Plan for huge airport in the Severn Estuary, “Severnside Airport”, submitted to Airports Commission

Plans for a new £5 billion Severnside airport which would serve 40 million passengers every year have been put submitted to the Airports Commission. The plan by MSP Solutions, is for a new airport constructed on a reclaimed island in the Severn Estuary, between Chepstow and Newport in South Wales, which would replace Bristol and Cardiff airports (which would have to close), and would be the biggest regional airport in the country – (in the perhaps unlikely event it is ever built). The aim is to build the new airport alongside the M4 and the First Great Western rail link to London. Not surprisingly Bristol Airport believes that efforts at dealing with expected growth in air travel should be concentrated on the existing airports.  The CEO of Bristol airport says “The idea of a new Severnside Airport was dismissed by the Aviation White Paper in 2003 on the basis that it would ‘struggle to attract sufficient traffic to be financially viable and would not generate sufficient economic or regeneration benefits to merit support’. The Commission will continue to consider the submissions received and decide in December which merit further detailed study, for final decision after the summer 2015 election.

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“SSevernside airport concept original photo at http://www.origin3studio.co.uk/blog/?post_type=portfolio&p=223 Severnside airport aerial concept  original photo at http://www.origin3studio.co.uk/blog/?post_type=portfolio&p=223

Plans for £5 billion Severnside airport put forward as part of a major study

08-August-2013  (South West Business)
by Mike Ribbeck, Business editor, The Bristol Post

Plans for a new £5 billion Severnside airport which would serve 40 million passengers every year have been put forward as part of a major study into the UK’s aviation industry.

Plans submitted by John Borkowski .

Plans for a new £5 billion Severnside airport which would serve 40 million passengers every year have been put forward as part of a major study into the UK’s aviation industry.

The new airport would replace Bristol and its rival Cardiff and would be the biggest regional airport in the country – in the perhaps unlikely event it is ever built.

Industry players, pressure groups and regional airports have all been asked to stake their various claims as part of a government-appointed Airport Commission.

The scores of submissions and proposals from across the UK were published yesterday and the commission will announce its final findings in 12 months time.

And as part of the process various organisations have been putting forward their plans and ideas for how best to serve the needs of people living in the Bristol area and the whole of the South West.

MSP Solutions, the consortium which is also behind plans to build a new airport on the Thames Estuary, has drawn up a detailed business case for the ambitious scheme to build the new airport between Chepstow and Newport in South Wales.

If the scheme did go ahead it would mean that both Bristol and Cardiff airports would close down but MSP argues that much of the work would transfer from the two airports.

The aim is to build the new airport alongside the M4 and the First Great Western rail link to London.

Cardiff and Bristol have enjoyed contrasting fortunes in recent years. Bristol has been one of the best performing regional airports while passenger numbers have plummeted at Cardiff and major airlines have also pulled out of the ailing airfield.

The Welsh Regional Assembly stepped in and bought the airport earlier this year for £52 million with passenger numbers dipping below 1.2 million.

Not surprisingly Bristol Airport believes that efforts at dealing with expected growth in air travel should be concentrated on the existing airports.

This year the airport dealt with just under six million passengers but has a £150 million expansion plan in place which will see passenger numbers increase to ten million a year.

Bristol Airport has long argued that rather than concentrating efforts on airports in the South East regional airports should be allowed to expand and deal with more passengers.

Opponents have said that poor transport links and the hills surrounding Lulsgate have hindered the airport.

But bosses at Bristol argue that the new generation of fuel efficient planes such as the A350 and Boeings Dreamliner will mean people will be able to fly to long-haul destinations direct from the South West including America and the Middle East.

Robert Sinclair, chief executive at Bristol Airport, said: “As the leading airport serving South West England and South Wales, Bristol Airport already handles nearly six million passengers a year travelling to more than 100 direct destinations.

“With planning permission in place for facilities to handle 10 million passengers per year, and new aircraft technology opening up access to long haul destinations, the airport is well positioned to meet the connectivity requirements of both regions in the medium and long term.”

He added: “The Airports Commission has received many proposals for different airport schemes right across the UK. It is important that these are deliverable solutions not somewhat far-fetched proposals reliant on the forced closure of a successful, privately owned airport which supports thousands of jobs.

“The idea of a new Severnside Airport was dismissed by the Future of Air Transport White Paper back in 2003 on the basis that it would ‘struggle to attract sufficient traffic to be financially viable and would not generate sufficient economic or regeneration benefits to merit support’.

“Given that the long-term demand forecasts on which this decision was based have since been revised downwards, it is difficult to see how a different conclusion could be drawn today.”

Cardiff Airport has also come out fighting and has bizarrely claimed it could transform itself into Heathrow Airport’s sixth terminal.

The Airports Commission has received more than 120 plans or proposals and said many have been “imaginative and thoughtful”.

Chairman Sir Howard Davies added that the responses “show clearly the wide spectrum of views that exist”.

Plans supported by London Mayor Boris Johnson for a new four-runway airport to the east of London and proposals for the expansion of Gatwick and Stansted have also been put forward.

Sir Howard, a former head of the Financial Services Authority, is due to present an interim report on UK airport needs by the end of this year and a full report in summer 2015.

He said: “The proposals that we have received and that we have published today demonstrate imaginative and thoughtful responses to the challenges that the Airports Commission has been set, but also show clearly the wide spectrum of views that exist on these issues.

“The timetable to comment is tight, as we need to move quickly to winnow down the options and reduce uncertainty for potentially affected communities.

“I encourage everyone with an interest to make their views known, to help inform our recommendations on these complex and important questions.”

Pictured: Computer generated image from Severnside Airport of the proposed international airport which will serve Wales and the West of England.

Comments

Jeremy Birch

What an insane idea. This is put forward by people keen on pouring a lot of concrete, but has no basis in economic reality. Bristol airport has less passengers today than it did in 2007, Cardiff has considerably less than at that time. There is no evidence that a huge airport here would ever attract enough people to justify this huge expenditure. 40 million passengers is almost 6 times what Bristol and Cardiff currently serve, and two thirds of what Heathrow serves. The Department for Transport projections for passenger numbers fall every time they are revised. We currently have far more runway capacity than is needed to serve those projections, and this would be extra capacity in the wrong place (ie not next to London, where most of the demand is). And on top of all this – we need to radically reduce carbon emissions and that means not increasing the number of flights, yet this would release around 2.4 million tonnes of carbon every year – or 15% more than the whole of the city of Bristol. Is that the right way to go?   http://southwestbusiness-co-uk.mysmartercms.co.uk/news/08082013090137-plans-for–5-billion-severnside-airport-put-forward-as-part-of-a-major-study-/ .

 

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see also BBC

Welsh ‘Gatwick’ airport plan for Severnside defended

9.9.2013
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. Much earlier, back in 2003 – ten years ago:

16.12.2003  (BBC)

New £2bn airport plan dropped – 2003 Aviation White Paper

Cardiff International Airport

The terminal at Cardiff International Airport is set to expand

Plans for a new £2bn airport in the Severn Estuary have been rejected by the UK Government. The proposal for the Severnside airport plan was submitted earlier this year, and could have been ready to serve Wales and the west of England by 2012. The decision to drop the scheme emerged in the government’s 30-year plan for UK air travel unveiled in the aviation white paper on Thursday. It said Cardiff International Airport needs a bigger terminal and easier access, and suggested the Welsh assembly should set up “a route development fund” to boost Welsh air links. Similar schemes exist in Scotland and Northern Ireland, and could lure transcontinental airlines to south Wales. The white paper also revealed expansion at Bristol, Manchester and Birmingham airports but, speaking to BBC Wales, Transport Minister Kim Howells strongly denied claims that Cardiff had been downgraded. “This is a nonsense – Cardiff is set to grow from 1.5m passengers to 5m a year,” said Mr Howells.

Plane

There will be no new airport in the Severn Estuary

He said when access links were improved, Cardiff would be a much more attractive proposition for airlines, but the Severnside plan had not “stacked up commercially”. “We did not see a future or even a start-up for the proposals we were presented with on Severnside,” he said. The Severnside airport would have been built near Newport, south Wales, with runways on a man-made island in the Severn Estuary. Supporters had said the airport could have handled 30m passengers a year by 2030 and helped create 13,000 jobs. Last year, Transport Minister Alistair Darling said the proposal would only have been likely to go ahead if airports at Cardiff or Bristol closed.   Centre of excellence Michael Stephen, head of the Severnside proposal, said the Department for Transport had held “a blinkered attitude to solving the problem of future air transport demand in the south east of England”. He said the white paper “failed to take a strategic view” and allowed London business interests to “prevail over the legitimate concerns of people in south east England and South Wales”. Welsh Assembly Economic Development Minister Andrew Davies said he would “look closely” at introducing a special fund to support services from Cardiff. He also said he would be consulting on proposals for intra-Wales air services early next year as he was especially “keen to develop better transport links with north Wales”. Mr Davies also agreed that south Wales had the potential to develop a centre of excellence for aircraft maintenance and training. Proposals for Severnside had been fully examined, but he said establishing a new airport was “very risky”. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/3325353.stm   .

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Welsh Government should begin planning for Severnside Airport to replace Cardiff – report

March 16, 2013

South Wales Evening Post

THE Welsh Government should go ahead with the purchase of Cardiff Airport, but plan long term for a new Severnside Airport to replace Cardiff and Bristol, according to a new study carried out for the Institute of Welsh Affairs. Co-operate The study, by aviation consultants MSP Solutions, says that Wales and the West of England should co-operate to promote a state-of-the-art, 24-hour Severnside passenger and cargo airport that would serve the whole of southwest Britain. The proposal will be submitted to the UK Government’s Airports Commission, which is looking at the issue of airport capacity in London.

But it has also been asked “to take account of the national, regional and local implications of any proposals”.

The report says there is a danger that decisions on airport provision in London could result in what it describes as “a serious worsening of air connectivity for Wales and the West of England.”

http://www.thisissouthwales.co.uk/Welsh-Government-begin-planning-Severnside/story-18433445-detail/story.html#axzz2dajguj5t

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 More details – and images – of the Severnside airport proposal:
At Origin3 Studio we consider the current debate regarding airport capacity to be too focused on London and the South East and in peril of not embracing the bigger picture. It is a key priority of any strategic assessment to look at the regional and national impact of any proposal and this set our minds working on an alternative view that asked the question; Could an international airport run as a regional hub based in the South West provide a better long term solution to the capacity issues facing the UK? The CEO of National Air Traffic Control has previously said that the crowded air space over the South East of England would “simply not support the introduction of new arrival and departure routes for a major new airport without serious implications. It would be impossible to open a fourth airport in the South East without closing or severely limiting flights from one of the existing airports”. Our thesis is that an entirely new airport for the West of Britain located in the Severn Estuary between the cities of Cardiff and Bristol presents a viable solution that creates a range of exciting infrastructure possibilities and compliments rather than challenges the existing major commercial airports in the UK. An airport in this location can bring together energy generation, regional economic development and the joining up of passenger and freight logistics by road, rail, air and sea. Already very successful regional airport operations can grow and expand routes and capacity well beyond existing site limitations. The Severn Estuary Airport is presented as an alternative to the proposal to close Heathrow and move the United Kingdom’s main hub to the East of London. The project is a new two runway airport capably of expanding to four runways. http://www.origin3studio.co.uk/blog/?post_type=portfolio&p=223
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