Greg Hands M.P., Mayor Boris Johnson and Hammersmith & Fulham Council have joined forces to call for the Super Sewer consultation to be extended. Other areas named during phase one have had 18 months to organise their case, unlike those living on and around Carnwath Road, which was identified as Thames Water’ preferred site in November.
Greg Hands M.P. has taken it up with the Water Minister in person, and both the Mayor of London and Cllr Stephen Greenhalgh have written separately to the Water Minister, asking him to ‘instruct Thames Water to extend the consultation period to the end of March 2012’. The plea comes as a potential alternative to Carnwath Road has been found. Local authority engineers say that the sewer construction site earmarked for Kirtling Street, in Wandsworth, could be expanded instead.
H&F Council is calling on Thames Water to review their tunnelling strategy to enable the sewer to be driven directly from Kirtling Street to Acton Storm tanks – bypassing south Fulham’s tight-knit residential neighbourhood in the process and minimising disruption to residents. The total drive length would only be 2.7miles longer than the current Thames Water plan. Costs could actually be saved by avoiding the need to compulsory purchase land around Carnwath Road and by only having one main site set-up cost, instead of two.
The estimated cost of the Super Sewer, or Thames Tunnel as it is also known, has spiralled from £1.7 billion in 2006 to £4.1 billion today.
Commenting, Greg Hands M.P. said: “The possibility of using Kirtling Street as an alternative to Carnwath Road didn’t even feature in Thames Water’s consultation documents. It absolutely right that those opposed to using Carnwath Road should get more time to put together their case.
“Thames Water has literally hundreds of engineers dedicated to the Super Sewer project, but the residents’ groups who are against the scheme have to find their own resources. At the very least, they should get the same amount of time as Barn Elms campaigners received during phase one.
“Carnwath Road is the wrong place from which to dig a tunnel.”
Cllr Stephen Greenhalgh, H&F Council Leader, added: “Thames Water’s current consultation process is deeply flawed and this is why the council is demanding an extension. In the meantime, it is essential that residents respond to Thames Water’s consultation as soon as possible.”