Following his contribution at the at the final open floor hearing of the planning inquiry into the Thames Tideway Tunnel at Glaziers Hall on 3 February, Simon Hughes, Member of Parliament for Bermondsey and Old Southwark, said:
‘After four months of relentless campaigning from local campaign groups and residents, I believe there are now real signs that the Planning Inspectorate is seriously considering the arguments made by all those who think that Thames Water must fundamentally change their current super-sewer plans. We believe that the Inspectorate should in their conclusions now insist that Thames Water’s plans show greater sensitivity to the needs of residents, businesses and schools in Bermondsey, and in particular in the area surrounding Chambers Wharf. I have called on the examiners now to recommend to ministers that they should not approve the present plans and should either reject them completely or insist that alternative plans are drawn up.
As far as I know, every member of the public in south London who has expressed a view is clear that Chambers Wharf should not be selected as a main drive site for the construction of the tunnel, when there is a clearly better alternative site at Abbey Mills in Newham which is already owned and operated by Thames Water.
I have also written to the Communities Secretary calling on him to use powers given to ministers to require alternative plans to be proposed so that alternative construction options can be considered by the Planning Inspectorate.
After this week’s open floor hearing I strongly believe we are one step closer to getting a better deal for local residents and a better deal for the environment.
Of course, it remains my view that building a multi-billion pound super-sewer in London has still not been proved for the taxpayer, consumers, people living in London or for the environment to be the best option for dealing with sewage in the Thames. Whatever the outcome of this inquiry, I will continue to campaign for the greater use of greener technologies in infrastructure development across London and throughout the UK.’