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Pickles refuses Thames Water's 'super sewer' planning extension

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has refused Thames Water’s request for more time to explain the effects the proposed £4.3bn ‘super sewer’ will have on Londoners

The Planning Inspectorate, which is reviewing the water company’s 100,000 page planning application for the 25km sewer, has highlighted a number of concerns over the project.

These include worries over the levels of noise pollution which will be caused by the project, air emissions, and the effects the project will have on Thames bridges and bankside areas.

The Inspectorate also queried previous assessments by Thames Water on the effects construction work would have on the wellbeing of locals.

Thames Water has to respond to these points by 12 March 2014.

Phil Stride, head of Thames Tideway Tunnel, requested a two month extension of the deadline to respond to the Planning Inspectorate on these points, but this has been refused by Eric Pickles, who wrote: ‘It is important to maintain confidence that the regime can deliver development decisions in a timely fashion.’

Councillor Nicholas Botterill, leader of Hammersmith and Fulham Council, has regularly voiced concerns over the effects construction of the sewer would have on local residents, describing the project as a ‘health time bomb’ for Fulham.

There are a series of unanswered questions

He said: ‘The Planning Inspectorate is asking the right questions as the uninterrupted noise, dust and increased river and road traffic should be avoided at all costs. There are a series of unanswered questions and Thames Water seem to be admitting that they don’t have the answers within the time limit.’

Responding to the minister’s refusal to grant an extension, Stride said: ‘We would have preferred a little more time but we understand the ministers’ decision. Since we made the request for an extension, we have remained focused on seeking to complete the required documentation to meet the original deadline and are confident we will do this to the highest standard possible.’

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