Barn Elms Edges Closer To Safety

Thames Water confirms not first choice for ‘super sewer’ compounds

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The water company says that feedback from the second stage consultation on the Thames Tunnel project has confirmed that a brownfield site in south Fulham is a more suitable place for these highly disruptive works.

The original construction plan for the 25km sewer tunnel had earmarked greenfield Barn Elms as a main drive shaft site.

Following a major campaign to save the popular playing fields the water company switched its preference to a brownfield site with no wildlife habitats or recreational uses. Under the revised plans there would still be a construction site at Barn Elms but it would be much smaller and less disruptive.

Leader of Wandsworth Council Ravi Govindia said:
"Our residents treasure these playing fields and people from all over London have rallied behind the Save Barn Elms campaign. Thames Water has clearly come round to our way of thinking but we must remain vigilant and keep up the pressure.

"We are now examining all of the proposed changes in details and their potential impacts on local residents and businesses."

As a result of the stage two consultation feedback Thames Water has proposed a series of changes to the Thames Tunnel scheme.

At Barn Elms an alternative access road and amendments to the scale and design of the permanent structures have been put forward.

Amendments to the Putney Foreshore site have also been proposed which would involve moving the site slightly to the west.

Thames Water says the extent of the changes they are now proposing to the Barn Elms and Putney Foreshore plans require further consultations with local stakeholders. These will start on June 6 and last for four weeks.

Plans for the construction sites at King George's Park, Dormay Street, Falconbrook Pumping Station, York Gardens, Kirtling Street and Heathwall Pumping Station will remain largely unchanged.

Council engineers are now examining the revised proposals in more detail.

For more information download the full Stage 2 Consultation Report.

Wandsworth Council is a member of the Save Barn Elms Alliance - a coalition of campaigners fighting to secure the future of the playing fields.

The group is not opposed to the Thames Tunnel scheme as a whole - only the selection of Barn Elms as one of the main tunnelling sites.

The full membership includes Stop the Shaft, Wandsworth and Richmond Councils, local MPs Justine Greening and Zac Goldsmith, GLA members Richard Tracey and Tony Arbour, The Putney Society and The Barnes Community Association.

About the Thames Tunnel

The Thames Tunnel is a proposed 25km sewer tunnel which would run underneath London from Acton in the west to the Beckton Sewage Treatment Works in the east. It would roughly follow the route of the River Thames.

The tunnel would be connected to approximately 34 'combined sewer overflows' (CSOs) which currently release raw sewage into the Thames after heavy rain fall.

The proposed tunnel would intercept these sewage discharges and transfer them to the Beckton Sewage Treatment Works. The aim is to improve water quality in the Thames .

About Barn Elms

Barn Elms attracts 10,000 visits each weekend from walkers, joggers, families, cyclists, schools and sports clubs from all over London .

The site is one of south London 's busiest sporting hubs used by over 30 schools and 40 sports clubs.

Around 37 per cent of the 16,600 petition signatures were from Putney and Barnes residents. The remaining 63 per cent came from people living in other parts of London or outside the city.

The playing fields are boarded by the Ranelagh Housing Estate and hundreds of residents living in these homes would have their lives blighted by seven years of round the clock construction work if the plan goes ahead.

The playing fields sit next door to the London Wetlands Centre - a key urban wildlife site in London .

May 17, 2012