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Tw Ecology Report

Tw Ecology Report

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Published by thamestunnel

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Published by: thamestunnel on May 29, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Why does London’sriver need theThames Tunnel?
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Thames Tunnel
The River Thames is not as clean as you might think. Sewage rom ouroverstretched sewerage network is polluting the capital’s river, aectingmany o the sh, invertebrates, birds and aquatic mammals that live inand around the Thames Tideway.This document describes the importance o the Thames Tidewayor wildlie and how it is being aected by raw sewage discharges.It will set out how the Thames Tunnel will help bring about changeto ensure sustainable sh populations in the Tideway or the uture.The Thames Tideway stretches 110km, between the upstreamtidal limit at Teddington Lock in the west, to the open sea in theeast. The whole corridor o the Tideway, which includes the river,oreshore and embankment, is recognised as a Site o MetropolitanImportance or Nature Conservation, since it supports a variety o species and habitats not ound elsewhere in the capital, and whichare vital to the protection o biodiversity in the region. The TidalThames is a superhighway or migratory sh and birds. It containsimportant populations o smelt and eel, as well as many rare species,such as the short snouted sea horse and the depressed river mussel.
It is totally unacceptable thatin this day and age, in a city likeLondon, we still have raw sewageemptying into the river ater heavyrainall events, creating deadzones devoid o all lie, includingsh and the invertebrates onwhich they eed. The ThamesTunnel is the only realistic optionto protect the vital ecology andecosystems within the Thames,and it is our duty to ensure thisopportunity is not lost.
Janina Gray
Salmon & Trout Association
Theiss River PrizeThe River Thames won the InternationalTheiss River Prize in 2010, which celebratesoutstanding achievement in rivermanagement and restoration.The award submission showed how the EnvironmentAgency and its partners have not just maintainedthe improvements o the past, but how they areorging ahead to deliver initiatives that will helpthe River Thames continue to be an iconic river.The London Tideway Improvements, which includesthe Thames Tunnel, was one o the projectseatured in the submission or the prize, outliningour commitment to addressing the current sewageproblems in the Thames Tideway.The hard work that has already gone in helpingto achieve this award is only the beginning, andthe sewage problem is still a major hurdle toovercome beore the river reaches its ull potential.
London’s sewerage system wasbuilt during the Victorian era todeal with the capital’s sewageproblems. At that time, London’ssewage was mostly depositedinto open street sewers, or oneo the many Thames tributaries,with most o the waste eventuallyentering into the River Thames.This oul material, originatingrom homes, actories andworkshops rom all acrossLondon, was so great that itrendered the River Thameslargely devoid o aquatic lie. Sir Joseph Bazalgette designedmagnicent interceptor sewers,ollowing the ‘Great Stink’ o1858 to capture the oul materialthat was previously going into theRiver Thames. It is these sewersthat still orm the backbone oLondon’s sewerage system today. Although Bazalgette’s designstopped most o London’ssewage entering the capital’sriver, the River Thames remainedin a degraded state due to somuch pollution rom heavyindustry in the capital and romsewage treatment works. Somuch so, that in the 1950’sthe capital’s river was declared‘biologically dead’ by scientistsat the Natural History Museum.The introduction o the CleanRivers Act in 1960, the constructiono new sewage works by ThamesWater and its predecessorsduring the 1960s and 1970s,and the privatisation o the waterindustry, have all resulted in urthermajor investment at our sewagetreatment works. Over the last 30years, we have seen the dramaticclean up o the River Thames,making it today an example oa recovering ecosystem which iso great ecological importance.However, we are still relyingon a sewerage system built inVictorian times. This system wasbuilt to meet the requirementso a smaller population. With thegrowth in London’s populationthe system, which was designedto overfow into the River Thameswhen ull, is starting to reach itscapacity. This means overfows arebecoming more requent. Suchsewage discharges degrade thewater quality o the River Thamesand inhibit the ecological potentialo the estuary; a problem that isonly likely to get worseas London’s population grows.
The proposed Thames Tunnelwill help to ensure that theexcellent progress in cleaningup the river is not reversed.
The River Thames –a recoveringecosystem
Since the 1950s great strides havebeen taken to improve the qualityo the tidal Thames, which wasvirtually lieless as a result o grosspollution. However, the success inenvironmental improvements, withthe welcome return o sh andother wildlie, is under continuousthreat rom the discharges romthe combined sewer overfows.The Thames Tunnel will end thescandal o millions o tonnes osewage overfowing into the riverannually, which seriously damagesthe ecology o the Thamesand increases the health riskto the public.
Peter Finch
Chairman, River Thames Society

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