World-leading architects Foster + Partners and global infrastructure consultants Halcrow have been collaborating on a self-funded £100,000 study to produce a detailed vision for The Thames Hub this would bring together rail freight connections between the UKs main sea ports; a 150 million passenger airport to replace Heathrow; a tidal energy barrage and a new flood protection barrier.
The long-term vision, which spans the next 50 years into 2060, is designed to reinforce the United Kingdoms position as the worlds leading commercial, tourist and financial centres, ensuring that the country remains globally competitive in the late 21st century and beyond. The Foster + Partners and Halcrow vision represents a significant development of the Mayor of Londons call for a new airport in the Estuary, while developing the capacity across all of the UKs transport modes and trade routes.
The teams vision and an initial assessment of the proposals will be released in September 2011.
Lord Foster, founder and chairman of Foster + Partners, said: These visionary proposals are far from future fantasy. They are both essential and down to earth. When you look at the eastwards thrust of Londons infrastructure, with the Channel Tunnel and the Olympics, you can see how it would be possible to create a 24-hour airport. This move would greatly improve the quality of life for Londoners by reducing pollution and improving security. It would also allow London to compete with rapidly expanding airports in Europe and the Middle East. The arguments are extraordinarily persuasive and the precedents are also compelling. More than 10 years ago Hong Kong built what was then the worlds largest airport at Chek Lap Kok, an island reclaimed from the sea - in just four years.
Halcrow group board director, David Kerr said: The Thames Hub would provide a major economic boost for Kent and Essex, with the creation of hundreds of thousands of jobs over a number of years and provide noise and air pollution relief for Londons population. The proposals would make a significant contribution to the UKs commitment to reduce carbon emissions. If the UK is to remain globally competitive, these proposals need to be seriously considered.
The Fosters + Partners and Halcrow Thames Hub vision is supported by renowned economist Bridget Rosewell, chairman of Volterra Consulting and founder member of The Thames Estuary Research and Development Company (TESTRAD).