Say no to the Thames Tunnel
Published: Wednesday 29th December 10
The council is urging residents to voice their concerns about the Thames Tunnel project before the public consultation ends on January 14.
The scheme, which is being developed by Thames Water, would create six major construction sites across Wandsworth and a seventh at Barn Elms Playing Fields on the boundary with Richmond.
For an overview of the project and a full account of the council's concerns visit www.wandsworth.gov.uk/thamestunnel.
Council leader Edward Lister said: "Thames Water's scheme will have severe and far reaching impacts for our residents. It's extremely important that local people familiarise themselves with the project and respond to the consultation.
"In the mean time we are pressing Thames Water to publish full environmental impact assessments for every potential worksite. So far their consultation documents have focussed on the sites they would prefer to use and have very little information about the alternatives. This is not a fair or transparent approach as it prevents people from making comparisons between the different locations."
Wandsworth Council has serious concerns about the proposed Thames Tunnel scheme and in particular the use of Barn Elms Playing Fields as a main drive shaft site - this could cause irreparable damage to both the open space and the riverside towpath.
Councillors remain unconvinced that the tunnel is the best way of cleaning up the Thames and fear the huge environmental impacts will outweigh any potential improvements in water quality.
Cllr Lister continues: "Because the scheme is being treated as a national infrastructure project Thames Water will not need local authority planning consent for its worksites. The council opposed these national changes during its successful campaign against the third runway. It was wrong for councils to be cut out of the Heathrow planning process and it would be equally wrong to be bypassed by the Thames Tunnel decision.
"We don't believe planning decisions for the local sites should be taken without substantial involvement on the part of the local authority which will be much more sensitive to the local impacts."
According to the water company's project timetable a second round consultation will take place in 2011 and a full planning application will be submitted in 2012. The seven year construction programme would commence in 2013 and complete in 2020.