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Another estuary airport scheme launched
8:00am Friday 14th September 2012 in News
DRAMATIC new plans for a £50billion floating airport in the middle of the Thames Estuary have been unveiled.
International architecture firm Gensler has drawn up the grand proposals for a four-runway hub, just a few miles off the coast of Foulness Island, the latest in a line of estuary airport proposals.
The scheme, which echoes the similar idea for Maplin Sands in the 1970s, is an alternative to Lord Norman Foster’s proposal for a new airport on the Isle of Grain, in Kent, which has been vehemently opposed by politicians in Thurrock, amid fears of noise pollution from flights.
Thurrock’s Conservative MP Jackie Doyle-Price said she remains against plans for any airport in the Thames Estuary.
She said: “The Thames is the port hub of the UK. The airport hub should go elsewhere.
“When all things are considered, Stansted is the obvious place. It sits at a convenient point on the road network.
“There would need to be investment in additional road and transport infrastructure, but this would be to the benefit of the whole of East Anglia and indeed London as it would make life so much easier for the many commuters heading into the capital from the east.
“It is the place where the construction of new runways would have least environmental impact.”
Unlike Lord Foster’s plans, Gensler’s airport would not involve extensive land reclamation. Instead, the firm wants to float four runways and a central terminal on giant platforms, tethered to the river bed.
Passengers would reach the airport via underground railway links, with a huge connecting station near Southend, plus two in Kent and East London.
The Government is facing mounting pressure to come up with a way of expanding the UK’s airport capacity.
Lord Foster’s plans, published last November, helped back London mayor Boris Johnson’s long-held advocacy for an estuary airport. But it was claimed it would ruin the economies of estuary towns and damage wildlife habitats.