Sir Edward Lister, Deputy Mayor of London, has visited National Grid's new deep underground tunnels in Wandsworth to find out more about the project which will provide a new 32 km electricity superhighway to help keep the capital plugged into energy supplies.
The visit marked the recent launch in Wandsworth of tunnel boring machine (TBM), "Evelyn", which is busy carving out the latest section of the tunnel route to Wimbledon. Sir Edward got to go down the 35-m tunnel shaft and see Evelyn at work first hand.
Sir Edward commented, "I'm grateful to the team at National Grid for showing me the hard work that's going on deep underground in what is one of London's most impressive and important infrastructure projects. It's amazing to think that as Londoners go about their business this massive tunneling machine is at work below the city helping to make sure that the capital's energy needs are met, supporting vital employment opportunities in the process."
National Grid's Head of Cable Tunnels David Luetchford said, "We were delighted to be able to invite Sir Edward to our site and to take him down into one of our tunnels. Having the support of the Mayor's Office is crucial for the project, which once completed, will help to ensure that homes and businesses across the capital continue to receive the power supplies that make life as we know it possible."
The London Power Tunnels project is due to be completed in 2018 and once operational it will play a vital part in bringing electricity to homes, businesses and community facilities across the capital.
The government's National Infrastructure Plan has identified tunneling as a vital skill for delivering future infrastructure projects. By 2015, it is estimated that the number of jobs in tunneling and underground work will rise to 4,000. In the longer term potentially thousands of engineer and technician jobs will also be created by National Grid and others in the energy sector investment in infrastructure continues to ensure people continue to enjoy safe and reliable power supplies.