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Forget white van man, it’s white boat man now, says Tideway chief

Lower Thames tunnel

Tideway chief executive Andy Mitchell has called for the river to be used as “London’s largest motorway”.

Speaking at the London Infrastructure Summit, Mitchell said that the Thames was the biggest under used resource in London and that capacity needed to be increased to ease congestion in London.

“If you stand on the A4 and see five trucks go by in a minute, you’d think ’what has gone wrong?’,” he said, highlighting the lack of commercial traffic on the Thames. “It’s eight times bigger than all the public parks put together – we need to use this massive resource.” Mitchell joked that London should start thinking about the “white boat man”, instead of the clichéd “white van man”.

He also discussed the use of construction vehicles in central London, saying that the trucks needed to be safer and greener.

“There are trucks out there where the driver is lower and can see better and maybe you say that only those vehicles are allowed in London and then being electric should be the same,” he said. “Why do you need vehicles capable of driving 70 miles? That last 10 miles should be on an electric vehicle and [they should be] the only ones allowed in the city.”

This was supported by Greater London Authority chief of staff and deputy mayor for policy and planning Sir Edward Lister who said that large projects needed to set this agenda at the beginning of a project. He added that it is necessary to build large storage facilities for projects and move all materials and equipment to site in one go.

“We’ve got to build big warehouses, consolidate it all and then ship it in, in one go,” said Lister. “In places which are really congested, that’s the way to go.”

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