Curtain rises on Victorian water mains replacement — London's Theatreland gets new pipes

Mar 05, 2007

Thames Water’s multi-million pound Victorian mains replacement programme to reduce leakage from ageing water mains begins in London’s West End on 5 March.

The company currently has around 30 different schemes running in the capital to replace the cast iron pipes that have been causing leaks and bursts but this marks the beginning of a coordinated programme of work focused on the West End of London.

The work, which involves replacing mains installed during the reign of Queen Victoria, begins in Soho and should be completed by the end of July 2008. The Soho scheme will cost around £6 million and is part of a larger programme of work throughout the whole of the West End, which is expected to last until 2010.

Thames Water’s Project Manager, Rob Archer, said:
“Tackling leakage is Thames Water’s biggest priority and since 2002, we have been working to replace the ageing water mains in London which are responsible for much of the problem. So far we have replaced 400 miles of pipes, enough to stretch from the capital to Aberdeen.

“Soho has some of the oldest, leakiest and most burst-prone pipes in the area. We will be replacing the cast iron mains with new plastic ones, which are more durable and flexible.

“We appreciate that work on this scale will inevitably cause some disruption and inconvenience, but the benefits will be felt for years to come and we don’t expect to have to return to deal with burst pipes or leaking mains in the future.

“We will minimise disruption, where possible, by using the latest construction techniques which in many places will avoid the need to dig long trenches. We have been working closely with the London Borough of Westminster, Transport for London and the Metropolitan Police for many months now, to plan ahead and to reduce the impact on traffic.

“We have also consulted with all the businesses and residents in the area, to make them aware of the work and to try to avoid any unnecessary disturbance.

“Ultimately this work will reduce the amount of water which leaks from our network, which is particularly important at a time when water resources are being put under pressure from climate change, population growth and the rising demand for water.”

Further information:
Thames Water Utilities Ltd.
Nicola Savage
Tel: +44 (0)118 373 8921

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