Anger grows over ‘super sewer’ as Thames Water says bills must increase by 11% to cover costs


Many residents believe the sewer is unnecessary.


By SWLondoner staff

A proposed super sewer which will cut through South West London could push up water bills by 11% over the next few years.

Thames Water, the UK’s biggest water company, says it needs to increase bills between 2015 and 2017 to help pay for the Thames Tunnel development.

“Much of London’s water and sewerage infrastructure dates from Victorian times,” said Thames Water chief executive Martin Baggs.

“It has served us well, and allowed Thames Water’s customers – both in London and in the Thames Valley – to benefit from some of the lowest bills in the country for decades.

“However, this infrastructure urgently needs upgrading which inevitably puts upward pressure on bills,” he said.

Several water companies have proposed keeping any increases in household bills under the rate of inflation, including Severn Trent, United Utilities, and Anglian.

Residents have long been arguing against the super sewer for reasons other than price rises.

A local impact report carried out by Hammersmith and Fulham Council states that excavating the proposed 16-mile sewage transfer tunnel would cause years of disruption to residents in South Fulham.

It also suggests that playing fields and wildlife are being prioritised over residents, and that a better alternative would be to have the main sewer shaft on open land across the river at Barn Elms.

“This fatally flawed and unnecessary sewer, which will burden Londoners with sky-high utility bills for decades to come, seems to have been sited where it will cause maximum disruption to residents, schools and businesses in one of the busiest parts of the capital,” said Hammersmith and Fulham Council leader, Cllr Nicholas Botterill.

“Why is Thames Water putting a sports pitch and the habitat of beetles, on a so called greenfield site, ahead of the well-being of thousands of humans? Carnwath Road is not a brownfield site to the thousands of residents whose lives will be turned upside down if the main sewer shaft is sunk here.”

The Planning Inspectorate is examining Thames Water’s 50,000 page planning application and will submit a recommendation on whether to grant approval to government ministers, who are expected to make the final decision in autumn 2014.

Lance Pierson, of Peterborough Road, said: “Thames Water wants to put residents of Carnwath Road and neighbouring streets, several schools and small businesses through the misery of 24/7 drilling with associated noise and air pollution and lorry movements for up to six years.

“This is downright immoral when there is a far less disruptive alternative site at Barn Elms; and more damning still, far more effective ways of dealing with rainwater overflows than building a tunnel in the first place.”

 Photo courtesy of hammersmithandfulham, with thanks.

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