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Mitigation to appease Thames tideway objectors

Thames Water to submit planning application after two year consultation exercise.

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Tideway: Site investigations near the Houses of Parliament

Noise and dust control measures, including major shaft head enclosure structures are at the heart of Thames Water’s plans to ensure that its proposed £4.1bn Thames Tideway super sewer project allays local community concerns.

The 50,000 page development consent application for the 24km cross London sewer will be formally submitted to the Planning Inspectorate on 28 February after around two years of consultation with the public and statutory bodies

Head of Thames Tideway Tunnel Phil Stride was keen to avoid discussing the detail of the planning application before it is seen by the Planning Inspectorate.

But he emphasised that the plans now include a raft of new measures to mitigate local construction impact.

“We have done a massive amount to mitigate dust and noise from the sites and in particular to mitigate noise at night,” said Stride, pointing out that the project intends to use 24 hour working on the tunnelling operations.

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“We have been consulting the public for the last two years”

Phil Stride, Thames Water

To mitigate potential impacts on residents Stride said that massive shed-like structures would be constructed over the portal sites to enable the “doors to be swung closed at night”.

He added that the project had looked at and built into plans the use of “all the silent kit possible” for piling and tunnelling operations.

Local mitigation will also include up to 5m high hoardings around the sites, some of which will be planted as “green” or “living” walls.

Stride said that the planning application next week was a “massive milestone” for the project.

He added that the reference design was currently being prepared before an OJEU notice inviting bids for the main contracts goes out in the Spring.

These contracts will be let as three packages - the £300M western tunnels; the £800M central tunnel section; and the £500M eastern tunnels.

Contractors a real ready forming joint ventures to tackle the complex work, which includes shafts and tunnels up to 75m below ground.

Stride said that, although there had been a delay in finalising the project’s funding and in procuring the infrastructure provider or funding partner for the project, the programme was still on track for a 2016 construction start.

“This is a massive milestone for the project,” said Stride, pointing out that the planning application demonstrated the project was moving forward and remained on target for its expected 2023 completion.

“We have been consulting with the public for the last two years and now it is the point to put our plans to an independent authority for review,” he said. “A preliminary meeting date has been set for the early September which will shape the way the inspectors approach the project.”

Up to five inspectors are expected to be appointed to review the project and hear objections. It is hoped that a conclusion will be reached and decision made in Autumn 2014.

Stride explained that, following the project’s extensive public consultation process, only eight of the 24 construction sites had stayed the same as originally planned.

He said input from public and stakeholder consultation had been fed into the project over the last two years.

“We are confident that the mitigation measures we are planning mean that the work will not affect the quality of life for local residents,” he said, referring specifically to concerns raised in Hammersmith and Fulham.

However, he pointed out that mitigation treatment would be site specific with different measures required at, for example, Battersea, which is in a less residential area.

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