"Super Sewer" Could Cost Residents £200 Each

Nearby park would be ruined for eight years

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The "super sewer" planned for Hammersmith could cost London residents as much as £200 per head, Hammersmith and Fulham Council has claimed.

Thames Water has proposed building an enormous crater in either Ravenscourt Park or Furnivall Gardens in order to pump out at least one million tonnes of soil to construct a £2.5billion tunnel under the Thames to carry away sewage.

There will also be five smaller connecting shafts in the area, each around 32 feet in diameter.

Constructing the 20-mile tunnel will take eight years.

In a letter to Hammersmith and Fulham council, Thames Water said the borough would have to be the starting point for the tunnel, running east to Beckton.

Hammersmith and Fulham Council leader Stephen Greenhalgh said: "We don't want sewage seeping into the Thames but surely building a £2.5billion septic tank under our river, obliterating open spaces, bringing chaos to the borough for eight years and landing residents with a £200-plus bill is not the answer."

Thames Water said in its letter that no decision on sites had been made and it was consulting boroughs to discuss how it might mitigate the potential impact.

"This is a large civil engineering project that will obviously have an impact on London boroughs," it said. "For this reason we are consulting with them at a very early stage."

It added: "As the funding package for this project is still to be agreed with [regulator] Ofwat, it is premature to put any cost on consumers."

August 1, 2008