Construction to start on Thames Water ‘Super Sewer’

The construction of London’s new £4.2bn ‘super sewer’ – the Thames Tideway Tunnel – will begin next year. This follows the confirmation of independent investors to finance and deliver the scheme.

Bazalgette Tunnel Limited is the new special-purpose company appointed to take the project forward, and today received its licence from Ofwat as a new regulated utilities business, separate from Thames Water.

International law firm Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) helped Thames Water secure the development consent for the Thames Tideway Tunnel, one of the UK’s biggest infrastructure projects. This was granted in September 2013 by Environment Secretary Liz Truss and Communities Secretary Eric Pickles. The decision was the culmination of seven years of work for the BLP team and followed a rigorous and intensive public examination process which began in September 2013. It was the first waste water project to be submitted under the Planning Act 2008 and the largest Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP) to be examined under the regime.

​Two remaining judicial reviews challenging the grant of development consent for the Thames Tideway Tunnel ‘super sewer’ project were dismissed by the Court of Appeal.

BLP also advised on, and assisted with implementation of, the strategy for acquiring the numerous land interests needed for the project (including by way of compulsory purchase) and helped to negotiate agreements with many third parties whose interests will be affected by the project.  This included advising on the arrangements for the grant of land interests and transfer of agreements to Bazalgette Tunnel Limited.

The ‘super sewer’ tunnel follows the route of the River Thames from West London to Limehouse, where it then continues north-east to Abbey Mills Pumping Station near Stratford. The tunnel will be 7.2 metres in diameter and have a capacity of 1.6 million cubic metres, upgrading London’s Victorian sewerage network to cope with the demands of the 21st century. Today’s news has been welcomed by Ministers, business leaders and environmental groups. The tunnel will tackle the issue of discharges of untreated sewage into the river, create thousands of jobs and boost the economy.

James Good, the BLP Planning Partner who led the team to secured the development consent for the tunnel commented: “We are delighted to have been involved in advising Thames Water on their fantastic project which will have a huge impact on the Thames. It has been a superb team effort.”


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