Greg Hands M.P.'s speech at the “Super Sewer Summit”

Greg Hands M.P., Hurlingham & Chelsea School
Wednesday 7th December 2011
First, can I give my congratulations to Hammersmith and Fulham Council for arranging this summit, to Hurlingham & Chelsea School for hosting us, and to Stephen Greenhalgh, Nigel Henson, Alex Kennaugh and to Thames Water for their participation.

As many of you know, I have been the only MP who has raised this issue in the House of Commons. Earlier this week, I put out 50,000 of these leaflets across Fulham, calling for local people to take action against the proposal to site the main drill shaft at Carnwath Road.

I was struck by the film that was shown earlier, and to quote one sentence from it, the member of the public at the beginning, that there was “No indication this would be on the cards.” This process has been deeply unfair. The other proposed possible site had more than a year to campaign against this in phase 1. We have only 3 months, and this is unacceptable.

This is a crazy decision, to move this site of the main drilling from an uninhabited area into the heart of a residential community close to the centre of the city. Let me illustrate why Carnwath Road is the wrong choice, using just 3 demographic facts:

Fact 1: Not only is this a densely populated part of inner London, the population of this ward, Sands End, is probably one of the fastest growing in the whole of Britain. The population is up around 50% just in the last decade. The Council tells me that another 2,000 homes have been earmarked for the area on top of that.

Fact 2: Hammersmith & Fulham has the worst traffic congestion of any borough in the whole of the UK. Congestion is particularly bad on the Wandsworth Bridge Road and New King’s Road, which is precisely where Thames Water’s map shows the extra 29,000 lorry movements will be travelling. Carnwath Road, moreover, is crucial for the emergency services, when the main roads are blocked.

Fact 3: As we heard earlier there is also a huge concentration of schools in the immediate local area. One figure suggested that there are 7,600 children in a 1 mile radius of the site.

But the impact won’t be only the immediate area. This effects the whole of Fulham. Looking at how the 29,000 lorries will come and go from the site, this will also have an impact on Chelsea and Hammersmith too, maybe even the whole of this area of inner west London.

I therefore urge everyone here to take part in the consultation. Thames Water tell me that as of this morning, only 130 forms objecting to the use of Carnwath Road have been received. We need that to rise to the many hundreds. There are 9 weeks to go in this process. Please also copy in me, the Council and Mayor Boris Johnson.

To repeat: this will effect the whole of Fulham. We are not a brownfield site. Now, let’s get to work and get those forms in.