THAMES TUNNEL COURT CASE COLLAPSES – COUNCIL TO BLAME

Moves to reduce the misery for residents living around the planned ‘Super Sewer’ site at Chambers Wharf, Bermondsey have collapsed due to Council bungling.

Last September two Conservative ministers gave the go-ahead to the controversial Thames Tideway Tunnel project to build a new sewer from Acton to Beckton.  Thames Water wants to build the tunnel to modernise the capital’s drains and prevent raw sewage being pumped into the river.  The proposed 15-mile sewer would cost £4.2billion to construct.

Residents and community campaigners along the route, including around Chambers Wharf, object to the proposals which would cause huge disruption, noise, pollution and dirt for seven years while tunnelling and excavation works are carried out.  The Chambers Wharf site is surrounded by hundreds of homes and a primary and secondary school are nearby. 

Local Liberal Democrats, including Simon Hughes MP, have supported residents objecting to the plans and have given evidence at various stages of the planning process.  The Council, with cross-party support, also decided to apply for a judicial review of the government’s decision to go ahead with the scheme without reversing the tunnelling direction. 

It has now come to light that the Council failed to submit its application according to the required legal timescales – it was lodged a day after the deadline.  The High Court threw out the Council’s application today as a result.

Liberal Democrat councillor for Riverside ward, Eliza Mann, who attended the High Court hearing today, said:

“This is a bitter blow for all the residents, local councillors and local MP who have been fighting Thames Water’s plans to build the Super Sewer at Chamber’s Wharf.”

Councillor Anood Al-Samerai, Leader of the Opposition in Southwark, said:

“We all trusted the Council to represent our community in court.  Now the case for a judicial review has been thrown out all because the Council couldn’t manage to submit its paperwork on time.

“This must rank among one of the Council’s worst-ever bungles.  It is totally incompetent and amateur.  The Leader of the Council must now explain why Southwark has let its residents and our community down so badly.”