Thames Estuary Airport Feasibility Review by fdh56iuoui


									                                THAMES ESTUARY AIRPORT FEASIBILITY REVIEW


          As Published in the
          NCE 12.02.09

                                                        THAMES ESTUARY AIRPORT FEASIBILITY REVIEW

PART ONE:                                                                                         5

THE INTRODUCTION AND EXECUTIVE SUMMARY                                                            5

1.00 I N T R O D U C T I O N                                                                      5
1.20 E X E C U T I V E S U M M A R Y                                                              7
PART TWO:                                                                                        11

OTHER SCHEMES AND REPORTS                                                                        11

2.10 A L T E R N A T I V E T H A M E S E S T U A R Y A I R P O R T S C H E M E S                 11
2.20 T H E S A H A R A G R O U P ’ S S C H E M E                                                 12
FIGURE 1                                                                                         12
2.30 T H E I N D E P E N D E N T A V I A T I O N A D V I S O R Y G R O U P (IAAG)                13
LONDON GATEWAY AIRPORT                                                                           13
F I G U R E 2: T H E H O O P E N I N S U L A L O C A T I O N                                     13
2.40 T H A M E S E S T U A R Y A I R P O R T C O M P A N Y                                       14
THE MARINAIR CONCEPT                                                                             14
FIGURE 3                                                                                         14
2.50 T H A M E S R E A C H A I R P O R T L I M I T E D A N D M E T R O T I D A L L I M I T E D   15
FIGURE 4                                                                                         15
2.60 S I R T E R R Y F A R R E L L & S C O T T W I L S O N O U T E R I S L A N D S S C H E M E   16
FIGURE 5                                                                                         16
2.70 E L E A N O R A T K I N S O N O U T E R I S L A N D S A I R P O R T S C H E M E             17
FIGURE 6                                                                                         17
2.80 U N I V E R S I T Y O F B R I G H T O N                                                     18
THAMES ESTUARY DEVELOPMENTS                                                                      18
FIGURE 7                                                                                         18
2.90 E X I S T I N G R E P O R T S A N D S T U D I E S                                           20
PART THREE: THE ESTUARY AND ITS QUESTIONS                                                        21

3.00 WHAT ARE WE TRYING TO ACHIEVE?                                                              21

FIGURE 8                                                                                         21
FIGURE 9                                                                                         22
3.10 C L I M A T E C H A N G E                                                                   23
3.20 A N E W T H A M E S B A R R I E R                                                           23
F I G U R E 10                                                                                   25
3.30 R E N E W A B L E E N E R G Y                                                               25
T A B L E 1: W I N D F A R M S I N T H E E S T U A R Y                                           26
3.40 T H E E N V I R O N M E N T A N D T H E E C O L O G Y .                                     28
3.50 R E G E N E R A T I O N A N D T H E P E O P L E                                             29
                                                           THAMES ESTUARY AIRPORT FEASIBILITY REVIEW

F I G U R E 11                                                                                                                     29
F I G U R E 12                                                                                                                     30
3.60 R O A D & R A I L T R A N S P O R T                                                                                           31
T A B L E 2: D A STS G O A L S                                                                                                     32
3.70 S H I P P I N G A N D P O R T S                                                                                               34
PART FOUR:                                                                                                                         37

AN ESTUARY AIRPORT.                                                                                                                37

4.10 T H E N E E D F O R A N A L T E R N A T I V E A I R P O R T .                                                                 37
TABLE 3                                                                                                                            37
4.20 T H E L O C A T I O N                                                                                                         40
F I G U R E 13                                                                                                                     40
F I G U R E 13                                                                                                                     42
F I G U R E 14                                                                                                                     42
F I G U R E 15                                                                                                                     43
4.30 T H E T I M I N G O F A N E W A I R P O R T .                                                                                 43
F I G U R E 16                                                                                                                     44
F I G U R E 17                                                                                                                     45
4.40 A I R T R A F F I C C O N T R O L                                                                                             47
F I G U R E 18: H E A T H R O W R A D A R D A T A 24 H                                                                             47
F I G U R E 19: R A D A R D A T A 24 H - H E A T H R O W , G A T W I C K , S T A N S T E D , L U T O N A N D L O N D O N C I T Y   49
4.50 R A D A R .                                                                                                                   49
4.60 B I R D S T R I K E S                                                                                                         50
TABLE 4 : BIRD STRIKE DATA SOURCED FROM HANSARD                                                                                    50
F I G U R E 20: B I R D F L I G H T P A T H M O V E M E N T D A T A                                                                52
4.70 T R A N S P O R T L I N K S                                                                                                   52
4.80 P L A N N I N G , D E S I G N A N D C O N S T R U C T I O N .                                                                 55
F I G U R E 21: D U T C H P L A N S F O R A N I S L A N D A I R P O R T A S P U B L I S H E D I N T H E NCE 12.02.09               56
F I G U R E 22: T Y P I C A L C O N S T R U C T I O N O F A N A R T I F I C I A L I S L A N D I N L A Y E R S                      57
F I G U R E 23: D R E D G E R B R A B O                                                                                            58
F I G U R E 24: G E O L O G I C A L C R O S S S E C T I O N                                                                        59
F I G U R E 25 SS R I C H A R D M O N T G O M E R Y                                                                                59
F I G U R E 26: S H I V E R I N G S A N D S F O R T                                                                                60
F I G U R E 27: K E N T I S H F L A T S W I N D F A R M                                                                            60
F I G U R E 28: L O N D O N A R R A Y                                                                                              60
TABLE 5                                                                                                                            61
4.90 T H E W I D E R E C O N O M I C B E N E F I T S A N D F U N D I N G .                                                         61
PART 5 CONCLUSION                                                                                                                  63

                                  THAMES ESTUARY AIRPORT FEASIBILITY REVIEW




   In November 2008 the Mayor                  anticipated that the platform should
requested that I should consider the           be designed to permit incremental
feasibility of building and operating          expansion to accommodate possibly
an International Hub Airport within            up to six runways depending upon
the Thames Estuary capable of 24               demand.
hours operation. He expected it might
be similar to The Hong Kong
International Airport at Chek Lap Kok            The Mayor also requested that the
for which I was responsible during the         review took cognisance of the
planning,       construction       and         proposals for the review of the
commissioning stages. Further he               London Plan which is now underway.

    A New Plan for London, April 2009, p63
    In reviewing the London Plan the Mayor proposes to:
    support strategic rail services – international, inter-regional, domestic for
    commuters, services within London – and high-speed rail hubs; and
    support improved public transport access to ports, rail termini and
    airports; and
    recognise that further runway capacity will be needed in the South East
    to meet London’s needs; emphasise sustainable airport operations; resist
    the provision of further capacity at Heathrow; refer to work being carried
    out to evaluate alternatives elsewhere in the south east, including
    exploring the possibility of a Thames Estuary airport; and continue the
    current policy approach to heliports


   Although the main focus of the         superficial for which I apologise. If
review was therefore to examine           a Thames Estuary Development
the technical feasibility of such a       Study is permitted to follow this
project, it proved difficult to           brief   review,    as    has    been
confine the study and research to         recommended, any shortcomings
this specific area. It soon became        should    be    remedied     through
apparent that The Thames Estuary          detailed investigation and proper
formed part of several other plans        consultation.
aimed at ensuring a sustainable
future for London and the South
East of England with the main               Most of the work on this project
driver    being   climate   change.       was undertaken between June and
Therefore the scope of this review        August 2009, after my retirement
had to be expanded to take a more         as Executive Chairman of Crossrail
holistic approach to examine the          Limited.   The first draft of the
full potential of the Thames              report was submitted for the
Estuary ensuring that no one              Mayor’s    consideration  on   7th
scheme precluded another.       The       August 2009.
significance of this change in
direction will hopefully become
                                             On the 15 t h July 2009 a debate
apparent in the body of the report.
                                          was held at the Institution of Civil
                                          Engineers amongst an invited group
   The widening of the field of           of interested professionals and key
studies has taken me beyond my            stakeholders in the Thames Estuary
professional boundaries and hence         and was aimed at promoting a
I have welcomed the assistance and        balanced     discussion      on    my
advice from other professionals           preliminary findings and prior to
who have contributed to my                the finalisation of this report. To
researches freely and on a pro            ensure the debate was not skewed
bono basis for which I am most            in any specific direction through
grateful. These individuals and           political or commercial interests
organisations have been duly              nobody from the BAA, the airlines
acknowledged later in this report.        or having a political affiliation was
Despite       these       valuable        invited. The debate was conducted
contributions there still remains         under Chatham House rules with Sir
parts of this report which are            David King in the Chair. The
based on anecdotal evidence and           ensuing debate proved to be both
limited research and thus to the          robust and constructive and the
more expert reader may appear

key    outcomes       have     been
incorporated into this report.


   The key to any decision-making          Cliffe.   Most of these schemes
process on the feasibility of new          involve airport development either
airport development in the Thames          at their heart or as an additional
Estuary lies in wider decisions            important element.

                                              But, more importantly, they also
a)     the need for London as a            involve, to varying degrees, holistic
global city to continue to develop         schemes addressing the need to
its infrastructure in its widest           provide better road and rail
sense;                                     transport links, to harness tidal and
                                           wind energy, to provide better
                                           infrastructure for future Thames
b)     given London and UK legacies
                                           Gateway       development,       port
from our industrial/economic past,
                                           development and to work with the
the      need     to     “retro-fit”
                                           environmental sector to ensure
infrastructure improvements;
                                           that environmental factors have
                                           their place. Any new infrastructure
c)    how the Thames Estuary area          built in the Thames Estuary must
can best be developed in an                also    take    full   account     of
integrated way to meet the above           Government       commitments       on
needs.                                     renewable energy sources and the
                                           impact of climate change in the
  The     infrastructure  schemes          Estuary and beyond.
produced by leading groups over
many years for the Thames Estuary
                                              Within this holistic context, the
area have been considered in this
                                           report identifies the potential
report. They have included a wide
                                           benefits and effects that off-shore
range of airport development
                                           airport options would have in this
projects ranging from Canvey Island
                                           complex area. It looks at possible
to the Maplin Sands and beyond
                                           incremental development to relieve
and including “Marinair”, the Hoo
                                           London Heathrow Airport and meet
Peninsula, Thames Reach and

additional    demand,     upgrading         there would need to be very
existing passenger and freight              thorough and careful studies with
transport links north and south of          key parties and stakeholders. This
the Estuary and the complex issues          would particularly apply to those
of air traffic control management           involved with the delicate ecology
in what NATS advise is the busiest          of the area and with expertise as to
piece of air space in Europe.               the very large bird populations.
Without      expanding     London’s         However it is recognised that some
existing airports a shortfall of 70         of this has already taken place in
million passenger movements is              the context of work on Wind Farms
forecast, meaning an additional             and Thames Crossing schemes.
major    two-runway     airport   is
required by 2030.
                                               Major studies are required on
                                            technical,    environmental    and
   It is noted that most experts talk       economic benefits of the airport
of the costs of such a new airport          before    any   decision  can   be
being in the region of £40 billion          finalised. More generally, further
including     transport   links.    A       work will be needed to look at the
properly integrated infrastructure          economic development of the
approach, e.g. involving additional         whole Estuary area.
estuary crossings and renewable
energy sources, could nevertheless
produce substantial savings over               Even with three new runways
all.                                        being built at the existing airports
                                            current Government predictions
                                            make clear that further airport
   The report at this stage does not        capacity is required by or before
favour any specific location.      It       2030 and, if this be the case, work
does, however, note that the area           on      the     Thames      Estuary
of the Thames Estuary does not              Development Study, which would
present    any    insoluble   issues        embrace all of the above planning
regarding     weather,      geology,        and reports, needs to commence no
hydrography,      shipping    lanes,        later than the summer of 2010.
fishing activities, leisure services
or other physical obstructions.
                                              Given that this exercise requires
                                            the involvement of a large number
  The report establishes that to            of Government Departments and
decide on any particular location           their Agencies, Local Government,


Network Rail, HS2 and Crossrail,         take, from a high level steering
TfL, Thames Gateway Partnership,         group to a Provisional Development
the RSPB, Port of London Authority       Company, depending on the scope
and many other stakeholders it is        of works which is preferred.
recommended that an organisation
be established to consider and
manage this huge undertaking.
There are various forms this could





   Following       the     original        schemes.    Further the views of
announcement that I was to                 these organisations are not in
undertake     this   study several         accord with Government’s present
organisations emerged to advise            view that London’s existing airports
me that they had schemes to                at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted
provide an airport and transport           should be the focus of expansion,
links across the Estuary.                  rather than an airport in the

  It became clear that since the
Department of Transport published             I therefore start by reviewing
the Future Developments of Air             each of these schemes to establish
Transport in the United Kingdom,           a threshold against which the
or more particularly the South East        merits of this further review may
and East of England Regional Air           be judged. The schemes are as
Service Study (SERAS) in 2002 that         follows: -
these same organisations have
continued to develop their own



   This scheme is ambitious and it          claim nor the terms and conditions
is claimed that the promoters have          associated with the offer have been
the funds available to undertake            provided nor sought at this
this huge programme of works                preliminary stage.
without resorting to public funding.
Neither evidence supporting this

  Figure 1

   Whilst this scheme would appear          Port, Thames Port, Felixstowe
to resolve many of the problems             South and Harwich Bathside Bay. If
we face in terms of energy, cross-          these ports were to be developed
river links and an airport it could,        to their full potential then it is
without     detailed   examination,         difficult to see the level of demand
prove to have an intrusive impact           that would warrant another port of
on the environment and hydrology            this magnitude.
of the Estuary. Further it appears
to overlook the Government’s
approval of other ports in the                From an airport perspective the
region namely, London Gateway               width of the platform is inadequate
                                            to accommodate four runways and
                                         THAMES ESTUARY AIRPORT FEASIBILITY REVIEW

would    not   accord   with   the                   side.   In order to operate each
International     Civil   Aviation                   runway      independently   ICAO
Organization (ICAO) standards. At                    currently require a minimum of
best there could only be approx.                     1525m between runway centres,
600m from centre to centre of each                   although it is thought that this
runway allowing for the runway                       distance may be reduced to nearer
width and a reasonable margin to                     1050m in the near future.
the edge of the platform on either



  This     group   has    done    a                  series of nature theme parks and
considerable amount of work                          educational facilities.
planning for a 4-runway Airport on
the Hoo Peninsula, which lies
between the Medway and Thames                           Whilst they have shown their
Estuaries.    To    mitigate    the                  scheme to me they are not
environmental      damage      they                  prepared to share the scheme to a
propose to create an imaginative                     wider audience or allow it to be
                                                     included in this report

  Figure 2: The Hoo Peninsula location




   The Marinair concept has been              It is proposed to have 4 runways
developed by the Thames Estuary            each of 4200 metres in length with
Airport Company and is one of the          all facilities expected today of an
earliest schemes to be promoted. It        international hub airport.
promotes an offshore platform with
an above sea area of 2190
hectares.     It is located some 7           Considerable work has been
kilometres north of Whitstable and         done on this scheme and it has
80 kilometres east of Charing              much to commend it. Again it is
Cross.    Although a considerable          understood      that    funding is
distance     from     London   they        available for this scheme.
anticipate the journey time to be
between 30 to 40 minutes by high
speed train.

  Figure 3



  Figure 4

   This scheme is near the Cliffe              The advantage of this scheme is
Airport which itself was rejected by        that it is approx 45 kilometres from
Government’s White Paper. The               Charing Cross, that is to say some
area shaded in green represents             35 kilometres closer than the
the area within which the airport is        Marinair Scheme.        However the
to be sited.                                principal disadvantage to this
                                            scheme is that it conflicts with
                                            major conservation areas. These
   The Metrotidal scheme provides           include Special Protection Areas
an additional road and rail crossing        (SPA) under an EU Directive, Sites
of    the    Thames       and    has        of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)
subsequently been expanded to               and RSPB Reserves. The likelihood
incorporate both tidal lagoons for          of having the designation of these
power generation and a Thames               areas changed would be remote
Barrier as well as an airport.              and the risk of bird strike may be a
                                            high risk.



  Figure 5

   This scheme does not embrace           as can be seen from the next
an airport but rather a road              scheme.
crossing of the Thames between
Sheerness in Essex and the Isle of
Grain and the Isle of Sheppey in
Kent.     It was also considered
feasible to incorporate an outer
Thames barrier. The islands reduce
the distances to be spanned and
have the further advantage of
providing wildlife sanctuaries and
leisure areas.

  This scheme could easily be
adapted to incorporate an airport


  Figure 6

   As can be seen this scheme has         features including lagoons for the
imagination     yet    bears some         production of tidal energy and a
similarity to Sir Terry Farrell’s         tidal surge barrier and reflects a
Outer islands Scheme, although it         more holistic understanding of
is located further to the east on         future needs.
the Isle of Sheppey. The scheme as
outlined    also    includes other





  Figure 7

   This work comprises a series of           of this review and        considered
reports based on all aspects of the          worthy of mention.
various     developments       under
consideration    in    the   Thames
Estuary. In particular they focus on            As will be seen most of the
the synergy that exists between the          schemes       reviewed      envisage
various needs for each of the                infrastructure other than just the
developments. Although this work             airport and its transport links. This
may not be wholly agreed by all              reinforces my own conclusion that
parties it is comprehensive and              an holistic study of the Thames
provides an holistic review of the           estuary and the needs of London
many schemes put forward by                  and the South East of England are
different groups. Hence its content          required. The principal drivers of
has been studied during the course           such a study should include Climate

change    and      the       spatial        the successful businesses that have
development of London.                      grown around Heathrow. Although
                                            these        represent          valid
                                            considerations, many organisations
   For decades there has been a             have argued that this decision is
plethora of schemes put forward             misguided and short-sighted. The
for an airport to be located in the         challenges include the need for
Thames Estuary of which the                 more emphasis to be placed on the
foregoing examples are but a few.           health and safety of those living
The Department of Transport has             beneath the flight path of the
examined many more in the course            busiest International airport in the
of preparation and consultation for         world, and on the number (up to
the SERAS Review and the resultant          480,000)     of    air    transport
White Paper - “The Future of Air            movements over the city each year,
Transport”. Government found in             which is regarded by many to
favour of a third runway at                 represent a serious threat to the
Heathrow. The primary reasons for           safety and security of London.
this decision would appear to be            Other issues raised include airport
expedience,       capital      cost,        access and the need for a longer
economics,     the    environment,          term view.
demographics, and no disruption to



   Over recent decades examination          information about the aviation
of the Thames Estuary and the               industry and realistic predictions
possibility of an airport have              regarding the future growth of the
produced      numerous      reports         industry.   Some of these same
commissioned     by   a   host   of         predictions have been employed in
interested parties. Unfortunately I         this report
have not yet had the opportunity
to discover or read all that must
have been written. Although the                The final draft Thames Estuary
SERAS Report and subsequent                 2100 Report (TE2100) was launched
Government White Paper reflects             earlier this year for consultation
the Department of Transport’s high          and this process has now drawn to
standards, to my mind it has not            a close. This report deals in detail
considered    how    the    various         with the flood management and
proposed    schemes     could    be         water management of the River
integrated with the demands of              Thames and the problems we may
other government departments,               face in the future as a result of
agencies and the sustainability of          rising sea levels and extremes in
each scheme.                                weather conditions largely brought
                                            about by climate change.

   The report prepared by Mott
McDonald for Kent County Council              In the process of preparing the
for their response to Government’s          TE2100 report The Environmental
SERAS consultation provides some            Department has gathered vast
very interesting observations but           amounts of information in relation
totally condemns the proposal to            to the Thames Estuary and has
construct an airport at Cliffe.             offered to share this with me.
Obviously Government took note of           However I have not yet had the
this conclusion and it assisted them        opportunity to take advantage of
in reaching their conclusion to rule        this generous offer but it would
out an airport on the Hoo                   form an essential part of any
Peninsula.                                  Thames Estuary Development Study
                                            that is commissioned.

  Despite the negative approach to
an estuary airport, the report has a
considerable amount of factual



   It is clear from the many                of politics, governance and the
schemes that have been produced             relationship with the professional
and the reports that have been              bodies encourages us to look at
written that we have many                   issues and problems within silos
solutions  but    what    I   would         ignoring the bigger picture. The
challenge    is     whether      we         approach invariably misses the
understand the question. This is a          opportunity to create an holistic
view I closely share with the               solution that avoids duplication
eminent architect Sir Terry Farrell.        and would prove more beneficial to
                                            the community and provide real
                                            value for money.
  The way in which this country
and society is structured in terms

  Figure 8

  When reviewing the Thames                 sustainable future for London and
Estuary and the creation of a               the South East of England in terms


of    flood   management,    water             The challenges we face in the
management, creating sources of              Thames Estuary are complex and
renewable energy, improving our              the   approach     needs    to    be
land, sea and air transport as well          rethought if we are to avoid leaving
as commerce, we must recognise               future generations an even bigger
the sensitivity of the environment           challenge with an even bigger price
and safeguard it to the best of our          tag.

       Are individual solutions the answer
       or do we need an holistic review?
         Climate Change
         Thames Barrier
         Renewable Energy
         The Environment and the Ecology
         Regeneration and the People
         Road & Rail Transport Links
         Shipping and Ports
         Airport

  Figure 9

   We must also understand that in           retrofit or a replacement. A classic
this country we do not often have a          example of this issue is the London
green field site in which we can             Underground which cannot be
create modern wonders to compete             abandoned and replaced. In the
with those in the developing and             short term airports and other
emerging world. Instead we must              infrastructure may have to be
think   carefully   to   determine           considered in a similar light
whether our aging infrastructure             enabling a phased redevelopment
and the facilities which in their            of the Estuary over the next 30
time were the most advanced in               years.
the world, should undergo a


   In February 2007 Dr. Rajendra K                Recent revisions to government
Pachauri,    Chairman     of   the             policy with respect to climate
Intergovernmental      Panel    on             change and the requirement for an
Climate Change stated:                         8o% reduction in carbon emissions
                                               by 2050 must be the driving force
                                               behind many major decisions and
  “If you see the extent to which              how we live in the years to come.
  human activities are influencing             Climate change will require both
  the   climate     system   then   the        developed         and      developing
  mitigation should be seen in a               countries   to     make     significant
                                               changes to the way of life and to
  totally different light….We are
                                               cultures. In terms of the world
  doing    things    that    have   not
                                               economy         this      monumental
  happened     in    650,000    years,         challenge    is     linked    to    the
  based on scientific evidence.”               requirement        to     ensure      a
                                               sustainable and adequate supply of
                                               food and potable water to meet the
   Whilst groups may continue to               needs of the world population.
debate the correctness of scientific
evidence and the assumptions on
which it is based, it is clear that we            Not all the definitions relating to
are suffering from the effects of              carbon are clear but what is
climate    change     whatever     the         becoming obvious to engineers,
reason. Fortunately the United                 architects and planners is that they
Kingdom sees the reality of the                need to estimate the cost of the
situation and is one of the world              work in carbon as well as money if
leaders in addressing climate                  we are to meet the ever demanding
change.                                        requirements on CO 2 emissions.
                                               These will be a principal driver in
                                               assessing our future needs and life

  In November 2007 the whole of                natural disasters. This occurred on
the East of England and the Thames             31 s t January 1953 when the North
Estuary came perilously close to a             Sea flooded these same areas,
repeat of one of Britain’s worst               killing over 300 people. The


Thames Barrier was raised twice in          of an outer barrier for several
November 2007 to prevent such               generations may expose London
floods and indeed was a response,           and the South East of England to a
if belated, to the events of 1953.          higher level of risk than necessary.
This same surge of the North Sea            It is believed that this decision is
flooded the Netherlands killing             driven by the high capital cost of
more than 2000 people and                   building a stand alone outer
resulted in the Dutch building the          estuary barrier but this is less than
largest flood defence system in the         ideal if these adverse weather and
world. Had the November storms              climatic    conditions     accelerate
coincided with a high tide, even the        beyond the current predictions.
Barrier     could     have     been
                                               This    position    is    thought
                                            untenable by some whose concern
  The    TE2100    report    clearly        is the safety and sustainability of
recognises this near miss but               the growing conurbation spreading
nonetheless indicates that it would         eastward     from    London.       Not
be sufficient to only implement             surprisingly therefore during the
upgrades to the existing Thames             TE2100 consultation process a
Barrier plus tidal management               frequent suggestion has been that
measures downstream costing £3              a multifunctional barrier embracing
to £7 billion.   The need for an            both transport links and tidal
outer estuary barrier is considered         energy generation would provide a
unlikely this century by the                more cost effective and sustainable
Environmental Agency.                       solution.   To    my      mind     this
                                            proposition    would    be     further
                                            improved if provision for an
  The effects of climate change in          estuary airport was made and the
the past have frequently been               platform on which the airport
underestimated and even now the             would be built could form a major
seriousness of the problem is still         part    of   the    whole    scheme.
being realised. Therefore the
decision to defer the construction

                                  THAMES ESTUARY AIRPORT FEASIBILITY REVIEW

      Assets and people at risk on the tidal
      Thames floodplains
       • 350 km2 land area
       • 55 km2 designated habitat sites
       • 1.25 million residents (plus commuters, tourists and other visitors)
       • 500,000 homes
       • 40,000 commercial and industrial properties
       • £160 billion property value
       • Key Government buildings including the Houses of Parliament
       • 400 schools, 16 hospitals
       • City Airport
       • The Olympics site
       • 4 World Heritage sites (Greenwich, Tower of London, Westminster, Kew
       • Heritage and cultural sites including the Tate Modern and Tate Britain
       • 1,100 km of railway lines, 30 mainline railway and 70 underground stations
       • 1,300 km of main roads

  Figure 10


  For more than a decade the                      the Essex and Kent coasts is
outer estuary and the North Sea                   expected to commence in the near
has been selected as a potential                  future.     When complete it is
area suitable for wind farms. The                 expected to produce 1000MW with
30 turbines on the Kentish Flats                  341     turbines.  Several  other
have been in operation since                      schemes     are   currently being
August 2005 with a total output of                considered within this general
90MW. Construction of the more                    area.
ambitious scheme, the London
Array, situated some 20 Km from

                                       THAMES ESTUARY AIRPORT FEASIBILITY REVIEW

Location                                            Max. Power       Number           of
                                                    Generated        Turbines

Inner Gabbard and Galloper                          500              140

Gunfleet Sands (Round 1&2)                          172              50

Kentish Flats                                       90               30
(Operational since 2005)
London Array                                        1000             341

Maximum Power likely to be generated                1762             561
in total
  Table 1: Wind Farms in the Estuary

   The United Kingdom will struggle                  On the other hand, tidal energy
to meet the Government’s target to                 is one of the oldest forms of
source 15% of its electricity from                 energy, with tide mills in use on
renewable sources by the year                      the Spanish, French and British
2020 even with its ambitious                       coasts dating back to 787AD
programme for the private sector
to build wind farms both inland and
offshore. The plan to install 7000                    The Estuary presents a unique
turbines by 2020, 4000 of which                    opportunity for tidal energy to the
are offshore and many the height                   extent that it is thought possible to
of the Blackpool Tower means                       generate sufficient power to make
manufacturing and erecting at the                  a meaningful contribution to the
rate of two turbines per day from                  overall needs of the region, even
the date of the Government’s                       though the estuary was not
announcement. In addition both                     identified by Government as one of
nuclear and tidal power stations                   the preferred locations in the UK
are expected to come on stream                     for this purpose. The Severn, Dee,
near to this target date.       It is              Solway and Humber estuaries were
doubtful whether the country has                   among the eight main sites around
the capacity to achieve this goal.                 Britain where Tidal power stations
                                                   could usefully be built. In respect
                                                   of the Thames estuary this decision
  As we can see from Table 1, the                  was almost certainly taken without
wind farms in the estuary will make                consideration of the potential for
a valuable contribution albeit                     integrating a tidal power scheme
minor in the overall equation.                     with the other infrastructure being

considered and especially an outer          proposing near to Canvey Island.
flood defence barrier                       Others I am aware have considered
                                            similar     opportunities      but
                                            Metrotidal would appear the most
   Care will need to be taken in the        advanced. However whether their
selection of any tidal generation           scheme is sited at the most
system in order to minimise any             appropriate location would need
adverse impact on the rich inter-           further examination and research.
tidal mud flats in the estuary on
which vast numbers of migratory
birds feed. If tidal lagoons were              Although any scheme within the
employed they would not be as               Thames Estuary would only be a
efficient as those sites selected by        fraction of the size of the Barrage
government due to the reduced               proposed for the Severn Estuary
tidal range within the Thames               some measure of scale can be
Estuary.    However the efficiency          deduced       from    the    energy
could be greatly improved if the            anticipated to be produced by the
hydrostatic    head     within   the        latter. It is expected to have over
lagoons was increased using pumps           200 large turbines, and provide
powered by the unpredictable and            over 8,000 Megawatts of power
intermittent energy source from             (over 12 Nuclear power stations
the adjacent wind farms.                    worth). It is expected to take 7
                                            years to build at a cost of £15Bn
                                            but could provide 7% of the energy
   Metrotidal Limited are at the            needs for England and Wales.
conceptual planning stage in this
field by integrating tidal lagoons
with a road and rail crossing of the
River Thames that they are



  The Thames Estuary is one of the          reduction    of    these   visitors.
most important ecological sites in          Whether due to reduced breeding
Europe and forms a key part of the          patterns caused by the above, a
huge ecosystem surrounding the              sudden change to the feeding
North Sea together with the coastal         grounds due to man’s interference
lowlands of the Continent and the           or merely wintering closer to their
East of England. The Estuary in             breeding grounds as a consequence
particular provides rich inter-tidal        of global warming.
feeding grounds which attract vast
numbers of migratory birds each
year.                                          Not only are birds protected by
                                            stringent EU and UK legislation but
                                            so too are certain species of fish,
   In July 2009 the RSPB and the            molluscs and crustaceans to ensure
Port of London Authority became             safe and secure breeding grounds
partners to monitor the behaviour
of the diverse range of species to
be found in the Thames and all its             It takes little imagination to
habitats.    The wildlife includes          appreciate that if any of the
dolphins,   seals,   fish,   marine         proposals    or    schemes     under
invertebrates and populations of            consideration    were     introduced
internationally important water             without appropriate amelioration
birds. This audit will determine            measures then the impact on this
how wildlife is affected by the             precious ecological reserve could
commercial activities conducted on          be disastrous and in this day and
the Thames. It will also provide            age almost certainly unacceptable.
information on the status of the            Nonetheless, this has to be brought
migratory birds and the pressures           into balance if we are to succeed in
they face not only at local sites           finding effective means to deal
here in the UK but also about               with the many and complex issues
changing conditions on distant              surrounding climate change, as well
breeding grounds in the arctic. The         as the needs and demands of a
latter currently threatened by              growing population.
climate change.

                                              Obviously to effectively address
  Equally important is the need to          the question of balance the
establish the reason for any                partnership formed between the
                                 THAMES ESTUARY AIRPORT FEASIBILITY REVIEW

RSPB and The PLA will provide a                equal habitats to maximise     the
helpful model on which to build. It            survival potential of all.
will then be necessary to pioneer
mitigation measures to create


   The regeneration of North Kent              Thames Gateway Programme but
from the M25 through the Medway                have fallen short of their targets.
Towns and on to Margate and                    Circumstances in some of the areas
Ramsgate in the east has been a                within these regions have been
concern and ambition for many                  exacerbated by industry scaling
years. In a similar way South Essex            back its activities with some
has    also    had     plans    for            repercussions    throughout    the
regeneration. Both have benefited              supply chain.
to different degrees from the


               The Boroughs and Local Authorities governing the
                towns and villages of North Kent and South Essex all
                have plans for regeneration. e.g. North Kent and
                Medway has the potential for 80,000 new jobs and
                50,000 new homes over a 20 year period.
               The Thames Gateway Partnerships have made some
               Without a catalyst, infrastructure and transport links
                the full potential of these important goals will not be

  Figure 11


        Map of deprivation in the Thames

  Figure 12

   The      various       infrastructure          Each of the foregoing items if
schemes under consideration would               considered in isolation and without
provide the catalyst to bring about             being part of a bigger programme is
the change sought by all the local              unlikely to demonstrate value for
authorities involved. In the initial            money. Therefore it is important to
stage much of the regeneration                  ensure that they are considered
would      be    as     a    result   of        holistically   within    a    single
construction      followed      by   the        programme.
operation      of     the     completed
facilities and the support and
satellite industry that would result.              Much valuable work has been
Although the statistics are wide                undertaken by the Thames Gateway
ranging it is clear that the                    Partnership in conjunction with the
population growth levels would be               County Councils and Boroughs
significant.    Furthermore, if the             involved and Sir Terry Farrell has
transport improvements already                  also reviewed the same areas in his
proposed for the regions were                   Parkland and subsequent studies.
provided      then     the     rate   of        Therefore the work done should be
development        would      begin   to        taken properly into account when
improve.                                        an in-depth study is taken forward



   Whilst the present investment             increased by 60% with the real
programme      will   provide    new         impact from a 38% increase in HGV
transport links such as Crossrail,           vehicles. It is also likely the
Thameslink     and    HS2,    further        expansion of marine ports will
improvements      in   the   Thames          contribute some 22% again by
estuary will be necessary to                 2031.
support    the    existing   housing
programmes       let    alone     the
expansion,      development       and           Interestingly the DfT consultants
regeneration that would result               claim that they do not have the
should the major infrastructure              tools for the next phase of study
being proposed by this review be             because the current traffic models
constructed.                                 are no longer suitable.         This
                                             confirms my findings in other areas
                                             of study and I was pleased to learn
   The models used for planning SE           that     Imperial     College    are
England’s transport have relied on           conducting research in this regard.
both orbital and radial paths                It is disappointing that no traffic
around, to and from London but               models have yet been developed to
have tended to ignore links from             interact with those used to
north to south which bypass                  evaluate the wider benefits of
London to the east.        This is           transport and infrastructure.
understandable with the obstacle
presented by the River Thames and
its Estuary.                                    The DfT report makes positive
                                             recommendations and has reviewed
                                             five river crossing options as
   In April 2009 the Department for          follows:
Transport published its Dartford
Crossing Report which clearly
demonstrates that the present
Dartford Crossing is operating at its
effective capacity with daily traffic
flow of between 140,000 and
150,000 vehicles. The modelling
recently undertaken anticipates
that by 2031 traffic will have


•    Option A - Additional capacity            The following table has been
     at    the    existing   Dartford        taken from the report as published
     Crossing.                               by the DfT and indicates the merits
•    Option     B    -    Swanscombe         of each crossing measured against
     Peninsula link A2 to the A1089.         the five high level government
•    Option C - East of Gravesend            goals identified in ‘Delivering a
     and link to the M20.                    Sustainable    Transport    System’
•    Option D - M2 link to Canvey            (DaSTS, November 2008):
•    Option E - Isle of Grain link to
     east of Southend.

    Table 2: DaSTS Goals

  Recommendations in the report              “Business   as   Usual”   with
may be interpreted as follows that           improvements to the approaches

and toll plazas will ease the current           The DfT Report reviews the need
congestion. This is necessary but            of both freight and passenger rail
will not meet the demand forecast            traffic. In the case of freight it is
for 2031 so Options A, B & C are             claimed that the shortfall in
put      forward      for     further        capacity would not be overcome by
consideration and study by the               a Lower Thames Crossing as the
department’s consultants.       It is        growth in traffic is generally from
noted that it may not be possible            the Midlands to the Channel
to consider Option B further as it           Tunnel. In the case of passenger
conflicts with the Eastern Quarry            traffic, although trains run full in
development which is key to the              the rush hours the pattern is radial
Thames      Gateway     development          taking commuters to and from
strategy.                                    London on the routes both north
                                             and south of the Thames. Again a
                                             further crossing was not considered
   The Report also recommends                necessary.
that Options D & E should be
dropped.        Option D is the
alignment on which Metrotidal’s                Whilst the Dartford Crossing
scheme is based and the alignment            Report is a comprehensive report it
of E would be close to where                 tends to apply today’s approach
access is likely to be needed for an         and     thinking   to   tomorrow’s
estuary airport and outer barrier.           problems and how life may change
Therefore these two options are              over the 20 to 30 years. It lacks an
worthy of further consideration              holistic review of what is likely or
especially as the straight line              even possible within the Thames
distance from Junction 9 on the              estuary. The authors of the report
M11 to Folkestone, which crosses             recognise that further and more
the estuary on the approximate               detailed studies are necessary and
alignment of the crossing in Option          should this be the case then they
E, is about 25Km less than the               should be closely aligned with the
present route over the Dartford              Thames Estuary Development Study
Crossing. Moreover if the crossing           as advocated in this review
was considered as part of an                 together with the Mayor’s London
holistic review of the estuary and           Plan      and     Outer      London
the other infrastructure required            Commission.
the capital cost and disruption
would be significantly reduced.
                                                It is clear that if an airport were
                                             to be built in the estuary the whole


pattern of traffic would change             especially High Speed Rail from the
dramatically     and     especially         network to the airport if a
associated     with      successful         maximum journey time of 40
regeneration of the areas on either         minutes from Central London to an
side of the Thames. There would             Estuary Airport is to be achieved.
need to be a significant rethink
regarding rail connections and


   Before the construction of any           significant contribution to UK’s
infrastructure within the Thames            economy.                Additionally
Estuary,    the   most    important         construction on London Gateway
consideration       after       the         Port has commenced and when
environment,       ecology      and         finished   will  be    the   largest
hydrology, are the trade and                container terminal in the UK able
leisure activities that the river           to handle the next generation of
supports.                                   massive Container Vessels with a
                                            capacity of 14,000 TEUs. (Twenty-
                                            foot Equivalent Units)
   Since the decline of the London
Docks with the last enclosed docks
being shut in 1983, shipping has               By the time any new major
moved 20 miles downstream to                infrastructure is in place these
Tilbury Docks where trade still             huge ships will be sailing up and
flourishes. The Port of London              down the Estuary. Therefore these
Authority, which controls the River         need to be taken fully into account
Thames from Teddington to the               when designing infrastructure so
Outer Estuary, reports that the             that all steps are taken not to
Port adds £3.7billion to the UK’s           interfere with trade.
economy      each   year   and    an
investment of £4.8 Billion is
expected to occur over the next ten            The major task for any river
years. Therefore, no activity must          authority is to ensure the shipping
undermine the performance of the            lanes    remain    open   and   are
Port of London. The River Medway,           regularly dredged to maintain the
which enters the Thames Estuary at          correct depth. In the Thames this is
the Isle of Grain and is home to the        almost a constant task due to
Port of Sheerness, Chatham Docks            silting. Also there is a desire to
and Thamesport, also makes a                widen and deepen the Princes


Channel to reduce the distance to             We have already mentioned the
the route to the ports for shipping        ecology elsewhere but it is worth
coming from or heading to the              reminding ourselves that there are
south. The Dredging quantities to          also important fishing grounds and
achieve this are large and rather          oyster and cockle beds to be cared
than send to dumping grounds               for. Also the Estuary, the River
could be gainfully used in any             Swale in the south and the many
structures to be built in the              small tributaries on the northern
Estuary,   namely,     an   airport        shore are the home of much
platform or flood defence barrier.         sporting and leisure activities and
                                           again steps will need to be taken to
                                           ensure they may continue.





   Although Heathrow may have              Heyford, Bicester which has been
emerged by accident after the war          calculated to be the centroid for
and took the mantle of London              overall passenger demand for the
Airport away from Croydon in 1946,         whole of the UK.
it is still 96Km south of Upper

Airports                     Distance (KM) to         Distance (KM) to Upper
                               Charing Cross             Heyford, Bicester
London Heathrow             28                       96
London Stansted             68                       171
London Gatwick              47                       155
London Luton                56                       66
Birmingham                  182                      86
East Midlands               188                      126
Thames Estuary Airport      96                       218
  Table 3

   It is interesting to note that          the airport, industry and huge
Luton and Birmingham are closer to         distribution warehouses have been
the centroid than London Heathrow          established and on the outskirts
However, neither of these Airports         expensive residential property. In
has     the   space   to    expand         stark contrast on the east, urban
significantly, even though both            development spreads all the way to
have      good     mainline    rail        west London. The development of
connections                                this conurbation emerged between
                                           the two Wars and hence before
                                           Heathrow was established. It is the
  Given Heathrow’s location and            people in these districts living
space it is not surprising it has          directly under the flight path of the
developed since 1946, albeit in an         world busiest passenger airport
ad hoc manner. As a consequence,           who are constantly exposed to
within a 40Km radius to the west of        noise, pollution and risk.       This


nuisance should not be dismissed             capable of using alternative fuels
as minor for Heathrow has been               reducing CO 2 , NOX and noise
functioning at 99% operational               emissions.
efficiency    with    approximately
477,000 air transport movements
(ATM) last year alone and the                   Although many cities around the
prospect of this increasing to               world have airports adjacent to the
605.000 by 2020. The latter takes            central area there is not really an
account of the introduction of the           example that parallels London with
third runway with the number of              the predominant approach from
ATM’s constrained by prescribed              the east traversing the whole of
noise and air quality tests but will         London to reach Heathrow in the
be subject to review in 2020.                west.     Therefore the impact on
                                             Greater London may be considered
                                             to be both unusual and high.
  Capacity of the present two                Obviously if the third runway were
runways could be increased with              to be built the impact would
the introduction of mixed mode               increase. Given that the Nation’s
operation which is favoured by               concern over terrorism attacks is
many operators and air traffic               intensifying and more especially
controllers.    However this would           since the attack on the World Trade
have the disadvantage of increasing          Centre in New York on September
the frequency of flights with the            11 t h 2001 and the London bombings
associated disruption and risks. No          on 7 t h July 2005 the risk arising
doubt it is for the latter reason and        from so many aircraft passing at
politics that this mode of operation         low level over London is a major
has been rejected.                           concern. The Nation’s concern is
                                             demonstrated by the plans being
                                             prepared for the 2012 Olympic
   If one confines concern for those         Games to divert hundreds of flights
who live directly under the flight           away from Central London.
path to sympathy alone it is
difficult to find reasons to close or
transfer considerable volumes of                The aim, therefore, should surely
traffic from Heathrow. This view is          be to reduce rather than increase
to some degree reinforced by the             air traffic over the city. The fact
extensive research Rolls Royce are           that the popular London City
currently undertaking to develop             Airport also exacerbates the issue
the next generation of aircraft              should not be overlooked.
engines     and    aircraft   designs


   Hopefully with the introduction           Whilst Asia dominates the World’s
of high speed rail and HS2 in                10 best airports, Zurich is rated 4 t h ,
particular being given priority the          Munich 5 t h and Amsterdam 8 t h .
ambitions to build a third runway            Neither does Heathrow feature
in the short term at Heathrow will           anywhere in Europe’s league tables
disappear.                                   despite the addition of T5.

  Sir Terry Farrell has expressed               If London as a city is to retain its
the view that the efficiency of              premier place in the world surely
Heathrow could be improved if it             the current airport position needs
was better used and the layout               improvement and it is unlikely that
improved. The airport has evolved            an increase in the volume of traffic
with the market rather than being            will help. Therefore plans for a new
designed for purpose and hence               signature airport must commence
needs a major retrofit.          My          so that the smart green economy
thoughts parallel much of this               that UK wishes to establish can be
thinking for at present, despite             achieved and be ready for when the
Heathrow      being    the   busiest         existing airports serving London
passenger airport in the world, it is        can no longer meet the demand or
not rated in the World’s Best                become too expensive to operate
Airport List and this contrasts with         efficiently.
London’s role as a World Class City.

                                      THAMES ESTUARY AIRPORT FEASIBILITY REVIEW


   If a new major airport is to be                   perceived centroid of customer
considered    then   the    Thames                   demand. The main advantages and
Estuary is the most likely place to                  disadvantages of an estuary airport
be selected being approx 96Km                        are to be seen in Table 4 balanced
from the centre of London at                         against the possible disadvantages.
Charing Cross even though it is
218Km from Upper Heyford, the

              Impact of an offshore airport
              Advantages                        Disadvantages
               24 hour operation                 Distance from Central London
               Minimal pollution                  and transport links
               Approach not over Central         Reluctance of Airlines to move
                London                             and perceived loss of premium
               Reduced risk for residents
                                                  Air movement complicated over
               Incremental expansion without      SE England
                                                  Possible loss of interline traffic
               A Green Airport                   Move in the centre of gravity for
               The catalyst for regeneration      business
                and wealth creation               Capital costs will be high. How
               No CPO of Land                     will it be paid for?

  Figure 13

   Although not at the top of the                       The preferred Hub Airport should
list as tabled the fact that the site                be operational 24hours per day 365
does not require a Compulsory                        days per year and that is never
Purchase Order to acquire the land                   possible when located within or
and      property    is    extremely                 close to an urban area due to the
important commercially. This is the                  noise created by aircraft landing
issue that causes most controversy                   and taking off. Further it would not
when planning major infrastructure                   require aircraft to traverse London
projects. In this case the seabed is                 on the approach or indeed landing
Crown Land and is likely to be                       for the route will be predominately
leased.                                              over the North Sea. With an airport


open 24hours night operation                speed in terms of operational
provides air freight with more              efficiency and energy consumption
opportunities. Also it will assist          is 340Kph , distance is no longer an
long haul flights, especially from          issue.
the Far East, to overcome the
present situation where they have
to depart around or after midnight             The actual location of an airport
their local time in order to reach          within the Estuary is a very
London as Heathrow is about to              sensitive issue and would be the
open. Certainly, had it been                result of much modelling and
possible for Heathrow to have               design. Whilst the construction of
operated 24hours the question of a          a platform at sea is a well proven
third   runway     would    in  all         technology, having already been
probability never have arisen.              achieved in several other locations
                                            around the world, the actual
                                            location as to where it should be
   Provided it is located such that         built is totally unique in each case.
aircraft landing and taking off will        The Thames Estuary is certainly no
not cause a nuisance to the                 exception to this.
residents living in the adjacent
coastal towns, an airport in the
Thames Estuary could operate on a              Obviously great care must be
24hours basis and would also                taken to ensure the impact on the
present a major challenge to the            environment is kept to an absolute
competing European airports of              minimum and of equal importance
Amsterdam (Schiphol), Paris (CDG)           are the people living on either side
and Brussels. The distance from the         of the Estuary. As a consequence
centre of London can be overcome            whilst issues of the inter-tidal
by high speed trains. Already               feeding grounds, bird strike and
Eurostar      has     a    maximum          noise contours will be key drivers
operational speed of 300Kph and             in positioning the platform they are
its scheduled service between St            not alone for so are the avoidance
Pancras and Ebbsfleet completes in          of the shipping lanes, leisure
17 minutes - a journey that usually         activities and fishing grounds and
takes at least 50 minutes by the            their nursery areas.
normal services. With high speed
trains improving constantly and the
                                               The hydraulic modelling of the
fact that it is now accepted by
                                            river   again    considers    the
most     high     speed   operators,
                                            environment and its sustainability
especially Japan, that the optimum

in depth and also determines the             some 7Km to 10Km north east of
least impact to the natural flows            Whitstable in the direction of the
and currents thus avoiding undue             Shivering Sands Fort and The
sedimentation and change in water            Kentish Flats Wind Farm.     But I
quality. Fortunately over the last           should stress this will need to be
decade the world’s leading experts           determined in line with the above
in this field, HR Wallingford, have          criteria during the conceptual
developed the tools necessary to             design stage of development.
achieve this degree of modelling             Figure 14 and Figure 15 provide an
and analysis as a result of its work         approximate indication of these
with the Port of London Authority,           areas.
the Environmental Agency and P&O
(now DP World).
                                                Further the location may again
                                             be modified if the outcome of an
   Having made clear that the final          holistic study of the Estuary
location and design of the airport           advocated      the    wisdom   of
platform is sensitive to many                integrating an airport platform
factors it is thought the most likely        with the outer flood defence
site would be in the outer estuary           barrier and transport links.

  Figure 13


  Figure 15


   The introduction of a new airport        forecast to determine rate of
in the Estuary, given the time it is        growth in Air Transport Movements
likely to take from the present to          from 2007/8 through 2014, 2021,
opening, should not cause any               2028 to 2035. The figures used are
major controversy or interruption           based on DfT’s unconstrained
to the other London airports before         forecast of 3.2% increase per
their full capacity has been                annum in passenger demand for UK
reached. In most cases around the           as    a  whole    and    associated
world this has been the criteria            assumptions on average aircraft
used for the commissioning of a             size.
new airport.

                                               Together   they  show   the
  Both Figure 16 and Figure 17              relationship between supply of
below take account of the latest            runway capacity at those dates
CAA data and then use the DfT               both without and with new
                                                                                  THAMES ESTUARY AIRPORT FEASIBILITY REVIEW

runways at Heathrow circa 2020,                                                                           As we know from Heathrow
Stansted 2020 and Gatwick 2025.                                                                        70mppa means that the runways
This shows that even with three                                                                        are operating at about 99%
new runways in theory there is a                                                                       efficiency and at near capacity
shortfall of some 540,000 slots by                                                                     requiring another runway. From
2035. That is about the capacity of                                                                    this it certainly would appear that
two runways which is notionally                                                                        a further airport is required by or
equivalent to 70 million passengers                                                                    before 2030.
per annum.

                                                               Capacity and Demand Forecast in SE England
                                                                        (Assuming no new Runways)

                      Air Transort Movements Capacity

                                                                                                       Demand for Slots

                                                                    LCY           LCY           LCY                 LCY       LCY
                                                                    LTN           LTN           LTN                 LTN       LTN

                                                                    STN           STN           STN                 STN       STN

                                                                   LGW           LGW           LGW                  LGW      LGW


                                                                    LHR           LHR           LHR                 LHR       LHR


                                                                  2007/08       2014/15       2021/22             2028/29   2035/36

      Source: CAA, Future of Air Transport White Paper and supporting documents

                                                               The unmet demand by 2035/36 is in the region of 1.2 million slots
                                                                – almost as big as the capacity of the 5 London airports today.

  Figure 16

                                                                                THAMES ESTUARY AIRPORT FEASIBILITY REVIEW

                                                               Capacity and Demand Forecast in SE England
                                                              (Assuming new Runways at LHR, STN and LGW)


                                                                                                     Demand for Slots
                     Air Transort Movements Capacity

                                                       2000                                                     Unmet
                                                                                                                 LCY       LCY
                                                                                                                LTN        LTN

                                                       1600                                  LCY
                                                                                                                STN        STN
                                                                  LCY           LCY
                                                                  LTN           LTN

                                                                                                                LGW        LGW
                                                                  STN           STN
                                                       800                                   LGW
                                                                  LGW          LGW

                                                                                             LHR                LHR        LHR
                                                                  LHR           LHR


                                                                2007/08       2014/15      2021/22            2028/29   2035/36
     Source: CAA, Future of Air Transport White Paper and supporting documents              Year

                                                                Even with new runways at Heathrow, Stansted and Gatwick,
                                                                   there is unmet demand of 540,000 slots by 2035/36.

  Figure 17

   The need to expand London’s                                                                  the increased use of the bigger
airports to meet the growing                                                                    budget airlines. It is thought by
demand has been alleviated to                                                                   some that this decline will have
some     degree    by   the    recent                                                           levelled out by the end of the year
downturn in air traffic movements                                                               and growth will continue as before,
monitored by NATS. Air traffic                                                                  whilst others see a much slower
movements now equate to the                                                                     recovery. Whichever is the case,
levels previously seen in 2004. This                                                            the best that can be expected is a
is reflected by the large losses now                                                            slip of approx three years before
being recorded by the national and                                                              returning to the rate of growth
legacy carriers who tend to focus                                                               previously experienced. Even then
on the business end of the market.                                                              that prediction may not be possible
This is thought to be the result of                                                             if the world is to meet the targets
the global recession. At present                                                                for the reduction in CO2 emissions
this drop in traffic has not stopped                                                            set   by   Government.     This   is
but is showing signs of slowing                                                                 especially so given that aviation
down. To some extent this decline                                                               contributes at least 5% of the
in the UK has been camouflaged by                                                               world’s total carbon emissions each

year.    In     addition    airports        technology will become a necessity
contribute considerable amounts of          if climate protection measures such
CO 2 as a result of the private and         as halving global emissions by 2050
public road vehicles they attract           are to be achieved. Unless industry
and the service vehicles at the             can come up with a solution in time
airport. The CO 2 signature for             the use and need for airports as we
Heathrow is particularly high.              know them today may change and
                                            influence the timing for a new
   Therefore a fundamental change
in   air  travel   behaviour  and

                                       THAMES ESTUARY AIRPORT FEASIBILITY REVIEW


  NATS, responsible for Air Traffic                   No more evidence than a day
Control for the UK, has been most                  picked at random in July 2008 and
helpful in reviewing the future                    as depicted in Figure 18Figure 17
possibilities and has welcomed                     &Figure 19 needs to be seen to
being invited to assist in this                    understand that our sky is nearly
review.                                            operating at capacity. Therefore
                                                   one has to question whether it is
                                                   the sky or our airports which in
                                                   the long term will govern growth.


  Figure 18: Heathrow Radar data 24h

   Each line in Figure 18: Heathrow                representative day and just shows
Radar data 24h represents an                       the tracks in and out of Heathrow
aeroplane, the track over the                      airport. The magenta pink colour
ground and this is taken from                      represents the inbound routes and
actual radar data from one day in                  if you would note the holding
July   last    year.   This   is  a                patterns which you can see to the


north, south and north east and                 Looking at the Thames Estuary
south east of Heathrow where the             area the proximity of our eastern
aeroplanes appear to be going                air space boundary, where these
round in a circular pattern. Those           tracks appear to stop, is the UK
are the often referred to stacks, or         eastern boundary about 40 miles
holding patterns. The red lines are          east of Canvey Island. The eastern
the departure routes.                        boundary coincides approximately
                                             with left hand side of the image.

   Although all aircraft plan and fly
standard routes, depending on                   In order to review the impact of
their destination and origin, they           another airport the size of
do deviate and a degree of spread            Heathrow it is not possible to
can be seen. They are not all                mirror image the present air traffic
following the exact track over the           pattern but instead once the
ground and the spread illustrates            preferred    position    has   been
the tactical ATC intervention which          decided then NATS is prepared to
is done to maximise capacity and             undertake the major task of
achieve the most efficient climb             reviewing     the   entire    traffic
and descent profiles.                        patterns around the London area
                                             and the south east for all would
                                             need to be changed. The eastern
   So there is a spread of traffic,          boundary in the southeast is
but the image clearly shows the              known as the Clacton interface out
obvious separation of inbound and            to the north east down to the
outbound flows. This happens all             eastbound route out to Dover.
the way around the London area               This is acknowledged to be the
and links with integrated main               busiest piece of airspace in
artery routes right the way across           Europe.     Hence     it   can    be
Europe. So when aircraft reach the           appreciated the exercise to see
airspace   boundary     they     are         how best to accommodate an
transferred to the control of the            estuary airport together with
adjoining authority. This is part of         those already serving London is far
a European network.                          from minor. But NATS acknowledge
                                             nothing is impossible.

                                     THAMES ESTUARY AIRPORT FEASIBILITY REVIEW


  Figure 19: Radar data 24h - Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Luton and London City

  The picture becomes even more                       is just one day’s traffic for all of
complicated when the arriving and                     London’s airports on the same day
departing traffic from Gatwick,                       in July 2008 as shown in Figure 19.
Stansted, Luton and not to forget
London City is included. Again this

  4.50 RADAR.

   Any future studies would need                         There will be several Wind
to consider the aspect of the                         Farms in operation by the time an
airport radar very carefully given                    Estuary    Airport    would     be
the obstructions and shipping                         commissioned but these can be
likely to be using the London                         overcome    with    the   existing
Gateway Port at Shellhaven.                           technology for although their
                                                      rotors move the actual mast is

                                      THAMES ESTUARY AIRPORT FEASIBILITY REVIEW

   Shipping has not been a problem                       are amongst the very biggest
in Hong Kong, where container                            sailing the high seas. It is these
vessels    and    other    shipping                      vessels against which radar must
constantly pass within a few                             be checked to ensure the safe
kilometres of the runways and                            approach    and    departure    for
approaches.     However the new                          aircraft.   This is however not
generation of container ships of                         considered to be a show stopper
14,000     TEU     (twenty     foot                      as new technology is being
equivalent units) capacity being                         developed and will have been tried
launched are mostly over 360m in                         and tested before an airport could
length and have a beam in excess                         be operational. However it is
of 50m with a draft of 14/15m. As                        necessary to record this issue.
can be appreciated these vessels


  Bird strikes are a threat at the                       business on the 15 t h July 2003 that
majority of airports around the                          all London airports suffer from bird
world including Heathrow, where                          strikes as can be seen from Table 5
they are troubled by the Canada                          extracted from Hansard of the
Geese. In fact it is interesting to                      same date.
note   from    the   Parliamentary

                           Incidence of Bird Strike
                        Heathrow         Gatwick                              Stansted
   1998                     36              32                                   14
   1999                     56              39                                   16
   2000                     46              39                                   21
   2001                     59              40                                   28
   2002                     71              51                                   30
  Table 4 : Bird strike data sourced from Hansard

   Therefore as can be seen bird                         City Airport located on the river
strikes   are    not    an  unusual                      Thames.
occurrence at our principal London
airports     but     it    is    of
interestinteresting to note that                           This apart, bird strikes need very
none were recorded for London                            serious consideration; a fact that


was brought sharply to the                      Most previous estuary airport
attention of many frequent flyers            proposals have been inshore on
when images of a US Airways Plane            either the mud flats or marshes or
floating in the Hudson River were            both which are the feeding grounds
seen around the world.                       for the birds. However, what is
                                             now being proposed is an offshore
                                             airport away from the feeding
  Also the reality and magnitude of          grounds. What must be watched is
the problem is appreciated when              that any airport platform does not
between 1990 and 2004, according             become a new roosting or feeding
to the Bird Strike Committee USA ,           source.
a group formed to collate and
analyse accurate data on bird
strikes, there were in the US alone             Finally although the RSPB have
56,000 reported bird strikes which           excellent survey records from their
may be a fraction of the true total,         volunteer force of the birds’ habits
the committee says. The problem              and movements inshore the records
may never be eradicated, but anti-           offshore are not so detailed and
bird strike measures are needed,             circumstances beyond the inter-
especially in airports near lakes            tidal grounds may be considerably
and     estuaries    where     birds         different as was found when
congregate.                                  London Array undertook their
                                             environmental study. A colony of
                                             Red      Throated     Divers    was
   Therefore, this data indicates            discovered which proved to be
that although bird strikes are a real        greater in numbers than was
issue there are ways to overcome             thought to exist in the UK.
the    problem     without     being
aggressive towards the birds.
Whilst much is written on how best              MetroTidal in their studies have
to resolve the problem and should            produced a map of the flight paths
be reviewed in detail, I believe the         across the estuary and is included
issue should be addressed with the           as Figure 20 below. If this is
RSPB to find the right solution for          representative    of   the    actual
the Thames Estuary which must be             situation it would appear that the
regarded as both unique and                  likely location is relatively free
precious.                                    from bird movements.            This
                                             coincides with my own visit to the

                                     THAMES ESTUARY AIRPORT FEASIBILITY REVIEW

     Bird Movements

  Figure 20: Bird Flight Path Movement Data


   As indicated earlier in the                     view,     this    would     impose
report, for an Estuary airport to                  unnecessary constraint on the CTRL
function efficiently and serve                     route from St Pancras to the
London and the South East, high                    Channel Tunnel. No doubt by 2030
speed rail links are essential. They               when it is anticipated that a new
also need to be configured in such                 airport could become operational
a way to make them user friendly                   there would not be sufficient
and to discourage the use of cars.                 capacity on this line to support a
                                                   Eurostar link along this route. On
                                                   the other hand it was thought both
  Having discussed potential high                  feasible and advantageous if “High
speed     rail     routes    with                  Speed 1”(HS1)branched at Stratford
representatives of the industry it                 International Station, followed a
has been established that a high                   new section of railway towards
speed Eurostar link from Ebbsfleet                 Southend–on–sea       and     then
to the airport then continuing to                  continued by means of a tunnel out
Ashford is not favoured. In their

to the airport and then directly on          be run from Ebbsfleet to the
to rejoin the existing HS1 route at          Airport the introduction of the new
Ashford. This would also have the            140mph (or 225kph) 395 Trains,
advantage of linking the new                 better known as the Javelin, greatly
airport    with   Europe     without         improves rail transport in Kent
increasing the load on the busiest           generally but more specifically the
airspace in Europe. Further, this            Medway towns and on to Margate.
would     create    an    integrated         Again by 2030 it is inconceivable
transport hub as well as providing a         that the lines serving both north
link should the airport have to              Kent and south Essex will not have
close for any reason.                        been upgraded sufficiently to
                                             enable a high speed Javelin service
                                             to the airport from the suburbs of
   The above proposals relate to             London.
HS1 alone but there could be much
greater opportunities if the high
speed links were considered as part             For those passengers coming
of the new high speed network                from the west side of London or
which is beginning to emerge as a            indeed passengers arriving at
result of those working on the               Heathrow by air from other
development of HS2. This line as             destinations and wishing to transit
published is to link London                  through to the estuary airport it is
Heathrow with the West Midlands              thought necessary to have a non
and then hopefully become the                stop dedicated connection between
first phase of a new high speed              the two airports. Also there should
network capable of serving UK’s              be facilities for new passengers
future needs and provide a real              arriving Heathrow to check in and
alternative to road and domestic             board the aircraft at the new
air travel. These issues have not            airport. This approach has many
been discussed formally with High            parallels to the downtown check-
Speed Two (HS2) Limited but if               ins operated successfully in other
further airport studies are to be            cities.
undertaken then consultation with
both HS2 and the Department of
Transport would be an early                    Metrotidal has advocated that
requirement.                                 Crossrail be extended with the
                                             Essex and Kent spurs being
                                             connected via the new river
  Whilst it would not appear                 crossing to be built to ease the
practical for the Eurostar service to        Dartford crossing as discussed


earlier. In its study this would be          A130/A120 to Stansted Airport and
located at Canvey Island. However,           the M11. This would provide not
whilst this may provide a useful             only a direct route to London but
addition it is likely to impose              equally as important the East
operational     constraints    which         Midlands and the cyber centre and
overall may reflect upon the                 high tech industries concentrated
efficiency of the service. Therefore         around Cambridge.
this   proposal    has    not   been
considered further but remains
open for future consideration by                The highway connection to the
Crossrail     and    its    Sponsors,        south would need a new section of
Transport for London and the                 motorway to be built across the
Department for Transport.                    Isle of Grain to link both the M2
                                             and M20 to the airport crossing.
                                             This would then provide high
   Reaching the airport has focused          quality connectivity between the
on rail rather than road and I am of         Channel Tunnel through Ashford
the view that this must be the               and through the M20, M25 and
correct way forward in the future if         M23 to Gatwick airport.
the goals to reduce carbon are to
be achieved. Further this must be
considered the more efficient way               If these road connections could
in which to move large numbers of            be mirrored by rail links also this
people. However to make it                   would mean that the new airport
attractive the railway services and          would have efficient links to the
trains must continue to take                 other three major airports serving
massive strides forward to improve           London. London City Airport would
customer service as well as                  also be connected via the A13 and
becoming more user friendly.                 Luton by the A13, M25 and M1.

   Despite the importance of the                As will be appreciated, the A13
rail    connections,      motorway           rebuild would almost certainly
connections to a new airport still           demand that it be upgraded to a 3,
need to be established. It is                if not, 4 lane motorway up to
thought    both     feasible   and           Junction 30 on the M25.           This
economic to connect the new                  change would in itself provide a
airport through its own estuary              relief valve to the Dartford
crossing to a rebuilt A13 in Essex           Crossing if congestion still exists by
and then link the improved                   2030.



  As was discussed in section 4.20            the platform on which the airport
of this report the actual location            is to be built has been determined,
will be the subject of much                   the    design    and   method     of
modelling analysis and design and             construction for the platform is the
therefore until this is achieved the          next key issue.
detail of the planning, design and
construction cannot be reviewed in
definitive terms. Rather I provide a             In order to progress, it has been
series of general statements that             assumed that the platform would
will provide the guidance to future           initially     be     required       to
activities.                                   accommodate two runways capable
                                              of operating independently and
                                              then being extended to permit the
  The completion of the project at            construction     of    two    further
this stage is not expected much               independent        runways.      This
before 2030 as the combined                   incremental expansion would be
capacities of Heathrow, Gatwick,              achieved by the extension of the
Stansted, Luton and City would                initial platform or by a separate
appear to be able to cope with                but linked platform, subject to an
demand up until that point.                   informed judgement once design
However, infrastructure of this               progress and full knowledge of the
scale should whenever possible be             hydraulic analysis is known and
phased rather than be subject to              how best the chosen location
the “big bang” approach. The                  functions with the industry and
engineering     and     construction          leisure activities in the estuary.
industry is likely to welcome this            Also if it were possible, as is
way of working so that the                    hoped, to integrate the airport
necessary capacity to undertake               with the construction of the outer
the detailed design, manufacture              estuary defence barrier this could
and    construction    is    available        understandably      influence     this
without     recourse     to    radical        decision. Again for the purpose of
solutions to engage a huge labour             the report it is assumed a single
force    and     obtain     sufficient        platform will be extended.
materials, plant and equipment.

                                                Whilst the traditional method of
  Once the airport plan has been              construction would be by means of
devised and the size and shape of             reclamation and creating a solid
                                      THAMES ESTUARY AIRPORT FEASIBILITY REVIEW

platform using spoil, rock, sand or                     The scheme has since been
shingle much of which would                             abandoned on the grounds of cost.
normally need to be dredged, other
concepts have been promoted and
tried elsewhere in the world.                              Prior to the 11 t h September 2001
                                                        attacks in New York a major
                                                        expansion of San Francisco airport
   The Japanese Ministry of Land,                       was being planned out to sea and
Infrastructure and Transport in                         platform     alternatives    including
2000 built a 1000m floating runway                      piled     and    tethered      floating
in Tokyo Bay using what they called                     schemes were being reviewed.
the Pneumatic Stabilized Platform                       However this work all appears to
and named the project Mega Float.                       have come to an abrupt halt after
The structure has since been                            the terrorist attacks.
dismantled    and    another    was
considered for construction in
Yamaguchi     Prefecture.    It   is                      The Netherlands has also been
understood that the purpose of                          looking at floating airports which
these experiments was to see how                        rotate to face the wind and are
to build a floating airport for San                     enclosed within a reclaimed bund.
Diego some three miles out to sea.

  Figure 21: Dutch Plans for an Island Airport as Published in the NCE 12.02.09

                                            THAMES ESTUARY AIRPORT FEASIBILITY REVIEW

   Whist all these schemes and                          ease of reckoning these quantities
experiments are of great interest                       would double if the platform was
and should be kept under review in                      to have four runways.
case they become viable the
approach being advocated for this
proposal is prudent and proposes                           To provide some idea of scale
the    adoption   of  the    more                       the total excavation arising from
traditional methods.                                    the Crossrail project is around 8
                                                        million cu m.         Therefore the
                                                        material required is over 16,000
                                                        times the amount arising from
                                                        Crossrail. However to demonstrate
                                                        this is not ridiculous the amount of
                                                        material moved in 31months for
                                                        the construction of Hong Kong’s
                                                        International Airport at Chek Lap
                                                        Kok was approaching 400 million
                                                        cu.m of marine mud, rock and sand.
                                                        However, the Thames estuary does
                                                        not have a mountainous island to
                                                        level which provided a significant
                                                        amount of this material.

                                                           If the creation of the platform
                                                        can be spread over several years
                                                        this would be the ideal location to
                                                        dispose of construction waste
    Figure 22: Typical construction of an
artificial island in layers
                                                        being generated in London and the
                                                        south east.      Also in conjunction
                                                        with those who specialise in the
  The      size  of   the    platform
                                                        waste industry investigation should
supporting      two    runways      is
                                                        be made into what other products
anticipated to be approx. 4800m
                                                        could be used.         This approach
long by 1800m wide and the
                                                        would be both economic and
surface level being in the order of
                                                        environmentally        friendly    for
7m above mean high tide. This
                                                        providing a free dump would
would require over 134 million cu
                                                        greatly     reduce     costs;   would
m. of fill together with the external
                                                        prevent waste material being sent
armoring to ensure stability and
                                                        to landfill sites or incineration and
protect it from wave action. For

reduce the amount of dredging               suitable material from the seabed.
required to source sand and other

  Figure 23: Dredger Brabo

   Once the location has been               characteristics of each of these
finalised, in order to design the           strata and their behaviour are well
platform it would it be necessary to        known and hence the ability to
conduct major site investigation            calculate the compressibility of
surveys including boreholes, cone           each layer is an established
penetration tests and others.               practice. The latter is required to
                                            calculate the settlement caused by
                                            the weight of the platform. Further
   From an inspection of the                calculations will be required when
geological maps of the area it is           the nature of the fill is known to
clear that the geology of the               determine how much settlement
Thames bed in this area is very             would occur and what measures
suitable for the construction of a          would be needed to accelerate that
platform.           Beneath      the        process.    Measures    to   induce
sedimentation in the river bed is an        settlement at an early stage rather
Alluvium Bed approx. 20m in depth           than allowing time to achieve the
under which there is a good depth           process would only be required if
of London Clay followed by the              the construction of the airport was
Lambeth Beds with the Upper Chalk           needed urgently as was the case in
Beds being reached at about 150m            Hong Kong.
below     sea     level.         The

                                        THAMES ESTUARY AIRPORT FEASIBILITY REVIEW


  Figure 24: Geological Cross Section

   The weather in the Thames                        the second World War and which
Estuary is not as much of a limiting                still has high explosives on board
factor as was first thought. The                    equivalent to 2800 V1 flying
visibility and fog free days in the                 bombs. A decision on how to deal
centre of the estuary are more                      with this obstruction has to be
than experienced inshore and even                   determined.
better than the weather recorded
at Heathrow. Therefore this clearly
indicates that weather is not an
                                                           SS Richard Montgomery
impediment to an offshore location
and is preferable to that of the
inshore sites considered in the

   There      are    some     major
obstructions to be considered in
                                                      Figure 25 SS Richard Montgomery
the Estuary and how best to deal
with them. The most dramatic is                       Shivering Sands Army Fort is
the SS Richard Montgomery which                     another structure remaining from
is a liberty ship which was sunk in                 the War and is sited in the area
                                       THAMES ESTUARY AIRPORT FEASIBILITY REVIEW

under        consideration.      The
Institution of Civil Engineers has in                            London Array
its    archives    details   of   its
construction for study.

       Shivering Sands Army Fort

                                                     Figure 28: London Array

                                                      The planning and designing of
                                                   the actual airport and all its
                                                   facilities    will  demand       high
                                                   standards of architecture and
                                                   engineering adopting best practice
  Figure 26: Shivering Sands Fort
                                                   and a close relationship with all the
   Kentish    Flats    Wind   Farm                 stakeholders involved.    Over the
consisting of 30 turbines has been                 last two decades British architects
operational since 2005 and is again                and      engineers   have    proved
in the area under review. However                  themselves in this field for they
the life span of these turbines has                have been responsible for many of
yet to be established.                             the new signature airports in Asia
                                                   and Europe. These same airports
                                                   regularly receive awards for the
        Kentish Flats Wind farm                    functionality and innovation as well
                                                   as their beauty.

                                                     Therefore there should not be
                                                   doubt about UK’s ability to build
                                                   this airport nor would it be an
                                                   exploration into the unknown in
                                                   world terms.
  Figure 27: Kentish Flats Wind Farm

   The London Array Wind Farm
having 341 turbines has yet to built                  The time scale for this project
although construction is due in the                depends upon approval and when
near future. However, it is thought                agreement is given to proceed but
that this is sufficiently distant not              for the purposes of this exercise it
to cause a problem.                                is assumed that agreement to the

next stage is given from 1 s t June          approval       processes       for
2010. The times allowed for each             infrastructure being introduced
step have been based on all the              may ease the situation even so, as
major projects planned or built              they stand, this is a realistic
over the last 20 years and                   approach.
therefore   may   be   considered
conservative. The new planning


Start                                                                   2010
In depth Study and consultation complete                                2013
Concept design and drafting of Bill                                     2015
Approvals                                                               2018
Detailed Planning and consents                                          2020
Construction and commissioning                                          2029
  Table 5

   Completion    by    2029    would         industry have agreed that the
appear to be compatible with the             capital cost should be contained
time London’s existing airport’s             within £40 billion including the
capacity is exceeded and a further           airport and transport links. With
airport required. If this be the case        good value engineering during the
then planning and critical studies           future stages it is quite probable
must commence in 2010.                       that this cost could be brought
                                             down. Also if integrated with other
                                             infrastructure and especially the
   The cost of the project cannot be         outer    flood   defence    barrier,
estimated in detail but several              savings would be achieved against
leading companies within the                 both projects.

  As has been suggested earlier in           through considering the principles
this   report    the   models    to          of agglomeration has now been
determine the wider economic                 accepted and agreed with HM
benefits for this type of project            Treasury.     All     the      same
have    still to    be   developed.          consideration of the economic
However, the approach which                  impact of airports will require
proved     to  be    successful  in          considerable additional analysis.
determining the merits of Crossrail
and accounting for gains achieved


   The major problem all our                   The full question of the wider
airports have in funding capital             economic benefits is not explored
works is the fact that landing               further in this report as this forms
charges and the like do not reflect          part of another commission being
market rates. Instead the industry           undertaken through the GLA and its
is regulated and it is the Regulator         Chief Economic Adviser Bridget
who determines the mechanics for             Rosewell.
charging. This has resulted in
Heathrow     having     the   lowest
landing charges in Europe.                      Notwithstanding the need to
                                             demonstrate the wider economic
                                             benefits to both the public and
  The report prepared by Colin               private sectors two of the major
Buchanan     entitled    “ECONOMIC           groups who have been involved
IMPACTS OF HUB AIRPORTS” and                 with different proposals for an
dated July 2009 was commissioned             estuary airport are keen to
and published by the British                 progress as soon as possible. They
Chambers of Commerce. This is an             also claim that sufficient funds are
excellent report and clearly defines         available not only to conduct the
the benefits of a hub airport in             proposed studies but also develop
general    rather     than   London          the entire programme as outlined
Heathrow specifically (although              in this report.
this is thought to be assumed). In
being generic the findings could be
adopted by any UK airport that                 As yet these offers have been
takes on the mantle of being the             verbal and no evidence has been
Hub Airport.                                 produced to substantiate the
                                             availability of these funds nor the
                                             terms and conditions under which
   Consideration of the economics            funding would be forthcoming.
for the Thames Estuary and the
wider      benefits      a     major
development      programme      could
achieve has yet to be undertaken.
This    would     be   needed      to
demonstrate to both the public and
private sectors in order to raise the
funds progressively to match a long
term robust programme likely to
span 30 years or longer.



    As identified in the Introduction        passenger    growth     and   future
it soon became apparent that this            capacity of London’s airports shows
report would need to be extended             a shortfall in capacity of about
beyond its original remit by taking          70mppa by 2030, even when all
proper account of all potential uses         other potential expansion is put in
for the Thames Estuary and the               place. This puts into perspective
plans other stakeholders have in             the debate on Heathrow and its
mind. Therefore a more holistic              uses as well as the need for further
approach has been taken. At the              capacity in due course.
debate held on the 15 t h July under
the chairmanship of Sir David King
it too became apparent that the                Even    if  these    figures   are
invited group of professionals from          optimistic they indicate an order of
all      walks      involved     with        magnitude that demonstrates the
Transportation and the Estuary               need for another airport by or
soon agreed that the development             before 2030.
and regeneration of the region and
the value of the Estuary as a whole
                                                Therefore the concern for the
were of prime importance. The
                                             health and safety of the citizens of
majority also saw the wisdom of
                                             London and especially those under
integrating an airport within the
                                             the flight path must be dealt with
totality     of     a    development
                                             separately and differently since the
programme.       However     although
                                             introduction of an estuary airport
those involved with regeneration of
                                             is unlikely to resolve the problem
the region were happy with this
                                             in the foreseeable future. How this
approach they made it clear that
                                             is to be done is however not the
the provision of an estuary airport
                                             subject of this review.
should not be allowed to be the
sole driver or indeed inhibit
regeneration but rather enhance its             The most important and urgent
scope.                                       need is to undertake the studies
                                             needed      to     maintain      the
                                             development        of      London’s
  The    overwhelming    evidence
                                             infrastructure and the safety of the
provided by the Department of
                                             whole Thames estuary region. This
Transport’s published figures on

may best be achieved by making               the Thames Estuary in all its forms.
climate     change      and      the         I recommend the establishment of
environment     the   drivers    and         a Thames Estuary Working Group
looking at all issues in an holistic         which would be able to debate the
study. These studies and the                 issues and consider the research
resultant plans should not be                that must be undertaken in order
subject to the 4 year political              that the best decisions can be
agenda as in the past but clearly be         taken to provide a holistic solution
devised to create a 30 year plan to          to energy, flood management,
be reviewed every 5 years.        In         transport and ecological needs as
many ways this represents a direct           well as regeneration. Such a group
parallel with the Mayor’s London             should include representation from
Plan.                                        central and local government, the
                                             Thames Gateway as well as
                                             technical experts. Although it is
   It is clear that the most                 clear    that    there    are      no
important period for London is               overwhelming      constraints      to
from 2030 to 2035 when a new                 building an airport in the Estuary,
airport has to be delivered; the             we are not yet in a position to
second Dartford Crossing has to be           decide when or how or exactly
operational; the interim flood               where it should or could be built.
defence     measures    in     place;
extensive regeneration of the
Thames Estuary region and new                  The estimated spend of this
motorways and high speed rail                organisation over the next three
connections built to serve this and          years would need to be in the
the airport.      This is a huge             order of £10m.
programme of work that at present
is not being considered holistically.
                                               Finally, I cannot emphasise
                                             enough     the    importance of
   The route to achieving this must          progressing this work.
start by bringing together the
interested parties to the uses of


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