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Friday01 August 2014

Foster & Partners defends estuary airport plans

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Farrells says investment should be incremental

Foster & Partners has defended its plans to build a new airport in the Thames Estuary, saying it would be a mistake to abandon the plan in order to make incremental investments in existing infrastructure.

Speaking at an airports briefing at New London Architecture last week Huw Thomas, partner at Foster & Partners, said: “We have worked on three of London’s four airports and believe there’s no answer at any of them for extra capacity.

“Our firm belief is you need a next generation faculty, it’s not about incremental building and wasting money building on previous investments.”

He said if the future of airport capacity was not properly addressed, then the UK’s hubs could go into decline like London’s docks. “We need to stop happened with the docks moving across to countries like Belgium,” he said.

Foster + Partners proposal for a new Thames estuary airport.

Foster + Partners proposal for a new Thames estuary airport.

But Neil Bennett, partner at Farrells, argued that the UK should not focus on “any one solution” and instead take a piece-meal approach.

“We have to talk about capacity and connectivity,” he said. “It’s disappointing it’s not the politicians having this debate.”

The news comes as leading business organisation, the Institute of Directors, backed plans to build two extra runways at Heathrow Airport.

In a survey of 1,000 members, 27% backed the idea of expanding the west London hub compared to 13% who favoured a new hub in the Thames Estuary.

Meanwhile, the mayor of London Boris Johnson this week backed a study for extra capacity at Stansted Airport. A four-runway solution was proposed by Make Architects earlier this year.

Howard Davies’ ongoing independent inquiry into the UK’s airport capacity is due to report in the summer of 2015.

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Readers' comments (5)

  • As usual, all this macho waffle about airport expansion, extra capacity, hubs and the like seems to exist in its own little bubble completely unaffected by concepts like global warming and peak oil.

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  • I dont know about this matter, but here in Brazil the work of them is just a mistake!. If you know a bit of portuguese please read it. http://economia.uol.com.br/ultimas-noticias/redacao/2012/12/18/donald-trump-anuncia-no-rio-construcao-do-maior-conjunto-comercial-do-pais.jhtm
    The landscape of Rio you see from will be changed, and the circulation of air too. This is a legislation problem, but this group will contribute for it! Ana

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  • I'm no estuarologist, but surely narrowing a huge tidal body of water by that significant a degree will have huge knock-on effects? After all, look at the difference building the Embankment made.

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  • Can't see why expanding regional airports such as Birmingham and Manchester or Glasgow are never considered - they tend to be far better connected to rail and road links and the properity that these airports bring would surely be better spread around?

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  • With our 'beloved' Government looking to erode the European legislation on environmental impact assessment the project regrettably stands more chance of success....

    What a great idea - when global warming is generally predicted build an airport at sea level !!

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