Thames Tunnel

Phase two consultation

Important changes since phase one

In November 2011 Thames Water published revised plans for the Thames Tunnel and opened the scheme's second round consultation. The updated proposals included a series of important changes negotiated by the council. A summary of the key changes are as follows:

  • Relocating a main drive shaft from Barn Elms Playing Fields to a brownfield site north of the river with a pre-existing industrial jetty. Under the revised scheme Barn Elms would host a smaller combined sewer overflow (CSO) site with a shorter and less disruptive construction programme.
  • Relocating the proposed Tideway Wharf main drive shaft to Kirtling Street to avoid conflict with an ongoing regeneration scheme.
  • Relocating a CSO site from Bridges Court Car Park to Falconbrook Pumping Station which is an existing Thames Water site.
  • Relocating a CSO site from Bell Lane Creek to Dormay Street - this avoids the need for Thames Water to relocate an established local employer at the cost of 52 local jobs.
  • The Jews Row CSO site has been dropped from the programme. 
  • Changes have been made to the CSO sites at Putney Embankment, King George's Park and Heathwall Pumping Station.

View details of the revised scheme

Wandsworth's view on the phase two proposals

The leader of Wandsworth Council Ravi Govindia has made the following statement on Thames Water's revised plans:

"We have come a long way since the first consultation and Thames Water has listened to many of our concerns. In particular we welcome the decisions to move the main drive shaft away from Barn Elms and to shift the Tideway Wharf worksite to Kirtling Street where it will avoid conflict with an ongoing regeneration scheme.

"However, Wandsworth will have to cope with more Thames Tunnel worksites than any other borough and more sensible steps need to be taken to ease the burden on our community.

"We want greater assurances that Thames Water will maximise the use of river transport to reduce the strain on our heavily congested road network. This is particularly important in Putney town centre where we have serious concerns over traffic congestion.

"We have also renewed our call for a cap on the amount local people will pay for the tunnel through increases in their water bills. We believe this project is necessary to clean up the Thames but household budgets are under great pressure and must be protected from a further squeeze."

The council's full response to the Thames Tunnel phase two consultation is available online. As summary of the key concerns are included below.

Transport and access

River transport should be maximised for deliveries and taking excavated materials away from worksites. The consultation material leaves too much flexibility over transport management. Each barge is estimated to replace 55 lorry movements. 

Costs

Residents' annual water bills are now expected to rise by £70-80 compared to £50-60 in the phase one consultation. The council is deeply concerned by this and has renewed its call for an absolute cap on the amount water bills will be allowed to rise as a result of the project.