Super sewer crater opposed

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Super sewer crater opposed

by Hammersmith and Fulham Press Office
15/07/2008

A MASSIVE crater, possibly 30 metres wide and 80 metres deep, for London’s new super sewer could be dug in Hammersmith, instead of Chiswick as originally planned.

Thames Water is hoping to dig the entry point for the proposed 18 mile-long Thames Tunnel – dubbed the ‘super sewer’ – to stop storm water and raw sewage flooding into the Thames.

However, residents will be concerned that the £2 billion tunnel is now expected to run between Hammersmith in the west and Beckton in the east. Originally the tunnel was supposed to start in Chiswick but, in a letter to council officials, Thames Water now says the tunnel is ‘likely to start in Hammersmith & Fulham.’ Council officials fear the most likely site may be Furnivall Gardensin Hammersmith.

If H&F is the starting point for the tunnel, Thames Water will need to dig the access shaft as an entry point for the giant tunnel boring machine. This is in addition to six other construction sites that will connect sewer outfalls into the new tunnel. Some of these sites will be needed for eight years.

Councillor Nicholas Botterill, H&F Council Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Environment, says: “We are shocked at Thames Water’s u-turn as they always led us to believe that the Thames Tunnel would start in Chiswick. It now appears they have changed their minds. This is worrying news and we are pressing Thames Water for urgent answers.”

Thames Water wants to start building the tunnel in 2012. The project will be one of the biggest engineering projects ever attempted in the capital and the earliest expected finish date is 2020.

Council officers are meeting with officials from Thames Water next month to find out why Hammersmith now appears to be the starting point for the mega-tunnel as well as asking Thames Water where they propose to put six construction sites.

Cllr Botterill continues: “A 30 meter wide tunnel entrance near the Thamescan only be justified in a massive area of open land well away from built up areas. There is no area like that in Hammersmith & Fulham so the only answer must be to put the entrance further up river, where previously intended, at Dukes Meadow or thereabouts. It cannot possibly go anywhere in H&F as that would mean utterly destroying somewhere like Furnivall Gardensor another one of our beautiful parks.”

The sewer will take foul water from the 57 points along the Thameswhere 32 million tonnes of raw sewage a year is pumped into the river. It will combine these overflow outlets into a single 7.2 metre diameter tunnel, which will be up to 80 metres below ground in parts. 

Cllr Botterill added: “Making this sudden change to put the tunnel starting point in Hammersmith instead of in Chiswick will do nothing to reassure residents that this is a well thought-out plan. Thames Water needs to give us some clarity about its plans before carrying out a full public consultation and carefully listening to local views.”