Thames Water announce price hike due to Tideway Tunnel construction


Thames Water argue that the building of the tunnel will create 9,000 new jobs and will be a major skills platform for young people across the capital.


By Luke Gardener

The controversial £4.1 billion construction of the Thames Tideway Tunnel will increase water rates for all Londoners.

The average person will pay £5,000 more during their lifetime but Thames Water claim that the construction of the 20-mile sewage pipe is crucially important.

They argue that the building of the tunnel will create 9,000 new jobs and will be a major skills platform for young people across the capital.

Phil Stride, Head of Thames Tideway Tunnel, said: “It is an essential piece of infrastructure that is required because of the millions of tonnes of sewage discharged into the Thames every year.”

He added: “Levels of sewage which go into the river are totally unacceptable for an iconic river and a world leading city in the 21st century.”

He said that currently, if the entire combined sewage overload was discharged at the same time, there would be the equivalent of 300 family cars going into the river system.

However, Hammersmith and Fulham Council claim that the project’s benefits no longer justify the huge cost.

They are worried that water rates rising will mean residents on fixed incomes such as pensioners will be driven into water poverty.

Council Leader Nicholas Botterill said: “At a time when the budgets for the armed forces, schools, transport and a whole range of local services are all being squeezed – are we really going to spend £4.1 billion on a gold-plated stink pipe?”

Despite this, according to Thames Water market research, 85% of Londoners support the Thames Tideway Tunnel.

“Once a week on average sewage goes into the river which is not legal and is not acceptable,” said Nick Tennant, Communications Manager of the Thames Tideway Tunnel.

“The tunnel is not only an environmental necessity but it is also essential as it will kick-start London’s economy.”

The UK currently fails to comply with the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive which is EU legislation.

This adds legal implications and importance to the building of the tunnel.

Professor Colin Green of Middlesex University disagrees that the sewage pipe is the best solution though.

He said: “There is a strong incentive to pour concrete as for every pound Thames Water borrows to pay for large projects like sewers or reservoirs; they make a handsome return off their customers.”

This accusation was rubbished by Mr Stride who said: “I don’t support the idea that we are doing this for profit as it largely won’t be done through our organisation.

“We firmly believe that the tunnel is the most cost-effective system.”

He explained that an independent entity will be created and overseen by water company regulator Ofwat throughout the building process of the sewage pipe.

The main construction of the pipe labelled the ‘super sewer’ will begin in 2016 and will be completed in approximately six years.

Three of these years will involve full-time work in the day and overnight.

For more information on the Thames Tideway Tunnel visit

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