Council research highlights residents with breathing difficulties
The research by Wandsworth Council has raised concerns over the health impacts of a potential tunnelling compound at Barn Elms Playing Fields.
This greenfield space is shortlisted as a possible location for a vast construction project – known as a main drive shaft site – which would be used to help build the proposed Thames Tunnel super sewer.
A sample survey of homes located close to the site has now shown that almost a third of these households (32 per cent) include a family member who suffers from breathing difficulties due to an existing health problem.
The conditions identified included Asthma, Chronic Bronchitis and Emphysema.
All of the homes surveyed are located within 200metres of the worksite location. The council is concerned about the health impacts of a potentially dusty and polluting tunnelling project within such close proximity.
A brownfield industrial site in south Fulham is listed as Thames Water’s ‘preferred’ location for the main drive shaft site but there is still a significant risk that Barn Elms could be chosen.
These works could last for around seven years and would go on for 24 hours a day for most of that time.
A study of the area surrounding Barn Elm Playing Fields has also shown there are 437 homes within 250 metres of the potential worksite. 257 of these properties are located on council housing estates.
There are also two children’s playgrounds, a care home, a youth club, a scout hut, a community boat house, playing fields and a stretch of the Thames path all within 250 metres.
The evidence collected has been submitted to Thames Water and will be considered as part of the ‘super sewer’ scheme’s second round consultation.
Thames Water is also considering using Barn Elms Playing Fields as a ‘combined sewer overflow site’ instead of the ‘main drive shaft’. The council broadly supports this option which would be much less disruptive for the local environment and community.
Leader of Wandsworth Council Ravi Govindia said:
“This new evidence adds to the case against the Barn Elms main drive shaft and we expect Thames Water to examine our findings very carefully before making a final decision.
“If the playing fields are selected as a smaller, combined sewer overflow site then every possible precaution must be taken to protect the neighbouring community from the impacts of these works.”
Wandsworth Council is a member of the Save Barn Elms Alliance - a coalition of residents, councils, politicians and community groups which has vigorously opposed the use of these playing fields for such long lasting and disruptive work.
The group is not opposed to the Thames Tunnel scheme as a whole - only the selection of Barn Elms as one of the main tunnelling sites.
About Barn Elms:
February 22, 2012