Tunnel vision: Thames Water and the London Tideway Tunnel

For over a decade Thames Water has been planning a GBP 4.1bn tunnel to capture raw wastewater which overflows from its sewer system into the Thames River during heavy rains. The project is currently seeking final development consent and has the support of key stakeholders including the Government, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Environment Agency and the Greater London Authority. However, it remains controversial, principally because no in-depth study has ever been carried out on alternative green infrastructure or blended approaches, and also because Thames Water’s dividend policy and increasing leverage has left it unable to finance the investment without significantly raising water bills.

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