Tideway, the company building London’s new 25km super sewer, is moving the vast majority of the spoil excavated from the tunnels using barges on the River Thames – rather than using lorries on the roads.
The benefits are numerous: a reduced impact on air quality; fewer HGVs on London’s congested road network; and a much-reduced impact on vulnerable road-users, such as cyclists and pedestrians.
Compared with the original estimates of lorries needed for the project, Tideway’s investment in river transport has reduced the number by around 72 per cent.
And with tunnelling now well underway on the project (around half of the super sewer is now built), Tideway’s fleet of barges and tugs are a familiar site on the River Thames.
The excavated material is transported down river and used to create nature reserves in Kent and Essex.
Tideway’s largest 1,600t barges can carry as much material as around 100 lorries—meaning that the total lorry trips avoided to and from site is around 200.
This is good news for drivers and cyclists across the capital, while the reduced impact on London’s air quality is arguably even more profound.
Independent analysis by air quality specialists suggests that Tideway’s barges produce 90 per cent less carbon dioxide and 95 per cent less carbon monoxide that the HGV equivalent—all while travelling at much greater distances from homes and offices.
Tideway’s investment has also rejuvenated the river economy, with the Thames Skills Academy (of which Tideway is a founder) training and upskilling a new generation of river workers.
So, while Tideway is bringing the river back to life by tackling the problem of sewage pollution, it’s also bringing life back to the river.
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