Phil Stride, Head of London Tideway Tunnels received the petition on Wednesday
The petition was formally presented to Phil Stride, Head of London Tideway Tunnels on Wednesday 17th July.
Stop the Shaft are calling on Thames Water to listen to public opinion and choose a brownfield location for the construction of the London ‘Super Sewer’. Over 16,000 people have signed a petition protesting against Barn Elms playing fields and the surrounding area being used as a construction site.
Why not Barn Elms?
• Barn Elms playing fields, the sports centre and boat house is sporting hub for West London used by over 30 schools and 40 sports clubs
• An alternative brownfield site exists in Fulham but Barn Elms playing fields is still being considered by Thames Water as a site for the West London Drive Shaft
• Plans to build a large jetty for industrial barge use at Barn Elms present safety concerns for rowers and sailors
The Thames Tunnel project would take seven years to complete with much of the work taking place 24 hours a day. This would mean little respite for residents overlooking the site and would have an enormous impact on people’s enjoyment of the remaining sports fields and the thousands who visit the riverside walk every week to enjoy the peace and escape of the countryside.
The use of industrial barges to remove spoil from the site has also raised questions regarding the safety of sailors and rowers, the stretch of the river from Putney to Barnes is the busiest area for recreational river activities and there is uncertainty over safety measures proposed for managing industrial river traffic at this site.
Sian Baxter, Chairman of Stop the Shaft said:
“The social cost of losing Barn Elms must be factored into Thames Water’s decision. An alternative brownfield site has been identified, a site that has been derelict for over a decade and serves no public purpose. This must be deemed more suitable than ruining public playing fields and wrecking one of London’s most beautiful natural areas.”
Barn Elms is designated as Metropolitan Open Land which means, in theory, the Mayor has a duty to protect it from inappropriate development. Johnson has pledged to watch Thames Water’s plans with ‘lynx like attention’ but has so far not taken any action to ensure that brownfield sites are used in preference to greenfield for the London ‘Super Sewer’.
The Barn Elms site sits next to wildlife sanctuary The London Wetland Centre and forms part of an important green corridor for animals and birds to move between their feeding and
nesting sites. The the main drive shaft construction site could have a hugely detrimental effect on wildlife especially those sensitive to noise and light including several rare bat species protected under EU law.
Analysis of petition signatures collected on the tow path reveals that people from all over London and beyond use this much loved path, not just the local Putney and Barnes residents. Importantly 18% of our petition signatures were from people living in Hammersmith and Fulham the borough that is home to the alternative brownfield site.
On 6th July 2011 we launched the Save Barn Elms Alliance with fellow members Wandsworth and Richmond Councils, Local MPs Zac Goldsmith and Justine Greening, GLA Members Richard Tracey and Tony Arbour. Since then the Putney Society and The Barnes Community Association have also joined the alliance. The group has pledged to Save Barn Elms from seven years of construction misery.
August 17, 2011