Lord Foster unveils ambitious airport plans for Hoo Peninsula
Lord Foster has revealed ambitious plans for a multi-billion pounds transport
hub connecting the UK’s main sea ports and creating a huge new airport in Kent.
The Thames Hub plans bring together a new river barrier and crossing, a 4 runway
international airport on the Hoo Peninsula, and a shipping and rail complex.Foster
says it will “lay the foundations for the future prosperity of Britain” and “create
jobs across the UK and boost the economies …” etc etc
31.10.2011 (Kent Online)
[This one is on the Isle of Grain, rather than out at sea]
Ambitious plans for a multi-billion pounds transport hub connecting the UK’s
main sea ports and creating a huge new airport in Kent are to be revealed today.
Renowned architect Lord Foster – famed for designing the Stansted Airport terminal
building and London’s ‘Gherkin’ – is unveiling the plans in London.
He will outline the scheme for a Thames Hub, which brings together a new river
barrier and crossing, an international airport on the Hoo Peninsula, and a shipping
and rail complex.
The introduction to the development – dubbed ‘an integrated vision for Britain’
– says the project will “lay the foundations for the future prosperity of Britain.
“It will create jobs across the UK and boost the economies of the Midlands and
the North by providing them with direct connections to the cities and markets
“In order to realise it, Britain needs to rekindle the foresight and courage
of its 19th centure forebears and our traditions of engineering, design and landscape.”
But at the heart of the so-called Spine project is the controversial Estuary
airport on the Isle of Grain.
The report claims this will be energy self-sufficient, using tidal power generators.
But it would more than double the capacity of Heathrow, handling up to 150 million passengers each year, 24 hours every day.
If built, it would have four runways, each 4km long.
An integrated rail station beneath the passenger terminal will be the UK’s busiest – with 300,000 arrivals and departures every day.
The report adds: “Significantly, it will greatly improve the lives of the five
million people who currently live under the flight paths in and out of Heathrow.”
Around half of the airport platform will be on reclaimed land extending into
the Estuary 7m above sea level.
It’s claimed it would reduce noise and pollution for millions of people and improve
flood protection – creating thousands of jobs in the process.
Other parts of the project include:
- A four-track, high-speed passenger and freight Orbital rail route around London,
which links London’s existing lines, a future high speed line to the Midlands
and the North, the Thames Estuary ports, High Speed 1 through Kent and Europe.
- A new barrier crossing that harnesses tidal power to generate carbon-free energy
- An environmental strategy that “minimises the impact of development and provides
opposrtunities to create significant new wildlife habitats to more than offset
The high-speed Orbital Rail route would also have a huge impact on Kent.
Incorporating two high-speed lines and two conventional lines, it is said it
will “improve transport connections dramatically for industry and greatly reduce
travel times for passengers.”
It approximately traces the existing line of the M25. For about a third of its
length, the network would pass through tunnels.
But it would have a huge station at the Thames Hub, and a further one in Kent,
at a town not specified.
The new barrier upstream of the London Gateway port is said to provide flood
protection for the capital to 2100 and beyond.
It’s claimed it could also provide residential development on ‘newly-protected
land’ east of Gravesend for Thames Hub staff.
But the project has been met with outrage from local political leaders.
A statement from Medway council dubbed it “one of the worst places for anyone
to build a new airport.”
It said: “Not only is it on the wrong side of London, with the capital in the
way for most UK air travellers, but also plans released by the architect appear
to place it on top of Europe’s largest Liquefied Natural Gas containers, where
20% of Britain’s gas supplies are delivered by super tanker annually.
“In addition, the site would also be where a major UK power station is based.”
Leader of Medway Council, in Kent, Cllr Rodney Chambers, said: “The plan to build
an airport on the Isle of Grain is, quite possibly, the daftest in a long list
of pie in the sky schemes that have been put forward for an airport.
“The Isle of Grain is home to one of the world’s largest Liquefied Natural Gas
terminals, with a fifth of the UK’s gas supply offloaded by container ships and
stored there. It is plainly obvious that aircraft and huge gas containers are
a potentially lethal mix.
“The plan to build an airport on the Isle of Grain is, quite possibly, the daftest
in a long list of pie in the sky schemes that have been put forward for an airport.”
– Medway council leader, Cllr Rodney Chambers
“In addition to this, the sunken American warship the SS Richard Montgomery is
submerged just a few miles from the location and laden with high explosives, the
London Array wind farm is being built nearby and the airport cuts through an area
that is home to hundreds of thousands of migrating birds.”
He said Lord Foster’s plans beggared belief.
He added: “I can only assume he has not actually left his offices and travelled
from London to Medway to have a look before releasing this.”
He said a huge airport off the Thames Estuary was not only unaffordable, but
He added: “An airport on or near the Thames Estuary would cause a devastating
impact on the hundreds of thousands of migrating birds there as well as the local
“Instead, we should look to using up capacity at existing airports, which is
already government policy.
“For instance, Manston, in Kent, already has one of the longest runways in Europe
and is close to the high speed rail link to London while Birmingham is near the
proposed site for a second high speed train and says it aims to double capacity.”
The team behind the scheme say the long-term vision, which spans the next 50
years into 2060, “is designed to reinforce the United Kingdom’s position as the
world’s leading commercial, tourist and financial centres, ensuring that the country
remains globally competitive in the late 21st century and beyond.”
The independent report claimed the UK needed to connect with new markets, and
warned it could be left behind other European countries if it didn’t have spare
The announcement comes in the week new research published by economists FTI Consulting claimed a “do nothing” approach to runway expansion in the South East would “stifle UK growth” and could result in lost benefits of up to £47 billion over the next
30 to 50 years.
Reporter Alan McGuinness
Isle of Grain http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isle_of_Grain
Lord Foster’s Thames Estuary airport plan ‘pie-in-the-sky’ too close to oil terminal and devastating to wildlife
Date Added: 3rd November 2011
Foster’s plan for a 4-runway airport in the Thames Estuary has been branded as
a “daft pie-in-the-sky” scheme. Medway council say building it near existing gas
terminals was a “potentially lethal mix”. Nearby is one of the world’s largest
liquefied natural gas terminals. Medway council say the Isle of Grain was one
of the worst places anyone could build a new airport. Friends of the Earth said
building the airport would have a “devastating impact” on wildlife. Click here to view full story…
Government won’t rule out plans for Boris Island airport in Thames Estuary
Plans for a Thames Estuary airport have not been ruled out completely by the
government. Justine Greening said the coalition was willing to examine options
to increase capacity in the region. “The Mayor is obviously a keen campaigner
for the scheme and it will be something we look at…” said a DfT spokesman. She
left open the possibility that the airport plan – dubbed Boris Island – could
still be part of the agenda. They also back expansion at many airports.
1.11.2011 (Kent Online)
Controversial plans to build an airport in the Thames Estuary have not been ruled
out completely by the government, according to the new transport secretary.
Justine Greening, who has replaced Philip Hammond in a government reshuffle,
said the coalition was willing to examine options to increase capacity in the
“The Mayor is obviously a keen campaigner for the scheme and it will be something
we look at…” – Department for Transport spokesman
Asked if she ruled out new capacity in the south east altogether, she told a
conference of airport operators: “No. There are a number of aiports in the south
east and we have people like the Mayor [of London, Boris Johnson] who have proposals
for new airports.”
She left open the possibility that the airport plan – dubbed Boris Island – could
still be part of the agenda.
“There are a number of different proposals that we have to look at. I have no
doubt that he will want to raise it with me.”
Miss Greening’s comments are likely to dismay campaigners who are fighting to
resist the Boris Island scheme.
A Department for Transport spokesman said: “The Mayor is obviously a keen campaigner
for the scheme and it will be something we look at.”
During a recent debate on the aiport plan, organised by the Federation of Small
Business in Kent, Daniel Moylan, deputy chairman of Transport for London, said
there was an overwhelming business case for a replacement hub airport for Heathrow.
“The Dutch, French, Germans and Spanish are laughing all the way to the bank
as they take away our airport business,” he said.
Thames Estuary and Marshes SPA – one of the top 5 UK sites for wintering or migrating birds
The salt marshes on the Peninsula are part of the Thames Estuary and Marshes
Special Protection Area, designated for its internationally important populations
of wintering birds. The site regularly supports some 33,000 wintering waterfowl,
of which avocets and ringed plovers occur in internationally important numbers.
In summer, there are important breeding populations of avocets, marsh harriers,
Mediterranean gulls and little terns. Click here to view full story…
for the all-Party commission but they may trim the new white paper to make it
more acceptable to Labour. Labour may well win the election due in 2015 (or sooner
if the coalition breaks up).
of a plan for a second runway in their master plan published last week (while
recognising that the “current Government ” has ruled it out) and the rather inadequate
report and press release yesterday.
in the full text). If they really mean what they say, then more restrictions
on aviation would put back the date when the SE airports are full to further beyond
2030. We are getting into an American situation with Labour and Democrats concerned
about climate change, Tories and Republicans sceptical. George Osborne’s dictum
that the UK will not do more (or less) than other countries is bad news.
dislike of ‘the Tories’ and getting one over them will always be part of any decision
she makes. Her statement has neutralized the issue of Heathrow expansion. It
has made Labour seem greener than the Conservatives through the call for tougher
policies on aviation emissions and more business-friendly than the Government
by not ruling out new runways in the SE.
Ed Balls who was keen not to rule out a 3rd runway because he felt that it was
an area where Labour could win credibility in the eyes of business.
aviation policies are beginning to look more similar. Both are going to frame
their new policies within some sort of climate boundaries; both have ruled out
Heathrow expansion (essentially on local impact rather than climate grounds);
both are prepared to go for new runways elsewhere, with the Conservatives probably
favouring Birmingham more than the SE.
rail. If Labour really has rejected the current route and favours looking at
another one, that means that Labour has pushed high-speed rail into the long grass.
A new route would take years to work up. Maria Eagle knows that. This probably
means that Labour have effectively bought themselves the option of not going ahead
with any high-speed rail scheme.
the south east needs more runway capacity. Both parties (plus the LibDems) appear
to be ruling out Heathrow permanently so the question is, if not Heathrow, then
where? This has obviously created some nervousness among communities around Stansted
and Gatwick. It seems likely that the Tories would find it politically difficult
to plump for extra runways at either Stansted or Gatwick in this Parliament and
the next. They would also look indecisive and very silly.
option is beginning to look politically attractive or, at least, politically expedient.
Anyone got a spare £50 billion?
Luton is conveniently owned by its planning authority and with no restrictions
at night (other than a ludicrous night noise contour area limit which could only
be breached if there were an additional 75% of its day number of flights during
the DfT/CAA-defined night period).
as far as needed to get footy fans back to Stuttgart), but it’s really an internal
and intra-Europe airport with associated bizjets, apart from the El Al hops to
Tel Aviv. The operator of the airport, as well as its owner the Borough Council,
would love to see short-haul traffic shifted from Heathrow to Luton, so as to
release Heathrow slots for intercontinental stuff. Considerations about airspace,
road capacity, noise disturbance etc. don’t seem to enter their minds.