Architect Foster + Partners and infrastructure consultant Halcrow have revealed early proposals for a massive new transportation hub in the Thames estuary.
According to the two firms, the Thames Hub plan – the result of a self-funded £100,000 study – will help the country remain economically competitive and is a significant development of London mayor Boris Johnson’s call for a new airport in the estuary.
The vision, which spans the next 50 years, includes a 150 million passenger airport to replace Heathrow, bringing together rail freight connections between the UK’s main sea ports; a tidal energy barrage and a new flood protection barrier.
Lord Foster, founder and chairman of Foster + Partners, said: “These visionary proposals are far from future fantasy. They are both essential and down to earth.
“When you look at the eastwards thrust of London’s infrastructure, with the Channel Tunnel and the Olympics, you can see how it would be possible to create a 24-hour airport. 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.”
Halcrow group board director, David Kerr said the proposal would also help drive down carbon emissions.
“The Thames Hub would provide a major economic boost for Kent and Essex, with the creation of hundreds of thousands of jobs over a number of years and provide noise and air pollution relief for London’s population,” he added.
The Thames Hub plan is supported by economist Bridget Rosewell, chairman of Volterra Consulting and founder member of The Thames Estuary Research and Development Company (TESTRAD).