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Tideway continues its use of the river over road to build London’s super sewer

Tideway’s mission to use the River Thames for transportation during construction of the super sewer has reached a major milestone, with five million tonnes of material transported by river so far.

To date, Tideway’s use of the river has avoided 600,000 HGV journeys and saved 14,816 tons of carbon dioxide emissions.

Since tunnelling started, 98 per cent of material excavated from the main tunnel has been transported by river from Tideway’s foreshore sites.

Roger Bailey, Tideway’s Chief Technical Officer, said: “We are incredibly proud of Tideway’s use of the river to transport materials, which is on a scale unprecedented in modern times. By taking HGVs off the road, we have made real steps in reducing our carbon footprint as well as helping to make London’s roads safer.”

One of the largest 1,600-tonne barges can carry as much material as almost 100 lorries. With obvious benefits for cyclists, pedestrians and other road-users, it also produces up to 90 per cent less carbon dioxide emissions.

In 2019, independent research concluded that using barges to move material offered profound reductions in emissions (when compared to the HGV equivalent):

90 per cent less CO2 (carbon dioxide)
95 per cent less CO (carbon monoxide)
86 per cent less NO (nitric oxide)
54 per cent less NOx (nitrogen oxides)

On top of this, the entire fleet for the central section of the project – run by GPS Marine - is now powered with biodiesel. This is an ultra-low emission, sustainable fuel that is generated from a feed stock of solely waste vegetable oil – and does not use palm oil in its production.

Tideway tunnelling machine Selina arriving in Bermondsey by river

Its benefits are profound, including a NOx reduction of 30 per cent, a particulates reduction of 70 per cent, and a reduction of greenhouse gases of around 90 per cent.

Tideway is also working towards leaving a lasting legacy for the river economy by supporting the training of 50 river apprentices through the Thames Skills Academy, working towards creating long-term, sustainable employment on the River Thames.