they will not live to see in operation.

Thames Water will gain an asset which they will own – paid for by us taxpayers and the benefits will be paid to their shareholders. Also Thames Water paid no corporation tax last year, but paid out handsome dividends to their overseas shareholders.

The government must take some responsibility for supporting this scheme which is seriously flawed, and which should be shelved in order to investigate Green infrastructure which is a cheaper and more effecting solutions to London’s rain water runoff problem. It won’t disrupt communities either. Do you know that London’s annual average rainfall is just 27 inches? And we are being asked to foot the £12billion bill for this? The real cost of the tunnel is  £12billion which includes maintenance and running costs. And Thames Water has refused to release information on the size of their carbon footprint. The tunnel is inflexible and cannot expand if necessary to account for climate change in this century which no one can predict!

It makes me sick to see this issue trivialised by some people – especially when they unquestioningly parrot Thames Water propaganda! Join residents who are fighting Thames Water's super sewer and learn about the cheaper, less disruptive and more environmentally friendly ways to may the river cleaner at (opens new window).

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and unless specifically stated are not necessarily those of the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham

» Send us your comments now

Nobody wants to have their homes demolished however, it is the 21st century and this river needs to be sewage free and a few reeds here and there will not do the job. Thames Water must build new homes in the local area for all the residents first.
From Dan on 13/08/2014 at 21:52
In the 21st century the Thames river should not be flowing with sh*t.

If you want to whinge then start with the unnecessary demolition of hundreds of homes in West Kennsington of ordinary families to rebuild luxury flats for bankers.
From Jack on 22/04/2013 at 22:59
Nimbyism at its worst. Let Thames Water get on with it. They have a very difficult job to do and the council''s attitude will make it more painful and costly for residents in the long run. The tunnel is inconvenience for a relatively small number (who will be compensated) but progress for the masses and for future generations.
From Nickie Raven on 11/12/2012 at 23:40
Thames Water is owned by an Australian bank, who are borrowing from another bank and charging it back to London's residents, who don't want the sewer in the first place. Has the government gone mad in allowing this to happen? Nay positively encouraging it to happen! It's time they acted on behalf of the electorate who helped to put them in government, to stop the whole nonsense from going any further. If they can't, or won't, then give up being politicians.
From No on 28/11/2012 at 15:54
This has not been my experience at all. I have found Thames Water to be very open and have been able to verify any of the answers put to them.
I've feel the Council has been very devious and told lies. Often not able to back up their claims with any evidence. The Council even claimed Thames Water were "brainwashing children" - silly silly stuff.
I welcome the super sewer and look forward to the impact it will have on reducing the problems assoicated with flooding.
I wish the Council would get on and start an active working relationship with Thames Water to minimise any impact on a very few locals. Like they said they would with their King Street Development proposals.
Such a poor attitude by the Council and a few local residents. It is sad.
From 07094462643 on 10/11/2012 at 21:16
Ann and Nicky are spot on in all that they say. I am happy to remind them that David killed off Goliath despite being so much smaller. But it will need all of us who oppose the Sewer to work hard to defeat it. The first thing to do is view and sign the petition at
From Lance Pierson on 10/11/2012 at 09:59
I don't believe that we should be asked to fund, in any way, private companies, as Thames Water now is.
From Lyn Hally on 10/11/2012 at 07:40
I cannot understand why the Fulham site has even been considered for an access point for the super sewer. It is a built up, densely populated area, that will not just be blighted by the construction phase, but for ever with the 'stink pipe' that I understand will vent at this site. Barnes (Barn Elms) was rejected as a site, where very few people would have been affected. I fully accept and agree with the desire to protect our green spaces, but if the argument is that it is not causing long term disruption then surely a green site is far preferable to one where so many residents will be so severely affected by the construction over many years? Surely H&F council can refuse to allow this in the borough for the good of it's residents? Should governing bodies not have authority over private, profit driven companies?
From Rachel SW6 on 09/11/2012 at 20:46
I think Ann has encapsulated the deeply disturbing aspects of Thames Water's attitude and super sewer proposal excellently. This really is a David (residents) and Goliath (Thames Water) battle for thousands of Londoners, and we need our local MPs and the Government to fulfil their duty of protection towards their constituents in the face of this outrageously dire proposal that centres unremittingly around corporate profit for its Australian majority shareholder, Macquarie Bank.
From Nicky P on 09/11/2012 at 16:22


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