Andy Slaughter, our MP, gives his thoughts on the latest in the Bush and surrounding area:
Last week the Conservative environment minister gave the Government’s full support to Thames water’s plans for a massive sewer relief tunnel under the Thames. In doing so she acknowledged the need to stop increasing amounts of raw sewage overflowing into the river, and that the Thames Tunnel was the most cost-effective way to resolve this.
This week Thames Water announced the tunnel’s route. It will start from Hammersmith and take the overflows from the three outlets on our river frontage. But it will not require even temporary works on public open space. All the works will be undertaken at the pumping station on Chancellor’s Road and adjoining private land. The main tunnel portal where the drilling machine will enter and spoil will leave will be at Barn Elms.
Of course there are many issues to be resolved during the consultation period and before work starts in 2013. There will be some spoil removed from the Hammersmith side as a smaller tunnel is being dug to the Acton pumping station to enable the sewage tanks on the border with Acton to be decommissioned – a relief to residents of Emlyn Gardens and Factory Quarter. But we need to ensure the river is used to remove waste rather than Chancellor’s and Fulham Palace Road.
Then there is the issue of cost – now estimated at £3.6 billion. This could add £60 a year to water bills in London. I think we need a rigorous independent analysis before we start paying to boost their assets.
Finally, there must be a inquiry into the misleading campaign Hammersmith & Fulham Council have run for the past three years, claiming on the one hand that the tunnel is unnecessary and on the other that three local parks would be dug up as part of the works. They knowingly used large sums of public money to asset facts they knew had no basis in truth. Indeed the only threat to Furnival Gardens, comes from the council’s own plans to land a footbridge in the middle of it as part of their £35 million refurbishment of their own town hall offices.