WAD 2014

SATURDAY 26 JULY 2014

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London Gateway airport plans, London, United Kingdom 
Monday 17 Nov 2008
 
Sun rises over plans for London Gateway Airport 
 
Background © Copyright of Claude Schneider (www.ClaudeSchneider.com ) 
 
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18/11/08 owen doll, burnham
The cinic in me suspects that BAA are naturally concerned about the size of their already bulging pockets, they should have forecast a limit to the expansion of heathrow into their business plan from the outset. However, I don't think a fourth airport for the south east should ever be considered as a replacement for heathrow, the same problems of congestion would merely be moved to the east of london. Surely logic suggests that we releave expansion pressure on Standstead and Heathrow? meanwhile BAA should concentrate on streamlining LHR, demolish Terminals 1-4 and start again.
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18/11/08 Graham Edwards, Betchworth
Viability first and if it is (viable and economical) why not bring in the same contractors as per Hong Kong to do it? We have seen years of deliberation / 'faffing about' around how best to 'regenerate' the Thames Gateway. More 'faffing' to come next week at the Thames Gateway Forum (good luck on selling the 'rosy picture' this year folks). The reality (in my personal view) is that much of this region is probably unsuitable for simply creating new communities / infrastructure because nobody wants to move there / developers don't want to invest. Why not enhance the residential where it currently exists - maybe 'reclaim' Heathrow Airport site as resi / employment zone and move the whole stinking shooting match of airport downstream to an area that is desperate for investment / job opportunities?
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Editorial

Appointment of Douglas Oakervee to feasibility study brings controversial airport plans a step closer 

Realisation of controversial plans to build a new airport on reclaimed land in the Thames Estuary came a step closer this week with the appointment of revered civil engineer Douglas Oakervee to conduct a feasibility study. London Mayor Boris Johnson hired Oakervee as further pressure mounts and MP’s lobby to resolve problems caused by Heathrow’s limitations.

Bombarded with images of queues at Heathrow’s terminals, complaints of noise pollution as planes are forced to fly over residential areas, and faced with the reality of the expansion restrictions of an airport closed in by residential areas on all sides, MPs from across the UK’s political parties have joined force to lobby Government into a review of plans to build a third runway and sixth terminal at Heathrow. Plans for an airport on reclaimed land to the east of London, similar to the massive Hong Kong International Airport have been considered for decades but twice rejected. This week’s revelation shows that these plans are now being given fresh gravitas.

Previous Mayor Ken Livingstone set out his opposition to the Heathrow extension in March stating that, “The Government fails to explain how an additional 48 million passengers will travel to Heathrow without plunging west London into gridlock” as well as raising concerns over noise pollution and the loss of houses, concluding that the extension “does not hold water”. Oakervee’s appointment suggests that, at least on this solitary issue, current Mayor Johnson concurs.

Not everyone is in favor of Johnson’s actions however. Last week Sir Terry Farrell talked to WAN giving a stark warning to Johnson against rushing into any solution saying, “My advice to Boris is as follows: Now he is elected, now he is Mayor he shouldn’t be coming up with single ideas, again one bound we are all free kind of stuff, I call that solutioneering. The reality is that we have a lot of airports around London and it’s the Mayor’s first task to do a statesman-like appraisal of what’s correct for London and Londoners and I think this needs a big ecological study of what is the least damaging way forward.”

Further opposition comes from BAA who own and run Heathrow Airport. Communications Director Tom Kelly issued WAN a statement: "What the UK and London need now is new runway capacity, if we are to avoid losing our connections to the world, particularly India and China,” he said. “The questions raised by the proposal for a new airport in the Thames Estuary have been examined twice before and rejected. Is such an idea feasible or desirable when there is an alternative at Heathrow ready to go?

"Further questions focus on the environmental implications and costs associated with building an airport on one of Europe's most sensitive environmental sites, a development which the RSPB says would be the most destructive ever undertaken in the UK.

"Then, there is the question of the costs involved in constructing a new island in the Estuary, a four-runway airport and all the associated transport infrastructure and housing required to support such a development. Then, there are important questions around the 77,000 jobs currently based in West London and which rely on Heathrow."

But a symbol of hope for a London Gateway Airport comes from the Far East in the form of Hong Kong International Airport. At a cost of just £1.6 billion HK International provides inspiration and proof that an airport at sea is not only possible, but could be a comparatively affordable and viable permanent alternative to extending Heathrow. Furthermore the Thames Estuary Airport Company Limited (TEACO) claim to have achieved funding and developed plans for what they call MARINAIR, an offshore airport which would replace Heathrow and answer capacity issues. Requesting that the government include their proposal when reviewing airport development sites TEACO stated, “After a number of years of negotiation with international funding bodies, TEACO has in place unequivocal and irrevocable commitment options to the funds necessary to plan and construct a major airport in the Thames Estuary (MARINAIR) plus supporting access and facilities.”

With support now coming from within the Government and with funding apparently secured for a London Gateway Airport, parties involved will be teetering on the edge of their seats to await the results of Oakervee’s study.

Niki May Young
News Editor

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