Hounslow and Hammersmith and Fulham Councils held a packed joint public meeting last night to discuss the proposal from Thames Water, at the Government’s behest, to build a super sewer under the River Thames. The representatives from Thames Water and the Environment Agency offered a slick enough presentation but their case fell down when pressed on whether the benefits were proportionate to the minimum cost of £2.5 billion.
Andrew Whetnall, the quiet man from the Consumer Council for Water, gave a powerful renunciation of the whole scheme in terms of its lack of value for money. Public health benefits were offered to justify the scheme. But Whetnall cited a survey of rowers which found 18 cases of illness in 15 months. Essentially the proposition is spending £3 billion to stop a dozen rowers a year getting the runs.
Thames Water shrugged and said the Government were responsible for the cost benefit analysis not them. It was based on avoiding EU fines. But as Cllr Paul Bristow pointed out other countries have won opt outs from the relevant directive on the grounds that cost would be disproportionate.
I suppose about £50 million will be spent on preparatory work before reality is accepted that the scheme is bonkers and it is abandoned.