Residents voice fears over Thames Tunnel plan

Residents opposing plans to use a site surrounded by flats and schools in south-east London for a "super sewer" have spoken out at a public meeting.

Several hundred people filled a small committee room at City Hall to tell Thames Water their concerns.

They say construction work at the site in Chambers Wharf, Bermondsey, would be "unbearable and unliveable".

Thames Water said it was the only site suitable for construction of the 20-mile (32km) tunnel.

It promised to cover the site, if chosen, to control the noise and dust.

The tunnel would run from west to east London collecting 39 million tonnes of sewage discharged into the River Thames every year.

Thames Water said the current Victorian system was incapable of coping with modern needs and large quantities of sewage leaks into the river triggered by rainfall.

BBC London's Matthew Morris, who was at the meeting, said there was a "heated debate".

Residents said the water company's plans would "trash the neighbourhood" and said there would be over seven years of major disruption.

'Not fair'

Speaking before the meeting, actor and local resident Sir Patrick Stewart said the sewer would have a "devastating impact" for those who live closest to the site.

Local resident Paula McDonagh said: "I don't know how they can say they're going to put it there without people objecting. It's just not fair."

Phil Stride, head of London Tideway Tunnels at Thames Water, said: "Wherever we will select to build our site, we will put appropriate mitigation measures in place.

"For instance, at a site like the one in Bermondsey we would put a warehouse-type structure over our shafts where we carry out our construction so that we're able to - in a large part - contain noise, dust and light that would otherwise be a nuisance to nearby neighbours."

The public consultation ends on 10 February.

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