To agree a response to the Thames Tunnel consultation.
Cabinet heard representations from Phil Stride, Head of London Tideway Tunnels at Thames Water, which included the following points:
- that the project was concerned with ending the discharge of 39 million cubic metres of untreated sewage into the River Thames (per year) and therefore the first phase of this process would be consulting local residents who could be affected by this project.
- Thames Water was keen to receive feedback and consider the views of anyone who could be affected by the consultation proposals.
- that the 2nd phase of the project would begin in September 2011 and that a planning application would be submitted in mid 2012.
- Thames Water had made every effort to engage local residents, e.g., 165,000 letters had been sent to individuals which included residents along the route of the proposed tunnel path and near the proposed site.
- Thames Water had published its proposals concerned with the preferred site in publications such as the Evening Standard newspaper (and had also used this medium to advise that the consultation period had been extended – published on Monday 6 December 2010).
- Thames Water had held exhibitions concerning the preferred site e.g., in Putney where 1,500 people attended (there were more exhibitions scheduled for the future).
- As a result of a number of enquiries from local politicians Thames Water had carried out “leaflet drops” to over 9,900 residents (20 & 21 December 2010 further leaflet drops would occur).
- Thames Water would also be conducting public meetings to discuss the proposals (a public meeting would be held on Thursday 9 December 2010).
- confirmed that Thames Water had stringently followed its methodology concerning the project and had shared, and is willing to share, any documents, plans, methodology with all interested parties.
- Thames Water had considered 22 preferred sites and had conducted 250 project presentations over the last 2 years.
The Strategic Cabinet Member for Environment & Planning stated that she welcomed the offer to meet Mr Stride at a future meeting.
Councillor Morris advised that she was happy that Thames Water had extended the definition of “interested persons” affected by the proposed project to include for more residents and individuals who could be affected by traffic problems. The Strategic Cabinet Member for Environment & Planning commented that the local authority accepted that there was a sewage problem in London; however, she invited Thames Water to review its position such that the Barn Elms area be a secondary site with another site being the preferred primary site e.g., Battersea. Councillor Morris further commented that if the proposed Barn Elms area continued to be the primary preferred project site the area would experience traffic problems for 7 years.
Mr Stride confirmed that:
- he had provided Councillor Morris with a list of areas (including the names of individuals) in which “leaflet drops” had occurred.
- several London boroughs, including Richmond upon Thames Council, had approved Thames Water’s methodology associated with the proposed project.
- that Thames Water needed a maintained tunnel shaft in west London and therefore one shaft site and an intercept sewage overflow at the proposed preferred site of Barn Elms.
- Thames Water was keen to have the main shaft site for the excavation of materials near a river so that the company would limit problems to local traffic (no final decisions had been made).
- other sites, other than Barn Elms, had been considered, e.g., Battersea Tideway, St Paul’s Playing Fields but were discounted; for example, Hammersmith Bridge would restrict the excavation of materials away from the St Paul’s Playing Fields site. Therefore, Barn Elms was the preferred project site for a variety of reasons.
- Thames Water would be committed to addressing noise, light and smell nuisances as a result of the proposed project.
The Strategic Cabinet Member for Education, Youth & Children’s Services commented that residents were concerned about the movement of lorries in the Barn Elms area and that residents wanted Thames Water to consider all soil excavation and supplies to and away from the proposed site being carried out via the river, except in emergencies.
Mr Stride advised that:
- Thames Water could bring material to and away from the proposed site without the use of lorries, however the company had to consider various factors e.g., cost to Thames Water and cost to the local community.
- Thames Water regarded “reasonable lorry movement
periods” as 10.00am to 15.00pm (every day) or 19.00pm to
22.00pm (every day) with 4 – 6 lorry movements per hour.
The above was Thames Water’s starting point with regards
lorries being used for this project.
- 100% river use, for the transportation of materials to and away from the proposed of Barn Elms site, would be technically possible but there was a cost equation.
- Thames Water would have to build a jetty for barges which would be smaller than the jetty first envisaged (as the company had taken into account responses from residents).
- there were plans for a 2nd phase consultation period (which would be for 10 / 12 weeks).
- with regards selection of a preferred site Thames Water was compelled to choose a site “that was not safeguarded land” i.e. not subject to planning applications / permissions.
- Thames Water could only use its Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) powers where there had been a planning application for works on a proposed site.
- Thames Water would be submitting a planning application to Richmond upon Thames Borough Council’s Planning Committee in 2013 (which would be published locally).
- Thames Water’s consultation document would illustrate all responses to the proposed project that were considered and the company would continue to engage with the local authorities and members of the public in terms of processes to be implemented, final agreed route plans and the final preferred site. The deadline for this would be 5 September 2011.
The Leader of the Council thanked Mr Stride for his contribution to the discussion and expressed the expectation that Thames Water should ensure continuing engagement with members of the public. Councillor True commented that the current Cabinet had been formed in May and was not committed to any past endorsements of Thames Water’s approach.
Councillor True commented that Cabinet remained unconvinced that the Barn Elms area was the only practical site for this proposed project.
It was RESOLVED that:
Authority be delegated to the Strategic Cabinet Member for Environment & Planning who, in light of the discussions between Mr Stride and Cabinet (in the Cabinet Meeting 6 December 2010) could amend the response set out in paragraphs 3.10 to 3.12 of the report as the Council’s official response to Thames Water.