Thames Tunnel Update

Putney MP Justine Greening writes ahead of phase 2 publication

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I just wanted to get in touch ahead of the publication of the Thames Tunnel phase two consultation on Friday 4th November 2011 to update you on some of the work local residents and I have been doing to protect our local areas.

As you will be aware following Thames Water’s phase one consultation last year, local residentNovember 2, 2011roposal for the main drive shaft site at Barn Elms and the Combined Sewer Overflow sites at Putney Bridge and King George’s Park. The proposed Thames Tunnel will help tackle the serious sewage overflow problem in the Thames and will mean a cleaner river but construction at these sites could still have a big impact locally.

The residents’ working group I set up has been meeting with Thames Water and other organisations involved with the project including the Environment Agency, Wandsworth Council and the Port of London Authority, to discuss the sites at Barn Elms, Putney Bridge and King George’s Park. The group is also instructing their own independent experts to look at aspects of the proposals.

There has been lots of work to make our case for protecting Barn Elms from being used as one of the main drive shaft sites to construct the Thames Tunnel since the phase one consultation. The Save Barn Elms Alliance of local MPs, Wandsworth and Richmond Councils, GLA members Richard Tracey and Tony Arbour, residents' group Stop the Shaft, and local celebrities was launched to protect Barn Elms playing fields.  We have been raising concerns to Thames Water about the use of Barn Elms and we held a rally & fun day in July, which hundreds of local residents turned out despite the wet weather. I also launched the ‘I love Barn Elms' campaign to help residents make the case to protect Barn Elms and tell Thames Water why they love Barn Elms.  Though we all want to see the sewage overspills into the Thames cleaned up, we need to make sure the Thames Tunnel is built in a sustainable way by using brownfield sites rather than our greenfield playing fields like Barn Elms.

Turning to Putney Bridge Foreshore site, I have been working with residents on both sides of Putney Bridge and we have attended a number of meetings with Thames Water, where residents have been able to feed in their views on Thames Water’s working plans, which has been really helpful. One of the key concerns I know residents have had has been the size of the ventilation column and hard standing equipment left on the site after the works. Thames Water has been looking at ways to reduce the scale of the ventilation column and the hard standing equipment needed and would like to engage residents in the look and design of the site after the works are completed.  The other key issue with this site is the impact on our local transport infrastructure. With the site adjoining major roads which are already heavily congested, we have been pressing Thames Water to minimise the number of lorry movements into and out of the site and maximise the use of the river. Thames Water has also been looking to see if moving the site slightly further along the riverbank away from Putney Bridge would reduce the visual impact on residents and preserve the historic Putney Bridge Foreshore.

Lastly with the King George’s Park sewer, local residents and I have been working with Thames Water to minimise the impact of this site on the park and park users, in particular looking at moving the proposed site away from the historical gates and mature trees in the park. Thames Water has also been looking at ways to reduce the scale of the ventilation column and the hard standing equipment needed on this site once the work has been completed.

What happens next?

On Friday this week Thames Water will publish the phase two consultation documents making public the latest plans for our local sites at Barn Elms, Putney Bridge and King George’s Park. This will give everyone an opportunity to comment on the revised proposals. The consultation will run for 14 weeks till 10th February 2012, and you will be able to view the documents online at I understand there will be drop in sessions run locally and I will also be organising a public meeting so local residents can ask Thames Water directly about the proposals. I would encourage all local residents to have their say and respond to the consultation.

I think residents have worked very hard and have done a great job so far in raising their concerns and working with Thames Water to resolve our local issues and minimise the impact of the Thames Tunnel construction. I hope Thames Water has listened to how important Barn Elms, Putney Bridge and King George’s Park are to us and continue to work with us throughout the phase two consultation process to get a better Thames Tunnel solution for our local community and environment.

I will be in touch again once the phase two consultation documents have been published and to provide details of the drop in sessions and my public meeting. I hope this is a helpful update.

Yours sincerely



Justine Greening MP

November 1, 2011