The London Assembly has raid concerns over the cost to customers of Thames Water’s proposed Thames Tunnel, a new ‘super sewer’ tunnel which the company says will “significantly reduce” the amount of sewage overflowing into the river.
The project would see Thames Water construct a 20-mile wide tunnel located approximately 75 metres below ground in order to alleviate flooding of London’s existing sewer network.
Although AMs say the proposal is “the most viable solution available”, they also say Thames Water has to do more to address “continuing uncertainties over the planning process”.
Responding to a public consultation process on the three routes for the tunnel, Assembly Members on the London Assembly’s Health and Public Services Committee also say the utility firm should provide more information on how it will “maximise the employment of Londoners during the project’s construction.”
The committee has expressed concern that “no-one knows” how long Thames Water customers are likely to face an estimated £65 charge on their bill to cover the cost of the scheme. AMs have called on Thames Water and Ofwat to publish further details “as soon as possible”.
AMs have also called for “a clear strategy” and for Thames Water’s contractors have “ambitious targets” to ensure that Londoners benefit from employment opportunities created by the construction project.
Concerns have also been raised over the need for multiple boroughs to undertake separate planning processes. AMs have called on the Government to consider how Mayor of London Boris Johnson could co-ordinate the planning process.
Committee Chair James Cleverly said: “Every year, 39 million tonnes of untreated sewage is discharged into the River Thames from London’s sewers – enough to fill the Albert Hall 450 times over. There is widespread consensus that this problem is getting worse and we believe the Thames Tunnel offers the best solution.
“However, there are a number of concerns that need to be addressed by Thames Water and its partners and we look forward to receiving further details of the scheme in the future.”