Foster + Partners has confirmed to the Airports Commission, the organisation investigating airport capacity in the UK led by Sir Howard Davies, that it intends to submit a proposal to the Commission in July for a new hub airport in the Thames Estuary. The airport is part of the proposed Thames Hub, a unique opportunity for an integrated infrastructure solution to rebalance the economy, stimulate growth and enable the UK to maintain its global hub status.
A new four-runway airport with capacity for 150 million passengers – and with future expansion capacity to six runways – built on a platform on the Isle of Grain in the Thames Estuary, will enable the economy to benefit from our maintained global hub status. It will largely eliminate the environmental, noise and security problems of aircraft over-flying London into Heathrow. The airport would be connected to London via a spur linking directly to the existing high-speed rail line, creating a fast route from the airport to the Midlands and North via HS2, as well as continental Europe.
The self-funded Thames Hub vision was first made public in 2011. Having received widespread support, the proposals have been further developed with the assistance of a group of infrastructure, engineering, construction, legal, planning, economists and cost consultants. The ongoing study has addressed airport design and airspace issues; a geotechnical assessment; costs and potential funding models; construction, planning and delivery; surface access; ports and shipping; hydropower generation; and analysis of economic, environmental, social and safety impacts. Meetings have been held with over 100 different stakeholders, including national and local government, the aviation sector, transport operators, business organisations, environmental organisations and local community groups, as well as global investment groups.