Heath Lambert won the tender for a Thames Water programme to reduce sewage discharge into the River Thames

UK insurance broker Heath Lambert has won the insurance tender for the London Tideway Tunnels project, a Thames Water programme to substantially reduce the volume of untreated sewage discharged to the River Thames from London’s Victorian sewers after rainfall. In association with Thames Water, Heath Lambert staged a market briefing held on 5 June 2009, at the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Pending planning approval, the Lee Tunnel will run seven kilometres from Abbey Mills, near Stratford in east London to Beckton Sewage Treatment Works (STW), the largest treatment plant in Europe. It will intercept approximately half of the 32 million tonnes of untreated sewage that currently overflows to the River Thames each year on average, when the existing system, created over 150 years ago, becomes overloaded. Construction is scheduled to begin early next year.

Alan Pratten, managing director of retail clients and development said: ‘We are delighted to be involved with this landmark project, which is so important to the future of London, helping to ensure that the capital has a sewerage network able to cope with the twin challenge of climate change and population growth.

‘At Heath Lambert, we have the flexibility to bring together a team from any relevant divisions in the group, which in this case included our major accounts, environmental, terrorism, project risk, liability, PI and construction divisions.

The depth and breadth of knowledge in our team allowed us to understand the challenging technical aspects of the project, and we were able to demonstrate our ability to deliver in this area.’ Nick Fairweather, Thames Water’s insurance manager commented: ‘…Heath Lambert showed a clear understanding of the detailed requirements of this project, and logical illustration of how they can work with the insurance market to get the best terms for delivery.’

Philip Watts, head of tunnels and infrastructure at Heath Lambert added: ‘Failure to achieve completion targets would not only allow untreated sewage to continue to be discharged into the River Thames, but also leave the UK Government open to fines from the EU, so it is imperative that the project runs to time. ‘We have put together a highly specialised team to work on this project and we are confident that we can provide Thames Water with an unparalleled level of service.’

Thames Water is also developing the Thames Tunnel, to minimise the sewage discharged to the River Thames from a further 34 Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs) along the foreshore of the river.

This tunnel’s precise route, from the west of the capital over to Beckton STW broadly following the route of the river, has not yet been decided. Thames Water expects to submit a planning application in 2011. Together the London Tideway Tunnels will be the deepest ever constructed in the capital.