UK: Boris Johnson sets out airport proposals
- Credit: PA
The answer to the UK’s airport problem could be “Foster Island” rather than “Boris Island” under proposals from London Mayor Boris Johnson.
Mr Johnson did put forward his outer Thames Estuary, artificial island plan - dubbed “Boris Island” - for a new four-runway hub airport in a report published today.
But he also said that a new, four-runway airport on the Isle of Grain on the Hoo Peninsula in Kent - a plan already outlined by architect Lord Foster - should be considered.
And Mr Johnson’s third proposal for a four-runway hub would be at Stansted in Essex, where the existing airport would be expanded.
Mr Johnson’s plans, which rule out expansion at Heathrow airport in west London, will be submitted later this week to the Government-appointed Airport Commission headed by Sir Howard Davies.
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Mr Johnson said that a new hub airport would be able to support more than 375,000 new jobs by 2050 and add £742 billion to the value of goods and services produced in the UK.
He said a new hub airport could be delivered by 2029, with a hybrid bill being passed by parliament to secure approval for the airport, the surface access and the acquisition of Heathrow.
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The benefits of each of the three airport options were listed:
:: THE ISLE OF GRAIN - The inner estuary site is close enough to London to provide smooth and fast access by public transport, yet ideally located so as to allow take-off and landing over water and so impact on as small a population as possible.
It sits in an area with a strong industrial history, and is across the water from the new DP World London Gateway Port. A new hub airport there would lay the foundation for a future logistics heartland of the UK.
:: AN OUTER ESTUARY SITE - An airport on an artificial island off the Kent coast would remove all problems of noise pollution and give the airport the freedom to operate in whatever way it needed in order to maximise the UK’s connectivity and economic benefits.
:: STANSTED - Developing a major four-runway airport at Stansted would have the attraction of building on existing infrastructure and being sited in a relatively sparsely populated region, Stansted has none of the environmental or wildlife issues that would need to be overcome in the estuary.
Talking about the future of the Heathrow area should a new airport be sited elsewhere, Mr Johnson said that part of west London, with good transport links, had the the space and infrastructure to generate up to 100,000 new homes that London badly needed.
There was the potential to attract tens of thousands of jobs in a number of different sectors and while some workers at Heathrow would relocate to the new airport, many others would find work in a newly-developed Heathrow area.
Mr Johnson said: “Ambitious cities all over the world are already stealing a march on us and putting themselves in a position to eat London’s breakfast, lunch and dinner by constructing mega airports that plug them directly into the global supply chains that we need to be part of.
“Those cities have moved heaven and earth to locate their airports away from their major centres of population, in areas where they have been able to build airports with four runways or more. “
He went on: “For London and the wider UK to remain competitive we have to build an airport capable of emulating that scale of growth. Anyone who believes there would be the space to do that at Heathrow, which already blights the lives of hundreds of thousands of Londoners, is quite simply crackers.”
Mr Johnson’s chief adviser on aviation, Daniel Moylan, said: “Heathrow can never solve our problems and our studies show that we’re better off with a new site.
“The immense noise, pollution and congestion that would result from expanding an airport located in the heart of our suburbs would potentially devastate the greatest city in the world. “