1. ITV Report

Could London get an offshore airport?

Developers believe an offshore airport would solve London's air capacity problems. Photo: Beckett Rankine

A plan has been unveiled to turn a sandbank in the English Channel off the coast of Kent into a new airport to serve London. Maritime engineers Beckett Rankine are proposing turning the Goodwin Sands into a new airport with four runways.

A Government commission is currently looking at options to improve the capacity for air travel in the south-east - among the options being considered are expanding Heathrow and putting a new airport in the Thames Estuary.

“We believe that an offshore hub airport is the only option that can realistically provide the four new, independent runways that research reveals London needs."

– Tim Beckett, Beckett Rankine

Beckett Rankine say Goodwin Sands has enough room to build four runways and aircraft will be able to take off and land at any time during the day or night. At the moment, night flights to Heathrow are restricted because of noise concerns.

They also say that planning permission for the airport will be simpler than the other schemes because it does not involve demolishing local houses or interfere with bird breeding sites.

An artist's impression inside the planned airport. Credit: Beckett Rankine

However, building an offshore airport would require extra expense to construct transport links. Beckett Rankine believes the airport could be connected to the High Speed 1 rail link as well as the A2 and the M20.

They point out that it will not be the first time an offshore airport has been built - South Korea, Japan and Hong Kong have all built airports on the sea.

The Kansai airport in Japan was built in the middle of Osaka Bay. Credit: AP/Press Association Images

The Mayor of London’s Aviation Adviser, Daniel Moylan said the proposal was "welcome as a contribution to a critical national debate and as a demonstration that a new airport is feasible and deliverable."