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Water experts vote in favour of Thames Tunnel super sewer

Water experts from across London last week rejected suggestions that controlling rainwater near source is a better way of controlling sewage discharges into the River Thames than Thames Water’s £4.1bn Thames Tunnel.

Seventy six water industry experts heard a debate at the Society of Chemical Industry in Belgrave Square, organised by the Chartered Institution of Water and Environment Management (CIWEM).

The motion “This house considers that the Thames Tunnel would be worse value than controlling rainwater near source” was proposed by professor Richard Ashley from Sheffield University and Lord Selborne. Selborne and Ashley collaborated on the independent Selborne review of the tunnel, commissioned by vocal scheme opponent Hammersmith and Fulham council leader Stephen Greenhalgh.

Speaking against were Thames Water external affairs and sustainability director Richard Aylard and David Crawford, the Thames Tunnel project team’s resident international expert on combined sewer overflows.

The debate concluded with a vote with eight members of the audience supporting the motion, 48 opposing it and 20 abstaining.

“The overwhelming view from the floor was that it’s not a question of having either the Thames Tunnel or SuDS, we need both,” said Aylard.

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