Council Passes Motion On Financial & Enviromental Cost Of Thames Tunnel
A motion setting out the council’s opposition to the Thames Tunnel project received unanimous backing at full council meeting on 8th December.
Councillors from both political parties pledged their support for the proposal which resolves to fight Thames Water’s scheme and in particular their plans to base a seven year tunnelling operation on Barn Elms playing fields.
Because the Thames Tunnel scheme is classified as a national infrastructure project the water company is able to bypass local council’s planning authority and take control of their chosen worksites using compulsory purchase powers.
Council leader Edward Lister is seeking a meeting with environment secretary Caroline Spelman to press home his objections, along with the leaders of Richmond, Hammersmith and Fulham and Kensington and Chelsea Councils.
Cllr Lister has also written separately to Thames Water chairman Sir Peter Mason expressing his opposition to the use of the Barn Elms site and challenging the huge costs of the whole project.
Below is the notice from the Council records:
Motion, notice of which has been given by Councillor Lister and Councillors
Maddan, Ms Torrington and others in pursuance of Standing Order No. 22
"That this Council, whilst recognising the need for urgent investment in the capital's sewage system to eliminate the unacceptable public health risks created by the current discharge of untreated sewage into the Thames and the benefits of improved water quality in the Thames, has serious reservations about the huge financial and environmental cost of the Thames Tunnel scheme proposed by Thames Water.
In particular, this Council:-
a) deplores the impact of the proposed construction site at Barn Elms which will
cause severe disruption to towpath users for the seven-year life of the project;
b) rejects any suggestion that an access route for vehicles to the site could be
created using land at Putney Common;
c) calls on Thames Water to identify credible alternatives to Barn Elms which do
not involve destruction of green open spaces, parkland and recreational areas
of the riverside;
d) challenges the £3.6bn costs for the whole project which at a time of great
economic uncertainty will have to be borne by Thames Water customers;
e) challenges the sustainability of such a vast energy-intensive project;
f) challenges the scale of the project including the tunnelling methodology,
extent of land-take required and the excessive timescales for completion;
g) resolves to work with Richmond Council to oppose the Barn Elms
h) resolves to work with the local rowing and sailing communities to ensure that
use of the river for recreational use is not harmed and major international
events including the Head of the River Race and the University Boat Race are
not put at risk; and
i) resolves to scrutinise thoroughly the whole basis for the project and its local
impacts at individual sites throughout the consultation and planning process."
December 10, 2010