Lewisham Council - Thames tideway tunnel project
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Thames Tideway Tunnel project

The Thames Tideway Tunnel is a major project being undertaken by Thames Water. They are upgrading London's sewerage system to cope with the demands of the city well into the 22nd century. After years of study, a new 25-kilometre interception, storage and transfer tunnel is being constructed, running up to 65 metres below ground and below the River Thames. 

The sewer will run across London and will capture flows from sewer overflow points along the River Thames. There are two major works sites within Lewisham, one at Earl Pumping Station and one at Deptford Church Street.​

Thames Water is expecting to finish the Thames Tunnel works at Deptford Church Street in 2020, though it could take a further two years to complete and commission the whole tunnel system. The new open space will be created once construction of the Thames Tunnel is completed.

Read more about the Thames Tideway Tunnel

How is Deptford affected?

  • In Deptford, underground chambers and tunnels are being constructed which will intercept the Deptford Storm Relief Sewer combined sewer overflow, divert flows into the Greenwich connection tunnel and to the main tunnel.
  • In a typical year, there are 36 discharges from the Deptford Storm Relief Sewer (located near Borthwick Wharf in Greenwich) with a volume of about 1,470,000 tonnes of untreated sewage into the tidal River Thames. The Deptford Church Street site will control these discharges. When the tunnel is in operation it is expected that only four discharges will occur.
  • As well as the tunnel construction site at the Crossfield Street open space in Deptford, there is another major works site within Lewisham, at Earl Pumping Station. This is the site of an existing Thames Water pumping station site and includes four adjacent plots of industrial land south of the pumping station and areas of highway.

How was the Crossfield open space site chosen for the tunnel? 

  • Planning permission for the scheme, deemed to be a nationally significant infrastructure project, was granted by the Secretary of State in the form of a development consent order (DCO) on 12 September 2014.
  • The decision followed an extensive examination in public, including detailed consideration of alternative sites and impact in respect of ecology, open space and recreation, education, employment, air quality, noise, transport, conservation and heritage assets, archaeology and detailed design. 

What construction work is involved in building the tunnel at Crossfield open space and how long will this last?

Thames Tideway is progressing preparatory works for the tunnel, with main works programmed to run from mid-2017 until 2020. In the early part of 2017, before the bird nesting season, trees on site will be felled. Thames tunnel has a project-wide commitment to replace every felled tree with two new ones. As part of this there is an aim to significantly increase the number of trees on site.

Thames Tideway has established a Community Liaison Working Group to keep people informed about works, listen to views, feedback and help minimise disruption. 

Read more on the Thames Tideway Tunnel website.

Council opposition to the Thames Tideway Tunnel

We formally opposed the tunnel’s construction in Deptford.

Our concerns and those of the community have been addressed through a comprehensive agreement which forms part of the development consent order. The agreement ensures, amongst other benefits and mitigation measures: 

  • high-quality reinstatement of the open space and surrounding streets on completion of the tunnel construction
  • contribution to community sports and activities
  • help for St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School in dealing with the disruption associated with construction
  • a local employment and skills initiative.

View the planning papers including the representation made by the council to object to the Deptford site.

Update

The decision to grant the development consent order for the Thames Tideway Tunnel was taken on 12 September 2014. 

To read the decision notice and Examining Authority's report please visit the National Infrastructure Planning website​.

​Previous responses

The Council has prepared a number of different documents to submit to the Examining Authority including Lewisham's Local Impact Report and responses to the Examining Authority's first written questions

Lewisham's Local Impact Report looks at the likely impact of the proposed development on the area. The Local Impact Report was submitted to the Planning Inspectorate who must have regard to it in the decision making process.

The Council has responded to formal consultation on the Thames Tunnel proposals since 2010. You can read these responses below.

Documents

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