World Architecture Day 2014

FRIDAY 18 APRIL 2014

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UK Airport Debate 
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Editorial

UK airport debate continues as Farrells, Gensler and Heathrow all release plans 

Today is the deadline for submissions to the Davies Commission which will analyse various options for the expansion of the UK’s international transport network. As London’s largest airport (Heathrow) is now working at full capacity with an increasing number of passengers, a possible expansion project has thrown up a plethora of options for consideration in terms of international travel through the UK. A shortlist of favoured proposals will be composed by the end of 2013.

Many of these were explored at WAN’s East or West? aviation debate in February where an expert audience voted in favour of aviation projects to the East, including a transport hub in the Thames Estuary, the much-publicised Boris Island scheme off the Kentish coast and the expansion of Stansted Airport. A full report of the debate can be read here.

As the deadline for the Davies Commission looms, a number of stakeholders have revealed their proposals for the future of international transportation in the UK. The following projects include the expansion of Heathrow, London Britannia Airport in the Thames Estuary and the Gatwick Constellation Project. Information on the redevelopment of Heathrow into a business and residential park can be found here.

Heathrow Third Runway

Heathrow Airport has released revised plans for the construction of a third runway, giving three options for the location of the project. Arguing that the realisation of a third runway would be ‘quicker and cheaper’ than building a new hub airport, Heathrow states that its proposal would increase the current number of flights per year from 480,000 to 740,000 when completed in 2025-9.

The new proposal gives three possible locations for the third runway, with the option of a fourth in the future should one be necessary. The most northerly option would be quickest and cheapest but offers the least benefits to local residents in terms of noise and has the biggest residential property impact.

The north-west option costs more and would take a longer construction time but performs better on noise and residential impact while the south-west suggestion costs more in time and money, with increased construction complexity but with the least disruption to local residents.

TESTRAD Consortium - London Britannia Airport

Plans for a £47.3bn transport hub in the Thames Estuary have been presented by TESTRAD Consortium in partnership with Gensler. London Britannia Airport has been designed to sit on an artificial island to minimise disruption to London residences with all noise disruption occurring over water. There is also the possibility for expansion from 172 million passengers per annum to 200 million passengers per annum following an initial construction period of 7 years.

If selected, the estuary airport would have 6 runways planned to allow triple and quadruple independent landings and takeoffs with proven air traffic control technology. All active runway crossings would be avoided and taxiing times kept to a minimum.

Bridget Rosewell OBE, CEO TESTRAD commented “The new London Britannia Airport master plan gives London the airport it will need to support its world city status into the 21st century. It also provides a solution to the challenge of incorporating London’s expected growth in population of 2 million and a facility which can be linked to the whole of the UK while both the East and West of London will each benefit from regeneration.”

Gatwick Constellation Project

Gatwick Airport and Sir Terry Farrell have released plans for Gatwick to become part of a ‘constellation’ scheme linking three airports. The proposal suggests a location for a second runway at Gatwick with details of environmental and noise impacts and how the constellation scheme would benefit the economy. Specifics are yet to be released but Sir Terry Farrell has given the comment below.

I am delighted to introduce these images of a constellation system of three London airports - keeping Heathrow open, whilst building an additional runway at Gatwick, and then in time perhaps a new runway at Stansted. London, both as a world city and a metropolis, is itself the hub and its airport infrastructure needs to evolve and grow with the city as it changes. I have no doubt that the constellation system of airports brings not only certainty of delivery, but also resilience and flexibility for London’s future."

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Editorial

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