Thames Tunnel consultation: 'Most back super sewer'

Thames Water has released the results of a consultation claiming most people are in favour of a "super-sewer".

The 20-mile (32km) Thames Tunnel would run from west to east London collecting sewage discharge triggered by rainfall.

Thames Water says 2,869 people provided feedback over its plans. Of those who gave an opinion, it claims 922 people supported a tunnel, with 248 against.

But Hammersmith and Fulham Council, which opposes the plan, said: "Our worst fears are being realised."

Thames Water said its preferred Abbey Mills tunnel route received the most support (39% of 1,596 respondents).

Most comments about a specific site referred to potential works on Barn Elms Playing Fields in Richmond.

Almost 800 responses and a petition with 5,013 signatures complained about using the site.

Since the consultation, Thames Water has announced sites south of Carnwath Road in Fulham are a potential alternative.

Some 344 people commented on the potential use of King's Stairs Gardens in Rotherhithe, south-east London.

A petition with 5,274 signatures was submitted regarding the site.

'Possible changes'

Phil Stride, head of London Tideway Tunnels at Thames Water, said: "Since the consultation closed we have been refining options, including reducing the number of sites required, and identifying alternative sites.

"As a result of feedback we have highlighted possible changes at 13 sites."

But politicians and residents alike voiced opposition to the scheme.

Pressure group Stop the Shaft (STS) released a statement that said: "STS is also very concerned about the lack of consultation by Thames Water.

"Many local residents were not aware of the proposed works, and were only alerted as a result of canvassing by STS."

The organisation said the questionnaire was only delivered eight business days before the end of the consultation period.

Stephen Greenhalgh, leader of Hammersmith and Fulham Council, said: "Our worst super sewer fears are now being realised.

"There are very real concerns over the loss of new jobs and homes - not to mention Thames Water's so-called ventilation tower which will pump out gases and unpleasant smells close to residents' windows."

Thames Water hopes to submit a planning application in 2012, with construction due to be completed in 2020.

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