Thames Tideway Tunnel

The views expressed in this page do not represent those of the Planning Inspectorate. This page consists of content submitted to the Planning Inspectorate by the public and other interested parties, giving their views of this proposal.

Thames Tideway Tunnel

Received 02 May 2013
From Thames21 (Thames21)

Representation

Thames21 involves, educates and engages people in practical volunteering activities to care for rivers, streams and ponds in local neighbourhoods across the Greater London Area. The charity works directly with members of the public. It uses the wide appeal of waterways to bring communities together in environmental volunteering activities, building a sense of shared responsibility and community pride. Last year a total of 13,667 people of all ages and backgrounds took part in the charity’s activities throughout London.
Thames21 and its volunteers witness at first hand and deplore in the strongest terms the raw sewage which almost continually pollutes the tidal Thames and we state without hesitation that it is wholly unacceptable. The issue of sewage discharging into the River Thames must be tackled effectively and without further delay in order to meet the needs of residents’ health, the needs of our natural environment, wildlife and biodiversity and for the continuing use of the river for amenity, education, community and national events, transport and tourism.
At Thames21 volunteering events where members of the community, local residents aged from eight years old to eighty all come together to clear away rubbish and litter from the Thames, they are shocked and appalled to see there on the riverside the used disposable nappies, sanitary products and all the other items disposed of down people’s toilets – next to where families picnic, school and youth groups learn to row and sail and where so many Londoners and visitors come to enjoy the river. People are even more appalled to find out that this is not a one-off catastrophe, but an increasingly regular occurrence.
The sewage in the River Thames must be dealt with quickly, effectively and decisively. Action is needed now. Thames21 has looked carefully at the main alternative solutions put forward during the past ten years of study and research and there is no doubt that the proposal to construct an interceptor sewer diverting sewage overflows away from the river and to proper sewage treatment facilities is the best and most effective short and long term solution.
Other suggestions have included the use of Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SuDS). London’s busy, intensively utilised and built-up landscape, complex drainage system together with the slow permeability of its underlying clay soils and saturated gravels means that the wholesale installation of SuDS to divert sufficient rainwater away from the drains to provide a workable alternative to the Thames Tideway Tunnel is wholly impractical.
Nevertheless complementary SuDS installation is of great importance to extend the life of the Thames Tideway Tunnel and ensure the sustainability of future population growth in the London area. We therefore also call for the steady, long term implementation of SuDS throughout the Capital whenever and wherever opportunities arise and for their inclusion within all planned changes in land use, development and improvements going forward both in the public and private realm, and that this should be achieved through education, awareness, incentive schemes and regulation.