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River environment

We’re transporting more by river

River Environment 

The Thames Tideway Tunnel will collect sewage before it enters the river and ensure it is properly treated, cleaning up the river for London, its inhabitants and its wildlife and allowing the city to sustain a rich, diverse ecology.

Tideway will greatly reduce the quantity of sewage-related litter in the Thames and, in turn, the amount ingested by wildlife. Over the last 30 years, we have seen a dramatic clean-up of the Thames, making it a prime example of a recovering ecosystem. But the millions of tonnes of raw sewage that still overspills into the river each year represents its last major source of pollution. The visual appearance of the river will improve, and our new structures in the river will provide new habitats for aquatic wildlife.

But we want an environmental legacy that goes beyond the physical structures we leave behind. Working with academics and ecologists, we want to improve understanding of the river and provide a broader knowledge of habitats and aquatic ecology.

Every Boat Counts film


Tideway is investing £54m in its More by River strategy, which has been developed to reduce the number of HGVs needed to deliver the project. More by River delivers numerous benefits - we are reducing our impact on the road network, on vulnerable
road users, and London’s air quality. We are also playing a part in rejuvenating the river economy. Compared to original
estimates of HGV movements needed for the project, we have reduced the number by an estimated 72%. 

By using the river to transport materials we avoid an average of almost 200 lorry movements a day. To date, the project has moved over 1 million tonnes of material by river. 

Tideway is the first infrastructure project to develop comprehensive data on the air quality benefits of a river strategy
compared to the road equivalent. We found that there was a 54% reduction in NOx, an 86% reduction in NO2 and a
90% reduction in CO2. The research was based on a comparison with modern standard HGVs

Read our report on the use of a Green D+ low-carbon fuel.

We’re moving tunnel spoil by river
Track our tunnelling machines
Track our machines

Track our tunnelling machines

See where our tunnelling machines have got to under London.

Our Locations

Our Locations

Find out more about our site locations along the tunnel line.