TESTRAD questions Airports Commission decision to rule out their “London Britannia” estuary airport
TESTRAD (the Thames Estuary Research and Development Company has appealed to the Airports Commission for more information on how it reached its decision not to short-list a Thames Estuary Airport. The TESTRAD CEO Bridget Rosewell has written to Sir Howard Davies, saying they are “concerned about the adequacy of the assessment upon which the Commission has based its conclusions for the final short-list”. Sir Howard said that seeing merit for potential to boost economic development to the east of London and reduce noise over the Capital, the Commission would undertake further assessment of its own for a potential airport on the Estuary’s Isle of Grain. A decision on whether to include it on the short-list will be made by “late summer” in time for the consultation on the chosen options in October. At the RunwaysUK conference, the Grain possibility was discussed and it was clear that arguments against it were hugely stronger than those for it. It makes little practical, economic or environmental sense. Bridget Rosewell and her team want clarification on why TESTRAD’s and other Estuary proposals were deemed “not credible”. She also says some projects (Heathrow?) were given preferential access to the Commission and wants details of those meetings.
TESTRAD questions Airports Commission decision on estuary airports
17 Jan 2014
By Niki May Young
TESTRAD questions Airports Commission decision on estuary airports
The Thames Estuary Research and Development Company has appealed to the Airports Commission for more information on how it reached its decision not to shortlist a Thames Estuary Airport in its interim capacity solutions report.
TESTRAD CEO Bridget Rosewell (pictured) wrote yesterday to Sir Howard Davies, who is leading the Commission tasked with finding the best solution to meet the increasing capacity demands on the UK’s airports. In her letter she said TESTRAD “remains concerned about the adequacy of the assessment upon which the Commission has based its conclusions for the final shortlist” after its proposal for ‘London Britannia’ in the Thames Estuary was dismissed.
The Commission’s Interim Report, published on 17 December, shortlisted three capacity-building proposals from over 50 received. Two of the shortlisted choices involved expansion at Heathrow Airport to the west of London, while the other explored capacity at Gatwick, to the south of London.
Further options that would see an airport built on reclaimed land in the Thames Estuary to the east of London were deemed too challenging, expensive and risky for the environment by the Commission. They could pose both flood and legal risk, it advised, adding that no submission had adequately provided plans to tackle all of these issues.
However, seeing merit for potential to boost economic development to the east of London and reduce noise over the Capital, the Commission advised that it would undertake further assessment of its own for a potential airport on the Estuary’s Isle of Grain. The London Mayor Boris Johnson, supported by Atkins had also proposed an airport on the Isle of Grain, a proposal highlighted in the Interim Report as costing around five times that of the three short-listed, at up to £112 billion.
TESTRAD, a team including architecture and planning giants Gensler and Ramboll have been left perplexed: “It is our strong view that, when tested against the Commission’s own criteria, the London Britannia proposal has far greater merit as a location than the Isle of Grain (in any guise),” Rosewell said.
She called for clarification over which Isle of Grain location, design and capacity the Commission would be further analysing and on what basis TESTRAD’s and other Estuary proposals were deemed “not credible”.
Further, Rosewell claims that some projects were given preferential access to the Commission: “We are also concerned that we were not given the opportunity to meet with the Commission and explain the detail of our proposal – our request for a meeting was refused, although, we understand that the Commission did meet other scheme promoters.”
Rosewell requested details of those meetings.
PDF, 80.3KB, 12 pages
This publication sets out the Commission’s current position on taking forward additional feasibility and impacts work for an inner Thames Estuary airport proposal.
It invites comments on the draft terms of reference for the 4 research studies which the Airports Commission will be taking forward.
Airports Commission by Sir Howard Davies to decide in September about four-runway hub airport on the Isle of Grain after public consultation
by Paul Francis (Kent online)
The government commission examining airport capacity in the south east has started a fresh consultation on plans for a four-runway hub airport in Kent.
The Davies Commission says it wants to hear views about the idea of an airport on the Isle of Grain before deciding whether it should be included in a final shortlist.
The commission says it will decide by September if the scheme, backed by Mayor of London Boris Johnson, is feasible.
An aerial image of Lord Foster’s proposed Thames Hub airport at Grain
Last month, the commission headed by Sir Howard Davies said it could not reach a firm conclusion and wanted time to consider a hub airport on the Isle of Grain in more detail.
It is being promoted by the company of world-renowned architect Lord Foster.
A 12-page report announcing the fresh consultation and call for evidence says the Thames Estuary schemes submitted during the first stage of the review “were both imaginative and ambitious”.
It said the idea “of a once-in-a-lifetime decision to build a new hub airport that would significantly reduce the impacts of flying into and out of London…is compelling.”
But it also acknowledges the potential adverse impact on the area, notably the environment.
Lord Foster’s plans for a four-runway airport at Grain have provoked a strong reaction
It said these, along with operational issues and the economic and social impacts, would determine whether it was feasible.
The commission will publish an analysis and evidence it receives in June, which will then be subject to further consultation.
A final decision will be made in September on whether the scheme is credible and join expansion options for Gatwick and Heathrow.
The commission will then publish its final recommendations in 2015, after the general election.
The deadline is May 23.
“London Britannia” (aka ‘Boris Island’) mega Thames Estuary airport designs publicised by promoters, Testrad
In the last month before the Airports Commission reveals its interim report, there is a flurry of activity, with airport schemes vying with each other to get media attention – and the attention of Sir Howard Davies. The mega-expensive (and needing huge public funding) scheme calling itself ”London Britannia Airport” (aka Boris Island) had got itself plenty of media coverage. Its developers, Testrad, say the cost of £47 billion to develop the airport plus rail links, infrastructure etc, “would be recouped from the real estate value and closure of Heathrow.” There is little new, other than what was reported earlier, in July. The airport claims it would bring huge economic benefits, cover most of the Thames estuary in a development area, allow the area at Heathrow (airport would have to be closed) to become a pleasant London suburb, and there are a list of other claims – including that it “avoids the problems of other land-based airport developments.” It even makes out that it avoids bird strike problems (?). The entire area is part of the Outer Thames Estuary Special Protection Area.http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=18321
The Testrad brochure containing their airport proposal is at http://testrad.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Thames-estuary-brochure.pdf
‘Boris Island’ London Airport designs unveiled
Medway, Kent and Southend councils, the RSPB and environmental campaigners have opposed the estuary airport plans.
Testrad said all aircraft landing and departures would be over the estuary