Thames Tideway: 'Tunnel will deliver a sewerage system fit for 21st century and beyond'

Apr 04, 2007

Thames Water responded positively to the British government's decision to give the go ahead for the Tideway Tunnel to tackle overflows from London's sewers to the River Thames.

The announcement by Environment Minister Ian Pearson, gives the green light for a single tunnel, 32.2km long and more than seven metres wide, to be constructed from Hammersmith in West London, to Beckton, in East London, with an additional spur tunnel (5.5km long) from Abbey Mills in Stratford to Beckton.

The tunnels will collect millions of litres of overflow discharges from London's sewers, which typically occur following heavy rain. Flows will be stored in the tunnels, rather than flowing into the river where they can cause significant environmental damage - ready to be pumped into sewage treatment works and treated.

Thames Water's Chief Executive Officer, David Owens, said: "Today's decision by the Government provides welcome clarity on the way forward. We will now focus on delivering this massive and challenging engineering project as efficiently as possible, to minimise the impact on our customers' bills. This is the subject of ongoing discussions with our economic regulator, Ofwat, who is responsible for setting price limits.

"London's sewers are one of the great engineering wonders of the Victorian age, and have served the capital well for more than 150 years. Joseph Bazelgette designed them to overflow into the River Thames during occasional heavy storms, and although this had an environmental impact on the Thames, it did at least prevent sewers overflowing into streets and buildings.

"London today is more densely populated, and the greater urbanisation such as the increase in paved areas has led to more and faster rainwater run-off and, unfortunately, to an increase in storm overflows into the river. These are forecast to increase due to climate change and can have a serious and adverse, environmental impact. This is not acceptable and no responsible water company would be comfortable with allowing this situation to continue.

"The tunnel will be longer than many London Underground lines, and will have to be built at great depths, up to 80 metres beneath the Thames. However, this is work which needs to be done. It will have long-term environmental benefits for the River Thames and for the health of people who use it. Together with the £400m of investment we have planned for upgrading our sewage treatment works at Beckton, Crossness, Mogden, Longreach and Riverside, it will help protect the aquatic environment and provide the city with a sewerage system fit for the 21st century and beyond".

Further information:
Thames Water
Robin Markwell (Press Officer)
Clearwater Court, Vastern Road
Reading RG1 8DB England
Tel: +44 (0)118 373 8921


Thames Water Utilities Ltd.



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