Fulham property owners affected by Thames Water sewer pipe could claim compensation


The ‘exceptional hardship procedure’ is a mediating offer by Thames Water as opposition to the proposal grows.


By Dominic Antill

South Fulham property owners who could be affected by Thames Water’s £4.5bn super sewer pipe may be entitled to claim compensation.

The ‘exceptional hardship procedure’ is a mediating offer by Thames Water as opposition to the proposal grows. Hammersmith & Fulham Council is demanding that the project be scrapped entirely.

Cllr Nicholas Botterill, H & F Council Leader, said: “Thames Water’s half-brained stink pipe plans are a disaster.

“The only winners seem to be the fat-cat bosses at Thames Water.”

The utility giant stands to make £162m a year in additional revenue from the concrete pipe, which will be the size of the Channel Tunnel.

The Observer reported that Thames Water paid no corporation tax on the profits made while making hundreds of millions in operating profits last year then announced plans to charge customers £80 extra every year to pay for the 20-mile-long pipe.

Professor Green, a national expert in water economics from Middlesex University, has condemned the plans.

“The current system encourages water companies to borrow money to spend on large capital projects,” he said.

“There is a strong incentive to pour concrete as for every pound Thames Water borrows, to pay for large projects like sewers or reservoirs; they make a handsome return off their customers.”

In an attempt to alleviate this pressure Thames Water have offered local residents compensation, but specific criteria has to be matched.

Residents have to have made ‘all reasonable’ efforts to sell their property but would have failed to receive an offer within 15 per cent of market value.

They will also have to be within 100 metres of the construction site and must own the property they live in.

Finally the property must not have been purchased after 13 September 2010 when Thames Water announced proposals to use Carnwath Road as the main tunnel shaft.

“Thames Water’s stink-pipe is the story of corporate greed encouraged by the UK’s flawed regulatory system,” said Cllr Botterill.

Water regulator Ofwat allows Thames Water to charge customers 4.5% per annum to service its borrowing and to pay dividends to its shareholders.

The storage tank under the river could get planning permission from a national quango in 2013 with an area the size of six football pitches on Carnwath Road, Fulham, to be used for heavy drilling.

Originally the land had been earmarked for new riverside homes and businesses but could instead see major excavations take place 24 hours a day, seven days a week for at least six years.

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