Council opposes proposal for Fulham 'super-sewer' site

A west London council is opposing Thames Water's plans to earmark brownfield land on the Fulham riverside as a major tunnelling site for a "super-sewer".

Sewer: new brownfield tunnelling site faces opposition from council and local firms. Dominic's pics photo
Sewer: new brownfield tunnelling site faces opposition from council and local firms. Dominic's pics photo

Under revised plans issued this month for consultation, Carnwath Road Riverside replaces green space at Barn Elms, between Barnes and Putney, as a main "drive site" for the Thames Tunnel (see map).

The tunnel, which would cost an estimated £4.1 billion to build, is intended to divert the 39 million tonnes of raw sewage currently discharged into the Thames each year to Beckton Sewage Works in east London.

The Carnwath Road site will be the base for drilling the tunnel upstream as far as Acton, producing large quantities of spoil. Thames Water said wharves at the site would allow larger barges to be used to remove excavated material by river.

But Stephen Greenhalgh, leader of the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham, said it is "ludicrous" that a dense residential area has been earmarked for this role. "Blighting the lives of thousands of residents, threatening homes, jobs and schools is outrageous," he said.

Brian Comer, chairman of Comer Homes, said the plans would harm proposals for a mixed-use scheme on the housebuilder's land at Hurlingham Wharf that would create 600 homes and introduce riverfront access.

He said: "Residents in this part of Fulham have been denied access to the river for decades. For the first time, viable and deliverable plans for regenerating this stretch of river have been drawn up."

Thames Water said some land at Barn Elms would still be needed for an interceptor link to channel rainwater and sewage from an existing local combined sewer overflow (CSO) into the new tunnel.

Among other changes to Thames Water's first consultation in September 2010, brownfield land at Chambers Wharf in Bermondsey replaces the nearby King's Stairs Gardens in Rotherhithe as a main drive site. A commercial site at Kirtling Street in Battersea will replace a previously preferred site close by at Tideway Walk, where a mixed-use scheme is now being built, as a drilling site.

Thames Water estimated that the revised proposals would allow up to 90 per cent of spoil to be taken away by barge or rail. Phil Stride, director of its Thames Tideway Tunnels division, said: "We should make good use of the river to transport construction materials."

Environment minister Richard Benyon told Parliament that he expects a development consent application for the tunnel to be lodged next autumn.

Approval in principle will be contained in the government's national policy statement on waste water treatment, which Benyon said would be laid before Parliament by the end of this year.

The consultation proposals are available at

Thames Tunnel proposals set out in second consultation


Acton Storm Tanks Retained as interceptor for Acton Storm Relief Tunnel CSO. Now proposed as end point for main tunnel

Hammersmith Pumping Station No longer proposed as tunnelling site. Plan for CSO interceptor retained

Barn Elms Dropped as a main site for drilling

Carnwath Road Riverside: Main drilling site Replaces Barn Elms in west London as a main drilling site

Dormay Street Replaces adjacent Bell Lane Creek as CSO interceptor site

King George's Park Retained as CSO interceptor site

Kirtling Street: Main drilling site Replaces Tideway Walk as a main drilling site

Chambers Wharf: Main drilling site Replaces nearby King's Stairs Gardens as a main drilling site and terminus for connection tunnel from Druid Street

Druid Street CSO interceptor site dropped

Abbey Mills Pumping Station Proposed tunnel drilling site dropped. CSO interceptor site proposal retained

Beckton Sewage Works Final destination for tunnel waste water via Lee Tunnel, which is now under construction Greenwich Pumping Station/Phoenix Wharf Now proposed as drilling site for connection tunnel as well as CSO interceptor point

Connection tunnel Tunnelling direction reversed from original plans.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Join the conversation with PlanningResource on social media

Follow Us:
Planning Jobs