I’ve been in touch with many people over the Tideway Tunnel construction works and went on site to raise concerns and see how the site is developing. I met with the site project team and Tideway Chief Exec, Andy Mitchell.
The tunnel, when finished, aims to prevent almost all sewage entering the Thames from London’s Victorian-era sewers and was welcomed by many environmental groups for its long-term benefits. The Chambers Wharf site selection for a major works site was opposed locally however and has a significant impact on many local people.
I was given a tour of the construction site with Tideway showing me some of the extra measures they are taking to minimise noise and local impact – like bringing more materials by river and not road, using the first electric hydrofraise (excavating machine) in the world, and adding additional insulation to some of the pipes pumping materials around.
The scale and complexity of the project inevitably mean it will continue to have a significant impact and I raised several people’s specific concerns about the works – and proposed extended work times. Some evenings, work will continue to 10pm – an issue opposed by Southwark Council and many local people. Around 180 households have already received some form of extra help as a result of the current works and longer hours on site may cause the number to rise further.
Tideway emphasised their other contributions – in creating jobs and apprenticeships for local people, as well as funding local projects and part of the Thames Skills Academy to create even more work on the river with a skilled workforce for the future. However, it is essential that disruption and noise for local people is minimised and adequately compensated given the potential disruption to people’s lives on and around this compact site.
I will continue to monitor the site and if you have any concerns please don’t hesitate to get in touch!