Foster + Partners, Halcrow and Volterra – the team behind proposals for the Thames Hub, which includes a new £20 billion, 150 million passenger estuary airport, a four track orbital rail line and utilities spine and a new Thames crossing and barrier - today welcomed reports that the government is considering a Thames Estuary Airport when it launches its consultation on options for retaining the UK’s aviation hub status.

Speaking on behalf of the team, Lord Foster of Foster + Partners, said:

"We welcome reports that the government is considering the case for an estuary airport, and the extra airport capacity that it can provide, when it consults in March on options for retaining the UK’s aviation hub status as part of the nation’s aviation strategy.

"We are committed to working with government and wider industry stakeholders to put in place the transport connections Britain needs to encourage growth, job creation and trade with the rest of the world, particularly the emerging economies. This is an opportunity to reassert Britain’s role as a global hub and an international gateway.”

The Thames Hub vision, which includes a comprehensive environmental management strategy, can be privately funded and built within 16 years. Estimations for the capital costs are: new estuary airport £20 billion; orbital rail £20 billion; barrier crossing and tidal power generation of green energy to power the airport £6 billion; and improving infrastructure £4 billion.

"We are aware that there is some confusion between our Thames Hub vision and the Mayor of London’s Shivering Sands proposals, which have become known as ‘Boris’ Island”, continues Lord Foster.

"The Mayor has expressed his support for the Thames Hub proposal, as have Douglas Oakervee and Bridget Rosewell, who developed the Boris Island proposals, and who are now part of the Thames Hub team.

"We believe that the economic case for the Thames Hub is compelling as Britain is already losing out to expanding European hubs. Our proposal comprehensively addresses the infrastructure needed to maximise the advantages of a new airport. The Thames Hub and proposed new airport project is part of a wider UK-wide initiative to bring together rail, freight logistics, aviation, energy generation and transmission, flood protection and regional development. It will shift more movement of goods to rail and reduce congestion on our road systems. Recognising the synergies between these different strands, it reaps many benefits and economies from their integration."


Notes for editors:

The main components of the Thames Hub are as follows:

A £6 billion new barrier crossing that extends the flood protection to London and the Thames Gateway into the 22nd century. The barrier harnesses tidal power to generate carbon-free energy

A £20 billion four-track, high-speed passenger and freight Orbital Rail route around London, which links London’s radial lines, a future high-speed rail line to the Midlands and the North, the Thames Estuary ports, High Speed 1 (Channel Tunnel to London), and European networks

A £20 billion estuary airport built partly on reclaimed land, capable of handling 150 million passengers per annum, thus enabling the UK to retain its global aviation hub status. The airport is integrated within a logistics matrix that connects by rail the Thames Estuary Ports and the ports of Liverpool, Southampton and Felixstowe. Associated with the Hub is a major renewable energy source in the Estuary

A new utilities and data spine in the Thames Barrier, Orbital Rail line and high-speed networks, with applicability across the UK

A comprehensive environmental management strategy that minimises the impact of development and provides opportunities to create significant new wildlife habitats to more than offset losses elsewhere. The project can also be the catalyst to reduce pressure on foreshore habitats from rising sea levels and storm activity

The Foster + 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)

Douglas Oakervee, former chairman of CrossRail, who led the construction of Hong Kong’s new Chek Lap Kok airport on reclaimed land and was a founder member of The Thames Estuary Research and Development Company (TESTRAD).

For information please contact:

Katy Harris
Partner, Head of Communications
Foster + Partners
Riverside, 22 Hester Road
London SW11 4AN
T +44 (0)20 7738 0455

Garry A Whitaker
Communications Manager
Halcrow Group Limited
Burderop Park, Swindon
Wiltshire, SN4 0QD
T +44 (0)1793 812 479

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