The decision by the Planning Inspectorate to recommend Thames Water’s main drive shaft for the Super Sewer to be in Carnwath Road, in Fulham is deeply disappointing. However it is not just the wrong decision for Fulham, it is the wrong decision for all Thames Water bill payers.
The Thames Tideway Tunnel, or Super Sewer as it is more commonly known, will achieve very little. Thames Water would have you believe the sewer will stop thousands of litres of sewerage overflowing into the River Thames. The reality is that such overflows will only ever happen when there is very heavy rainfall and overflows will be 95% clean rainwater. To make matters even worse, I am told the Super Sewer itself will overflow about four times a year when rainfall reaches extreme levels. In other words, it is entirely pointless.
But what is most devastating is the cost of this scheme, both financial and human. Not only will this rainwater collector add £80 a year (forever) to every Thames Water bill payer, the construction site in Carnwath Road will cause untold misery to local residents and businesses. 24/7 construction works will be noisy, dusty and unsightly, as well as clogging up local roads. Children will see their sleep disrupted, home owners will see their property prices go down, and businesses will struggle with deliveries.
So, what has the Labour Council done? They have issued a bit of an angry press release. Where is the promise of a judicial review? Where is a sense of real action? Where is the commitment to work on schemes seen in parts of America to deal with heavy rainwater in other ways? It’s not there, because we know from the last Full Council meeting that all Labour wanted to achieve was to push the drive site over to the other side of the river and try to score some cheap political points.
I fear we are beginning to see the true colours of this Labour administration - a council less interested in action and more interested in words. Let’s now see that judicial review and real steps to stand up for H&F residents.