Today, Tideway unveils Loo Gardens – a magical subterranean installation – nested within the Thames Tideway Tunnel, also known as London’s ‘super sewer’, created to symbolise the healthier future of the River Thames. The unique underground oasis, featuring a playful, river-inspired experience, pays homage to the positive environmental impact the super sewer will have on London by preventing millions of tonnes of raw sewage entering the river every year.
As the garden is unveiled this week, the Tideway project looks ahead to protecting the River Thames for the first time next year – when the system is activated for testing.
Tideway is also giving some lucky members of the public a once in a lifetime opportunity to visit the super sewer and head 50 metres under the city to explore the underground garden, and see the scale of this vital infrastructure up close.
Once fully operational, the super sewer will prevent 95% of sewage spills and create a cleaner healthier river environment. The ecological benefits will be significant for the hundreds of species of fish, birds, mammals and riverside flora that call the Thames home*.
Andy Mitchell, CEO of Tideway, said: "We're thrilled to unveil Loo Gardens – an underground oasis that symbolises the incredible environmental legacy that the Thames Tideway Tunnel will offer London and its communities for years to come. This subterranean haven provides a multisensory experience, featuring the nature that will thrive once the super sewer is fully up and running. The garden points to a cleaner, greener future, and an example of the long-lasting legacy the tunnel will leave, far outlasting its construction."
Loo Gardens promises an awe-inspiring spectacle, offering a truly memorable and immersive experience that touches all the senses, including a bespoke soundscape and the aroma of grasses and wetlands. As part of the project, Tideway has worked with its long-time partner, Thames21, a charity dedicated to improving the health of the River Thames, to create elements of the gardens using repurposed waste cleared from the banks of the river.
Deborah Leach, CEO of Thames21, said: “Loo Gardens is a fantastic spectacle which celebrates the hugely important environmental impact that the Thames Tideway Tunnel will have on the River Thames. A clean River Thames is essential to wildlife, the local community and river users. Thames21 believes that plastic waste should have no place in our rivers or the natural environment and everybody has a role to tackle this critical environmental issue. Whilst the garden represents the regeneration possible in the future, we’re delighted that it has also played a part in cleaning up the river today by using repurposed waste collected by Thames21 citizen scientists from the riverbanks.”
The Tideway project is due to be complete in 2025, following secondary lining, connection, commissioning and testing works. To date, the Tideway project has seen the creation of more than 4,000 sustainable jobs and more than 150 apprenticeships.