Thames Water Announce Barn Elms Alternatives

Three Fulham plots are to be considered for the construction site

Thames Water has today announced that it is considering three plots of land in south Fulham as alternatives to the construction site originally proposed for Barn Elms Playing Fields.

The announcement follows an intensive campaign to save this unspoilt stretch of the riverside which the water company had earmarked as the location for a seven year tunnelling site to help build the new Thames Tunnel 'super sewer'. 

The three new options being looked at are Whiffin Wharf, Hurlingham Wharf and Carnwath Business Park . Unlike Barn Elms these locations are non-recreational brownfield sites.

However, the water company has not ruled out using the playing fields and is now writing to residents living close to the newly identified sites to explain their plans.

A public consultation on the revised proposal will take place in September 2011. A final decision on the site locations and tunnelling strategy is expected in 2012.

Council leader Edward Lister said:
"This is very encouraging news. Thames Water is clearly taking the campaign to save Barn Elms seriously and is looking hard at alternative sites. We cannot take anything for granted and will continue to pile on the pressure at every opportunity.

"If the water company does move the main tunnelling site over the river there would still be some activity at Barn Elms because of the need to connect the local Combined Sewer Overflow to the new tunnel. However the land-take could be very much reduced, the precise location reconsidered and project timescales substantially curtailed.

"Thames Water is due to publish full details of their revised plans in April and we, along with thousands of local people, will be examining them in minute detail to ensure they properly respect this unique and invaluable stretch of the riverbank."

The original Thames Tunnel plans involved creating six major construction sites across Wandsworth and a seventh at Barn Elms Playing Fields on the boundary with Richmond .

The proposed super sewer is designed to reduce the amount of sewage flowing into the Thames following heavy rain fall. The council supports the project's aim but is concerned that the improvement in water quality will be outweighed by the scheme's financial and environmental costs.

In particular, councillors are opposed to Barn Elms Playing Fields being used as a main shaft site which would have severe impacts on this unique riverside environment. Thousands of local residents share these concerns and have been campaigning against the plan.


March 8, 2011