The firm hold the view that the only long term answer to the question posed to the UK Airports Commission, "how do we maintain our global aviation hub status" is a brand new 4-runway 24 hour airport to the east of the capital, the Thames Hub. Foster + Partners believes it is a bold, flexible, future-proof solution which neither Heathrow, nor Gatwick can provide.
The firm goes on to say that the expansion of London towards the east has now been reinforced with the approval of Ebbsfleet Garden City and moves toward a Lower Thames crossing – further validating the relocation of the airport to the Isle of Grain.
There has been an argument against the relocation of the bird habitat in the area, however Foster + Partners believe this has been diminished with the success of the Wallasea wetland project further down the Estuary.
The frim believes that Thames Hub airport will deliver the global connectivity that Londoners demand whilst bringing respite to all tormented by aircraft noise. Connecting the UK to new global destinations throughout the day and night, Fosters + Partners estimate that it can be built for a cost of £26 billion including upgraded road and rail services in just 7seven years – the same time it will take for a new runway at Heathrow to be squeezed into a London borough. An integrated rail hub will connect services to Europe, London in just 30 minutes and the rest of the UK.
Commenting on the Thames Hub plans Lord Foster said: “We need to recapture the foresight and political courage of our 19th century forebears if we are to establish a modern transport and energy infrastructure in Britain. The current ‘patch and mend’ attitude to increase airport capacity is not the answer to the massive challenges we face today. The Thames Hub is part of a larger ideal to create an infrastructural ‘spine’, which binds together the rail, communication, and energy networks currently being built across the country. It is a bold concept that continues to gain validity as the city expands eastward and transport links strengthen. We believe the Thames Hub is the only comprehensive, durable solution that can ensure aviation hub status and long-term economic prosperity in Britain for this century and beyond. As someone who is close to the world of aviation, I believe there are also serious security risks of overflying the heart of a city at the scale of London.”
For more on the Airport Commission's decision on Heathrow please visit: Click Here