Southwark Council and the the Save Your Riverside campaign are  urging residents and Londoners to voice their opinions on the super sewer at the Planning Inspectorate’s open floor hearings on Thames Water’s proposed Thames Tideway Tunnel or ‘super sewer’.

One such hearing will be held this Friday (22 November) at Glaziers Hall near London Bridge. The session starts at 9.30am with registration from 9am.

“All residents opposing the use of Chambers Wharf as a drilling site for the tunnel will have an opportunity to be heard at the Open Floor Hearing at Glaziers Hall,” said Rita Cruise O’Brien, chair of Save Your Riverside.

“The strength of community support is vital. We have an opportunity to let the Planning Inspectors know how devastating this proposal will be on our peaceful community, involving six years of work, three of those 24/7 with hundreds of lorries using local streets daily. For the sake of local residents, young and old and school children, we must make our views known. Please attend.”

Simon Hughes MP will be speaking at Friday’s hearing along with Cllr Peter John, leader of Southwark Council.

Cllr John said:  “We strongly believe these proposals will blight the lives and safety of families living in the Chambers Wharf area, day and night, for far too long, and just to make life a little easier for Thames Water.

“Our own assessment shows that the reasons given for creating the main tunnel drive at Chambers Wharf are not essential to the plans, there are other more suitable sites that have been dismissed out of hand that will have much less of an impact on fewer people, and Thames Water are wrong to suggest otherwise.

“I would welcome anyone who wants to come down and join us on Friday to show how strongly they object to these plans.”

Simon Hughes MP and local anti-supersewer campaigners have criticised Thames Water’s application to Ofwat to increase customers’ bills.

The net impact would result in a single, one-off additional cost of about £29 per household in 2014/15.

However, the company is is recommending to Ofwat that the additional cost is spread over more than one year.

Stuart Siddall, Chief Financial Officer of Thames Water said: “Ofwat resets price limits for each water company every five years, most recently in 2009, based on the best information available at the time.  Then, during the five year period, almost all changes to costs and revenues, whether upwards or downwards, are up to us to manage. These include the costs of dealing with severe weather, changes to financing, employment, energy and chemical costs, business rates and tax.

“However, at the beginning of a five year period there are always a small number of potentially significant costs and revenues that can be clearly identified but not quantified.  These are set out at the time of the price review and either the company or Ofwat can seek an adjustment, upwards or downwards, once the actual costs and revenues are known.  That is what we are doing now.”

Mr Siddall added: “These significant costs could not be quantified at the beginning of the current pricing period, and their scale is unique to Thames Water’s operations, project commitments and catchment area. Increasing prices is never good news, which is why the company and its shareholders are encouraging Ofwat to adapt its regulatory mechanism to allow the impact of the price increase to be spread over more than one year to avoid a spike in bills for our customers.”

Simon Hughes MP said: “Thames Water’s request to increase water prices to pay for the Thames Tideway Tunnel is totally unacceptable and I implore Ofwat to reject this request on behalf of all Thames Water customers.

“Thames Water customers should not be expected to pay a huge amount towards the tunnel, given that in the years immediately before making this request, it had assets of billions of pounds which they have paid in dividends to their shareholders.

“I am continuing to call on the government to review the cost benefit of the tunnel currently being proposed and to see if it is the best and best value solution for London’s waste. I will be presenting the case for a different solution and different financing at the inquiry which begins next month.”

In a statement, the Save Your Riverside campaign group which is fighting the proposal to use Chambers Wharf for the superseder, said: “And so it starts – the flow of money down the drain that is the super-sewer, it is interesting to note that they haven’t gone for the full £80 they claim is needed for the £4 billion sewer, so there are bound to be further attempts by Thames Water to hike their bills still higher. What is really infuriating is that this crazy waste of money will not even do the job intended as a Defra minister admitted in the Lords on July 24 that the tunnel on its own is not enough and we will also need sustainable drainage systems, which themselves will require financing no doubt mostly from consumers.

“It is good that the water regulator Ofwat is reported as being ready to challenge this proposed increase and to demand it be justified. Ofwat must use its power to stop this waste of money pushing the vulnerable in society into water poverty, while Thames Water’s investors reap the benefits. The credibility of the regulator itself is now on the line – can Ofwat prove it is an independent watchdog prepared to use its teeth on behalf of water consumers, or is it the pampered poodle on a Thames Water lead that many people suspect?

“There is no longer time pressure either to rush through this little thought out solution, as the EU recently said that they wouldn’t hold us to the fines for not cleaning the river Thames by 2020 – as long as we can show effective solutions are being looked at. Also this is no longer simply a water rate payer issue, given the super sewer is now deemed a national infrastructure project.

“Although the government is trying to attract private investment, the fact that after many months of discussions there is still no announcement of a funding package for the tunnel, indicates how difficult it is finding it to attract private capital for the tunnel. Not only are Thames Water’s customers facing an initial £29 increase in their water bills to pay for the tunnel, there is every risk that all taxpayers will end up footing a massive bill for this ill-conceived project.”


Bookmakers Ladbrokes have donated £5,000 towards the campaign to create new statues of Alfred and Ada Salter to replace the statue of Dr Salter stolen from the riverside in 2011.

“We were delighted to receive such a generous donation of £5,000 from Ladbrokes community fund,” said Gary Glover, chair of the Salter Statues appeal.

“Along with donations from other local charities and from the many people moved by the terrible theft of Dr Salter, we are now well over half way towards our target of £50,000.

Catherine Dale, treasurer of the Salter Statues campaign, said: “We have fund-raised £29,400 which is being match-funded by Southwark Council, meaning we need to raise another £20,600 to reach our target and see new statues of Alfred and Ada reunited with Joyce and the cat on the Bermondsey riverside.”

You can donate online at

Richard Royal of Ladbrokes added: “We believe in supporting local communities in the neighbourhoods that we are represented within.

“Our Community Fund supports specific localised causes that have a strong community link, and the restoration of the Salter Statues which are symbolic of the history of this area, is a prime example of this.”

Southwark Council has voiced its strong opposition to proposals to use Chambers Wharf for the Thames Tideway Tunnel superseder. The council has set out its objections in its first formal response to the Planning Inspectorate on the impacts of the proposal.

“We strongly believe that Chambers Wharf is the wrong site for such a disruptive, major piece of construction like the Thames Tideway Tunnel,” said Cllr Peter John, Labour leader of the council.

“The proposed location is in the heart of a heavily residential area and very close to three of the borough’s schools. The round-the-clock noise, vibrations and traffic pollution caused by the construction work will blight the lives of these residents and children for years not to mention create significant safety concerns, making living and learning around Chambers Wharf an absolute nightmare.

“Any consultation by Thames Water has been ineffective and flawed at best, and at worst dismissive of the council’s genuine concerns. There has been a lack of information available on how the route of the tunnel and the affected sites have been chosen along with a lack of real opportunity for those affected by the proposals to influence site selection. Furthermore, Thames Water has failed to respond to our concerns about the potential impact of this project on our residents.

“In our opinion, there are better alternative solutions for the construction of the tunnel that would have significantly less impact than the proposals at Chambers Wharf. We will continue to oppose plans until we have achieved the best possible outcome for our residents.”

In a response on behalf of the Southwark Liberal Democrat council group, Riverside councillor Anood Al-Samerai said: “The impact of the proposals on our residents would be enormous – with six years of work, including 90 lorry movements a day and round the clock noise for the first three years, it would be impossible for them to carry on with their lives as normal.”

Councillor Eliza Mann added in her own response: “There are 150 residential properties in very close proximity to the proposed site, mainly on the nearby Dickens Estate which is home to 800 residents, all of which would be very badly affected by the plans.”

The Save Your Riverside campaign is holding a public meeting at City Hall this Thursday


At its meeting on Monday night Bermondsey & Rotherhithe Community Council agreed to contribute £5,000 to the Save Your Riverside campaign.

“We are currently raising money from the community for legal expenses and other expertise to help us put the best case possible  to the Planning Inspectorate against the use of Chambers Wharf as a drilling and reception site for the super sewer,” said Save Your Riverside in a statement this week.

“We have also secured the help of people in Wapping who will be greatly impacted by the noise of the work across the river.

“Some local residents have received notices from Thames Water about the probable necessity of altering their homes to mitigate the impact of noise and possibly moving them away from the community during the worst of times.

“People opposed to the use of Chambers Wharf have an opportunity for a preliminary talk with the Planning Inspectorate on 8 May in Southwark on the procedure of consultation.”

An all-day drop-in session at 160 Tooley Street will be followed by an evening presentation at Glaziers Hall.

Save Your Riverside will hold a public meeting at City Hall on Thursday 6 June at 7 pm, chaired by Val Shawcross AM and addressed by Labour and Lib Dem politicians.

Alfred and Ada Salter

The fundraising campaign to replace the stolen sculpture of Dr Alfred Salter has raised over £16,000. Southwark Council will match all donations with the aim of reaching the £100,000 needed.

The Salter Statues Campaign is appealing to residents and local business to help raise the additional money to replace the statue of Dr Alfred Salter, which was stolen in 2011, and to create a new statue of his wife, Ada, who served as a councillor and Mayor of Bermondsey.

The campaign – spearheaded by Bermondsey and Rotherhithe residents – needs to raise £50,000 to fund new statues of the pair who lived in Bermondsey from the 1890s up until their deaths, which will be matched by the council.

The money will be used to buy two statues to be placed on Bermondsey Wall called Dr Salter’s Daydream 2013. The new statues have been designed by artist Diane Gorvin to create a family group which will include the original sculptures of their daughter Joyce, and her cat.

“Alfred and Ada Salter made a significant contribution to the welfare of Bermondsey and it will be a fitting tribute to raise enough money to buy the statues,” said Cllr Veronica Ward, cabinet member for Culture, Leisure and Sport.

“Southwark Council is generously matching the donations so I would encourage anyone to make a donation so we will be able to have a permanent reminder of their life and work in Bermondsey for years to come.”

Donations can be made through the website:

Diane welcomes additional photographs of Alfred and Ada Salter to ensure their likenesses are as accurate as possible. Any photos or contributions should be sent to [email protected] or call 020 7525 0860.


“It is not too late to have an alternative to a super-sewer down the middle of the Thames,” Simon Hughes MP told Parliament this week.

The current solution is to pour millions of tonnes of concrete into building a super-sewer through the Thames to intercept the outflows from the sewerage system. That will be very expensive, costing an average of £80 a year for all of Thames Water’s household customers, and it will be hugely disruptive. In my constituency, for example, one site might be worked on for up to seven years. In addition, this solution deals with only one problem. It will efficiently keep sewage out of the Thames, but it will do nothing else.

Other countries across the world are doing things differently now. Places such as Detroit and Philadelphia and places in Europe started to think about building tunnels but have realised that greener alternatives may be better. Instead of building a big tunnel, Philadelphia now has small interventions: much more porous surfaces on roads, drives and car parks; and smaller sewage collection tanks across the city, rather than in a central place. People in those places believe that what they call a blue-green solution is a better solution and it allows parks to flourish, with the transformation of the city into a wholly greener environment. Such a solution also produces many more jobs at the lower skill levels more quickly than one big tunnel project does. Philadelphia and London may not be the same, but Greater Philadelphia has a huge population, just as London does.

Read the speech in full.

Diane Gorvin, the artist behind the original Dr Salter’s Daydream sculptures, has produced ideas for a new commission which will not only replace the stolen statue of Dr Alfred Salter but also include a new sculpture of his wife Ada.

The complete work will include the sculptures of their daughter Joyce and her cat which were placed in storage after the theft of the Dr Salter statue from the Thames Path in November 2011.

The Salter Statues Campaign has raised more than £10,000 so far. Treasurer Catherine Dale said: “It was devastating when the statue of Dr Salter was stolen but we are making the most of a bad situation by aiming to raise enough money to commemorate Ada Salter as well.”

Cllr Veronica Ward,  Southwark’s cabinet member for culture, said: “We were very much saddened when Dr Alfred Salter’s statue was stolen in 2011.

“Our artworks are celebrated by our residents and play an important part in the lives of our local community. It is because of this that we have supported the Salter Statues group and have pledged to match the funding they raise to take steps to permanently replace the statues plus necessary security works.”

Artist Diane Gorvin said of her drawings: “Dr Salter’s Daydream 2013 will be expanded by the welcome addition of Ada, a remarkable woman who deserves recognition for her many good works to benefit the people of Bermondsey.

“Alfred and Ada Salter worked so hard that they did not have much time to relax, but after the birth of Joyce they made a garden at their home, a ‘green parlour’ where their ‘sunshine’ could play. This is the memory I wish to evoke for Dr Salter.”

Diane welcomes additional photographs of Alfred and Ada Salter to ensure their likenesses are as accurate as possible.   Any photos or contributions should be sent to [email protected]

Thames Clippers sent this email to passengers on Friday:

Please be advised that further improvement works to Greenland pier will commence on Monday, 28th January for a period of approximately two weeks (excluding weekends). Please be aware that there may be some disruption as a result. The pier is due to be closed for short periods while the works are carried out, however we will ensure that closures take place during off-peak times. A further update on this will be sent next week.

Rita Beckwith, co-owner and chief executive of Cherry Garden Pier-based City Cruises on Monday received her OBE for services to the leisure and tourism industry and regeneration of London’s Docklands.

Rita founded City Cruises with her husband Gary in 1985, though the roots of their river business go back to 1976 when they bought a fuel barge which provided a filling station for many boat operators. In 1985 they acquired the company’s first sightseeing vessel, The King, which operated a daily summer service between Central London and Hampton Court.

Today, City Cruises carries more than 3 million passengers a year on a wide range of sightseeing, entertainment and charter services.

“This is a great honour, particularly in the year that we have celebrated the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the London 2012 Olympic Games, with the spotlight on London and a legacy of increased tourism for London and the whole of the UK,” said Rita Beckwith.

“As a company, City Cruises continues to invest in the future of the business, our people and the River Thames, striving for innovation and high standards to provide the very best tourism experiences on our world famous river.

“In London we have better access to the river than any city in the world. The River Thames is the heart of London; it is enjoyed by Londoners, tourists, businesses and people of all ages. It offers people a moment of calm in a busy city and we at City Cruises are proud of our heritage for providing quality services for people to enjoy this city from its best angle.”

Rita is also Chairman of UKinbound, representing the interests of members to help them manage successful, profitable businesses that contribute to a vibrant and sustainable inbound tourism industry.

City Cruises managing director  Kyle Haughton said: “Rita’s ongoing commitment to developing London river tourism remains one of the key drivers behind City Cruises.

“We are proud of her achievements and delighted her hard work has been acknowledged with this truly special accolade.”