Local authorities in London say residents of the city should have a say in decisions made about a new “super sewer” system in the capital, as they will be the ones paying for it.
The new sewer has been designed to cut the amount of untreated waste that currently overflows from the city’s sewers into the Thames.
Environment secretary Caroline Spelman said decisions about the Thames Tunnel project are of such national significance that they should be made by the Infrastructure Planning Commission.
However, think tank and lobbying organisation London Councils said the construction activity is of such a scale – covering 16ha across a number of sites close to the river – that it will hugely affect local areas through increased levels of traffic and noise.
The body that represents the interests of London’s 33 councils says local authorities are in a much better position to understand the full impact the tunnel will have on local communities.
The Thames Tunnel will be paid for by Thames Water customers through their water bills and is estimated to cost £3.6bn.
London Councils transport and environment committee chair Catherine West said: “In these tough financial times, it is wrong for the government to expect Londoners to foot the bill for this very expensive project and then refer the planning decision to a national commission. Boroughs should be left to make decisions about this huge project.”