Stephen Timms, Member of Parliament for East Ham, today visited Thames Water’s Lee Tunnel site in Beckton where, along with students from New Vic College, he met Thames Water staff and engineers. As well as completing a tour of what Mr Timms called the“impressive and important” tunnel, he met with New Vic students to discuss the project with Thames Water staff. Stephen and the students ‘speed networked’ with staff to discuss all aspects of the project from finance and project management to engineering and administration.
The Lee Tunnel is the first of two tunnels, which will collectively capture an average of 39 million tonnes of sewage a year from the 35 most polluting combined sewer overflows (CSOs), built by the Victorians as part of a sewerage network that still serves London 150 years on.
The £635m tunnel will tackle discharges from London’s largest CSO at Abbey Mills Pumping Station in Stratford, which accounts for 40 per cent of the total problems.
The four-mile tunnel will run beneath the London Borough of Newham from Abbey Mills to Beckton.
It will help prevent more than 16 million tonnes of sewage mixed with rainwater overflowing into the River Lee each year, by capturing it and transferring it to Beckton Sewage Treatment Works, which is being expanded by 60 per cent to enable it to deal with the increased volumes.
Speaking after the visit Stephen said: "It's fantastic to see investment in the local area benefitting local college students. The Lee Tunnel is a world-class engineering project happening right here on our doorstep so we must take advantage of this while the opportunity is there. By creating education programmes, such as Thames Waters', organisations can encourage our young people into careers and ultimately future employment."
"The sheer scale of the works is astounding! It's not until you're standing at the top of the shaft looking down that you suddenly realise how deep 75metres actually is and the work that has gone into constructing the shaft and tunnel."