THAMES Water has been told they would be putting thousands of children's lives at risk if they build a major super-sewer building site in Fulham.
Bosses at the utility giant came face-to-face with 500 angry residents at a packed public meeting at Hurlingham and Chelsea School last night.
It was the first time the community have had the chance to grill them after they announced Carnwath Road as their preferred location from which to build part of the multi-billion pound 20-mile Thames Tunnel last month.
Five schools – Langford Primary, New Kings Primary, Sullivan Primary, Hurlingham and Chelsea and Lady Margaret – are all within a mile of the planned site.
With thousands of children living and going to school in the area, concerned parents issued a stark warning after Thames Water confirmed there would be 66 lorry movements per day during the six-year project.
Parent Tara Griffin, of Friston Street, said: “The 4,500 schoolchildren whose health will be affected by this proposal can't fill out a questionnaire or come to a meeting like this.
“They depend on us to ask on their behalf. So how do you propose to protect us and particularly them from your pollution and your lorries?”
Lisa Irwin, a mother-of-three, said: “2,700 children attend the five schools within the immediate vicinity of the site and more than 7,600 children attend schools within 1,500 metres of the site.
“How can you ensure their safety during this work?”
Phil Stride, head of the Thames Tunnel project, said: “In terms of keeping children safe we would work to minimise the amount of lorry movements and, obviously, we would not want to have those lorry movements when the children are going into or coming out of school.”
Members of the crowd shouted 'outrageous' and 'shame on you' during the two-and-a-half hour meeting with the borough's political bigwigs vowing to continue to fight Thames Water.
Councillor Stephen Greenhalgh, council leader, said: “This will cause maximum disruption to the area and cause misery to the lives of people living in Fulham and we will fight it all the way.”
Greg Hands MP for Fulham and Chelsea said: “It is a crazy decision to move from an uninhabited place like Barn Elms to a residential area in the heart of Fulham.
“Hopefully the strength of feeling in the room is sending a strong message to Thames Water that we will not tolerate this.”
Thames Water's public consultation ends on February 10, 2012. To have your say visit www.thamestunnelconsultation.co.uk .