Foster + Partners is launching a study into the construction of a new airport to serve London, which would be on the Isle of Grain on Kent’s Hoo Peninsula (Londonist/Kent Online, 01-Aug-2011). The airport’s construction, which has been estimated at GBP50 billion, would be part of a development known as the “Thames Hub”, which would combine the airport with a rail freight centre, tidal energy generators and flood protection. The airport would have four runways, an annual capacity of 150 million passengers, operate 24 hours per day and be powered by tidal energy. Mayor of London Boris Johnson, a major proponent behind additional capacity for London’s airports, described the plan as "exciting". But the plans will provoke anger with environmentalists, council leaders and people living on the Hoo Peninsula, which is rich in wildlife. Emirates president Tim Clark reportedly suggested a large part of the funding could come from selling land currently used by capacity-constrained Heathrow (Travel Weekly, 01-Aug-2011).
Foster + Partners: "These visionary proposals are far from future fantasy. They are both essential and down to earth…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 world’s largest airport at Chek Lap Kok, an island reclaimed from the sea - in just four years." Lord Norman Foster, founder. Source: Kent Online, 01-Aug-2011.
Mayor of London: "I am grateful to Lord Foster for spelling out the potential for a new airport, properly rooted in a broader vision for the Thames estuary, where it would make a vital contribution to economic growth. I believe this is vital not only so London remains in the premier league of aviation, but also to generate jobs and opportunities for decades." Boris Johnson, Mayor. Source: Kent Online, 01-Aug-2011.