Retrospective InSAR Analysis of East London during the Construction of the Lee Tunnel

Jennifer Scoular, Richard Ghail, Philippa Mason, James Lawrence, Matthew Bellhouse, Rachel Holley, Tom Morgan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Lee Tunnel was constructed as the first part of the Thames Tideway Improvement scheme, between 2010 and 2016. With tunnelling for the East section of the main Thames Tideway Tunnel, which joins the Lee Tunnel at Abbey Mills Pumping Station, beginning in early 2020, this paper investigates patterns of deformation in East London during construction of the Lee Tunnel. An unexpected geological feature, later identified as a drift filled hollow, was discovered during tunnelling. This study demonstrates that had eight years of ERS Persistent Scatterer Interferometry (PSI) data been analysed prior to tunnelling, the unusual pattern of displacement may have been recognised and further targeted borehole investigations taken place before the launch of the tunnel boring machine. Results also show how areas of different land use, including cemeteries and historic landfill, exhibit differences in settlement behaviour, compared with surrounding terraced housing. This research highlights the challenges in interpreting PSI results in an urban area with ongoing construction and the value of a long archive of data, which now spans almost three decades in London, that can be used to establish a baseline prior to construction.
Original languageEnglish
Article number849
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalRemote Sensing
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 6 Mar 2020

Cite this