Bermondsey residents living next to a construction site for the ‘super sewer’ say work increased during lockdown leaving them unable to escape the noise and dust.
Their plight has been taken up by the Southwark Law Centre, which has written to Tideway, the builder of the £4.2bn sewer, about the impact construction work has had.
Chambers Wharf is one of the main sites for the building work, which eventually will create a 25km new sewer route under the Thames.
Residents also complain that compensation paid out by Tideway for disruption was stopped during the lockdown.
Writing to Tideway, Sally Causer, of the Southwark Law Centre, said: “This year has been difficult for everyone, but especially difficult for the mental and physical health of vulnerable residents.
“At the same time as they have become more isolated due to the restrictions, work seems to have taken place at full capacity on the site, including extensions of operating hours, early morning heavy lorry movement, and work outside the acoustic shed, such as cleaning the storage area and maintenance of the ground treatment equipment.
“We understand that there have been a number of issues with concrete being moved by road and lorries parked on Bevington Street.”
Residents living near the site are eligible for compensation payments if they can show that they are especially affected by the negative impact of construction.
The Law Centre has urged Tideway bosses to relook at compensation awards which were not given out during lockdown.
“We would ask that Tideway show some humanity by considering the impact of the pandemic, and look again at awards that have been either severely restricted or not awarded at all,” added Ms Causer.
“We would suggest that it is not just that awards need to be restored, but also, enhanced to make up for opportunities for respite that have been missed due to lockdown.”
But a spokesperson for Tideway said the company had only stopped paying out a small number of claims relating to hotel stays or holidays – which were not allowed during lockdown.
“Tideway also extended the timeframes in which residents could use respite to ensure no one missed out on respite due to the lockdown.
“The vast majority of respite awards implemented across the project, those not awarded holidays or hotel stays, continued to be implemented throughout the lockdown period.
We take the welfare of our residents very seriously and would urge anyone concerned about the impact of our vital work to contact the ICP [Independent Compensation Panel].”