Robots and synergy: Utilities unite as Cadent rolls out robots to deliver vital work in historic Whitechapel faster

in your area

Cadent works alongside Thames Water to deliver essential utility works in Whitechapel in one fell swoop saving up to 28 days of work time
Cadent also deploying game-changing robots to speed up work
Work will help ensure local community continues to enjoy safe and reliable gas and water supplies

Utilities are uniting to write a new chapter in the diverse history of Whitechapel with Cadent deploying game-changing robots to deliver essential work.
The streets of Whitechapel have seen many famous and infamous events take place over the centuries. Now in 2020 a duo of utility companies has united to ensure the historic area stays connected to safe and reliable gas and water supplies in future years. By working together, the utilities will also reduce time spent working in the area by up to 28 days.
Britain’s largest gas distribution network Cadent is working in partnership with Thames Water to deliver the essential work, which has been agreed with the support of the London Borough of Tower Hamlets and TfL (Transport for London).
Cadent’s work will involve using the high tech CISBOT (Cast Iron Sealing Bot) to give an ageing 170m section of gas mains a new lease of life.. Work will take place on Mile End Road from the junction of Westfield Way to the junction of Burdett Road. Other than a temporary bus lane closure, the work will have minimal impact on local businesses and residents. Work is scheduled to take place from Saturday 19 December 2020 to Monday 4 January 2021, with the exception of Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.
The innovative robotic technology enables work to be done much faster than using traditional methods with fewer and smaller excavations. It has the additional benefit of being able to work in live gas mains, meaning gas supplies will not need to be turned off during the work.
The robots are controlled by highly skilled human operators working in an above ground unit. In addition to the trailblazing robots Cadent will also be trialling high-tech real time information boards during the initial phase of the project.
At the same time Cadent is working Thames Water will also be carrying out work to a water main at the junction of Whitechapel Road and New Road, enabling supplies to be quickly turned off in any future emergencies. They will also be installing new technology on another main which will enable them to detect any future leaks more rapidly.
TfL and the London Borough of Tower Hamlets have also planned in work to coincide with the project.  
Locals and commuters can expect a variety of traffic management measures including lane closures, temporary traffic lights and parking bay restrictions during the work.
Local shops and businesses will remain open as usual throughout the work.  
Cadent Area Manager Kane McLoughlin said: “We’ve been working closely with Thames Water, TfL and the London Borough of Tower Hamlets to get all this essential work out of the way in one fell swoop.
“By using the innovative CISBOT robots we’ll also be cutting down the duration of our work from months to approximately two weeks.”
He added: “It’s great how everyone has come together to agree a plan which will deliver great future utility services for the local community with minimal inconvenience to local residents and commuters.”
Cadent and its staff are classified by government as ‘key workers’ and follow all the latest coronavirus safety guidance. CISBOT has the added benefit of being a technology which can be deployed with minimal human contact. For more on Cadent’s coronavirus safety practices visit  
For more on the game-changing CISBOT, which is supplied by our contractor ULC Robotics visit
If you have any questions about our work, please contact:    

How CISBOT works



Map of works

Frequently asked questions

Why are you continuing to work in Whitechapel now that the area is in Tier 4?

Following the Government’s announce regarding Tier 4 areas, the works in Whitechapel will continue as planned.  Cadent's work in Whitechapel is in the road only and we do not have to enter any businesses or homes.  Our work will not have any impact on customers’ gas supply.

Thames Water will also continue their works as planned.

Tier 4 guidance for utility companies:
To help contain the virus, everyone who can work effectively from home should do so. Where people cannot do so - including, but not limited to, people who work in critical national infrastructure, construction, or manufacturing - they should continue to travel to their workplace. This is essential to keeping the country operating and supporting sectors and employers.

Q1. Will there be changes to my gas or water supply?
No. These works will not impact any of your supplies. 

Q2. What will the working hours/days be?
We will not be working on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.  The traffic management will be 24/7 and the working hours will be as follows:

•    Cadent: 07:00 – 19:00, 7 days a week 
•    Thames Water: 08:00 – 16:30

Q3. Will access to local businesses be affected?
Access to local businesses will be maintained throughout.

Q4. Will pedestrian and road access be affected? 
We will maintain access for residents and businesses, and we will keep clearly signed routes open for pedestrians.  We will use temporary traffic lights to manage the traffic flow in the area. Lane closures and bay restrictions will also be in place to keep our customers and colleagues safe. There will be four-way traffic lights at the junction of Vallance Road.

Q5. Will parking be affected?
There will be one parking bay suspended at the junction of East Mount Street.

Q6. Will the work impact public transport? 
We have had regular meetings with Transport for London – including bus operators – as well as the London Borough of Tower Hamlets and other utility companies to adopt a collaborative approach, combining and capturing several projects within one overall scheme. This will reduce the duration of each individual scheme. 

Bus routes have not been changed. Where any bus stops have been suspended, there is/will be clear signposting to direct you to the closest available stop.

Q7. How are you managing COVID-19 and social distancing measures?
We recognise that you may have concerns about COVID-19, and we want to reassure you that your safety is our number one priority. All our engineers are classified as ‘key workers’ by the Government and follow the latest guidance. 

Our workers are fully equipped with the necessary protective equipment to ensure that they can carry out the works safely in line with COVID-19 measures. We are maintaining social distancing as far as possible, but there are some occasions where we cannot maintain this and so we have put in place extra precautions to protect our workers and customers as per the government’s advice.

We have provided signage around work sites as a reminder of social distancing measures and are maintaining pedestrian access as much as possible to ensure that the public can travel safely around our sites.

Q8. I have special access requirements; how does this work affect me? 
If you have any special access requirements, please get in touch with the relevant company working in the area as per the below contacts.

Q9. Who can I contact to answer any questions I might have? 
If you have any questions about our work, these should be directed to the relevant company who will be able to assist you with your enquiry. 

•    Cadent on 0800 389 8000 or at 

•    Thames Water on 0800 316 9800 or at

Each area of the work will be clearly signposted to say which company is carrying out the work.

Q10. How will you keep me informed of any changes to the work? 
We will be updating our social media platforms to keep you informed of the progress of the work. 

Q11. Are emergency services still able to reach me should I need them? 
Yes. We have spoken to local emergency service providers and have plans in place to make sure we maintain access throughout all our works. 

Q12. Why are these works required in Whitechapel?
These works have been planned with and are supported by the London Borough of Tower Hamlets and Transport for London (TfL).

We’re improving the energy and water supplies in your area. In partnership with Thames Water, we are carrying out essential upgrades to ensure you continue to receive reliable gas, water and electricity supplies.

Q13. Why are Cadent and Thames Water working at the same time? 
Cadent and Thames Water have identified several critical gas and water main repairs to futureproof the network in Whitechapel, which will be carried out as a single programme from 19 December until 4 January 2021. TfL will carry out essential maintenance at the same time to make best use of the works areas.

By collaborating in this way, we can reduce the overall amount of time required to complete the works and minimise disruption to you. We estimate that by working together we will reduce disruption to your area by up to 28 days. 

Q14. What work is each company carrying out?  
  • Cadent are carrying out essential gas pipe upgrades on Mile End Road between the junctions of Westfield Way and Burdett Road from 21 December 2020 to 4 January 2021. We’re using innovative robotic technology, meaning disruption will be kept to a minimum and your gas supply will not be interrupted. 
  • Thames Water are:
    • Installing new connections to water and wastewater services at 265 Whitechapel Road starting from 19 December 2020
    • Carrying out proactive maintenance work on the junction of Whitechapel Road and New Road from 21 to 23 December 2020 so supplies can easily be switched on and off in the case of an emergency
    • Adding new technology to a water main near Whitechapel Road from 21 to 23 December 2020 to help detect leaks in the network more quickly
Q15. How far does the work extend?
The work area starts from the junction of Fieldgate Street and runs to 359 Mile End Road. There will be multiple sites along this route. Please see the map above for details of each work location. 

Due to unforeseen circumstances, UK Power Networks work has had to be postponed and will no longer be part of this collaborative programme of works.


Cadent is the UK’s largest gas distribution network with a 200-year legacy.  We are in a unique position to build on strong foundations whilst encouraging the curiosity to think differently and the courage to embrace change.  Day to day we continue to operate, maintain and innovate the UK’s largest gas network, transporting gas safely and protecting people in an emergency.   Our skilled engineers and specialists remain committed to the communities we serve, working day and night to ensure gas reaches 11 million homes from Cumbria to North London and the Welsh Borders to East Anglia, to keep your energy flowing. 

Future of Gas: Here at Cadent we support the Government’s plans to reach Net Zero by 2050. That means we’re backing the introduction of hydrogen as a low carbon alternative to natural gas for the future. We know people love the controllability of gas and, with our network already in place, it makes sense to switch to the lower carbon alternative offered by hydrogen, which we believe can keep homes and businesses warm for generations to come.

Cadent manages the national gas emergency service free phone line on behalf of the gas industry - 0800 111 999*

Cadent Gas Ltd is owned by a consortium of global investors.

*All calls are recorded and may be monitored.

Media contacts

Stephanie van Rosse

07767 337343