Thursday 17 July 2008

£2 Billion Sewer Project For Furnival Gardens?

Thames Water says that it is hoping to construct the entry point for a proposed 18 mile-long “super sewer” in Hammersmith and Fulham. Known as the Thames Tunnel, the scheme was originally intended to begin in Chiswick but, following a recent letter to H&F Council officials, Thames Water said that the tunnel is now “likely to start in Hammersmith & Fulham”. Council officials say they fear that Furnival Gardens riverside park could be the target site which would turn the area into a building site for at least eight years.

Thames Water says they need the Thames Tunnel to stop storm water and raw sewage flooding into the river. The sewer would take foul water from the 57 points along the Thames where 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. Thames Water would need to dig an access shaft for the giant tunnel boring machine. This, in addition to six other construction sites, will connect sewer outfalls into the new tunnel. The project would start to be built in 2012 and would be one of the biggest engineering projects ever attempted in the capital. The Section 106 payment to H&F could be massive. I have therefore written to H&F Council to see what, if any, Section 106 money would come their way if these works took place in the borough.

I believe that Furnival Gardens is completely inappropriate for such a scheme. H&F Council have to fight this proposal with all the resources at their disposal. I am writing to Thames Water to arrange an urgent meeting but if officials are correct, then my fellow ward councillors and I will publicly campaign against this and expect H&F Council to give us their full backing in opposing it. Please email me here if you want to be kept in touch with this issue and take part in our campaign. I will let you know when we find out more.

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