The European Investment Bank (EIB) has agreed to provide £700 million for the Thames Tideway Tunnel project in the UK.
London’s so-called “super sewer” is a 7.2 metre-wide and 25-kilometre long tunnel expected to stop millions of tonnes of untreated sewage that currently overflow into the Thames every year.
Worth £4.2 billion, it is believed to be the biggest infrastructure project undertaken by the UK water industry.
The 35-year loan has been agreed with Tideway, the new regulated company set up to design, build, commission and maintain the tunnel which will directly control or intercept discharges from more than 30 combined sewer overflow points, stretching from Acton in the west to Stratford in the east.
Ofwat has set a regulatory baseline of £3.1 billion for Tideway, with the rest being funded by Thames Water, the capital’s main provider of water and wastewater services.
Environment Minister Rory Stewart said: “The Thames Tideway Tunnel is a really impressive project. It will improve the quality of the water in the Thames – benefitting fish and wildlife – and all the people along its banks. It will prevent millions of tonnes of sewage flowing into the water.
“It is also an excellent example of investment in the UK’s water sector, supported by financing from institutions such as the European Investment Bank: good value for customers, creating jobs and making the long term infrastructure decisions necessary to protect this great city and our natural environment in the century ahead.”
Last year government figures revealed the project could bring environmental benefits worth up to almost £13 billion.