Residents in Fulham, backed by their local council, are calling on the government to block the construction of the Thames ‘super’ sewer in the heart of their community.
The final government decision is expected by Friday (12 September 2014) on Thames Water’s planning application for a massive excavation site at Carnwath Road on the riverside in south Fulham, for the £4.2 billion concrete tunnel.
Residents and Hammersmith & Fulham Council argue that the huge construction zone should be moved away from people’s homes and local schools, saying the detrimental impact of the eight-year construction works on people’s health and the quality of life in the local area, could be avoided, if construction works were moved over the river to Barn Elms.
"In a dramatic u-turn in November 2011 Thames Water named the Fulham riverside as their new preferred site for their controversial £4.2billion concrete tunnel - after originally naming a patch of open space in Barn Elms, Richmond," explains Cllr Wesley Harcourt, the council’s cabinet member for the environment.
"The human cost of Thames Water’s super sewer plans for south Fulham will be so much greater than they would be at Barn Elms. The devastating sewer proposals would see south Fulham homes blighted, roads congested and school children and vulnerable residents all at risk from noxious fumes."
The council has written to Elizabeth Truss, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, setting out the reasons the construction site should be relocated. They are:
Thames Water is putting playing fields in Barn Elms before humans in Fulham;
The £4.2billion concrete bore hole could cause years of avoidable misery and disruption to tens of thousands residents in south Fulham, despite the fact there is a viable less socially disruptive alternative site available (and Thames Water’s original choice) in Barn Elms;
The disruption to Fulham residents would be out of all proportion to the alternative site on a large area of open land, well away from major population concentrations, in Barn Elms;
Residents living near the potential tunnel construction site in Fulham would be subject to 24/7 noise, dust and air pollution for around 8 years potentially affecting the health and well-being of residents;
Five schools are within 700metres of the proposed site at Carnwath Road, as well as several day nurseries;
The clogging up of already congested residential streets with 29,000 HGVs as well as creating more acute parking and traffic problems because of construction vehicles will be far greater in Fulham than in Richmond;
The loss of potential new homes, jobs and community facilities at Carnwath Road and surrounding area will be damaging to the plans for new housing in London, whereas no new housing can be provided at the protected open space at Barn Elms.
The council believes there has been a lack of adequate consultation on the selection of the Carnwath Road site with local people and says, if the Secretary of State approves the Carnwath Road planning application,
The council will carefully review any decision to grant a Development Consent Order in favour of Thames Water’s application affecting Carnwath Road. Should the Council decide to challenge the validity of the decision, it would have 6 weeks from the date of the order being granted to do so.