London Mayor Boris Johnson has given his blessing to the new six-runway option for a Thames Estuary airport, saying:
“This is further welcome argument in favour of the feasibility of having a new hub airport in the Thames estuary.
With so many options available for a multi-runway hub airport in a new location, it would be folly for the Airports Commission to give countenance to the prospect of expanding Heathrow, the most noise-polluting airport in Europe.”
A new plan for an airport on the Thames Estuary has been unveiled - with six runways instead of the four originally proposed.
Plans for a Thames Estuary solution to London's airport capacity problems have been dubbed 'Boris Island' after the Mayor expressed his support for them.
The plans have been drawn up by Testrad - the consortium set up by the Mayor to look at Thames Estuary proposals. The new airport would be called 'London Britannia' and sit on a purpose build island off the Isle of Sheppey in Kent.
There are around 500 harbour seals and 200 of the larger grey seals in the Thames Estuary, according to the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) said.
ZSL's conservation scientist Joanna Barker said:
We knew there were a lot of seals in the Thames but 708 is pretty incredible.
In previous results there's been a good few hundred in the Thames, but it's great to have a figure we can use as a baseline.
Now we know the numbers and where they are, it can help with conservation.
It's a really good indicator because the seals are the top predators in the marine food chain, and it shows that the marine environment is relatively good and is producing enough food for the seals to eat.
Three new giant cranes have arrived from China into the new deep-sea port in the Thames Estuary. The site is near Stanford le-Hope in Essex. The quay cranes which are taller than the London Eye measure 138 metres in height - two and a half times the height of Nelson's column in Trafalgar Square.
The cranes will be used to lift containers from big ships onto the shore. The LOndon Gateway is due to open at the end of 2013. When complete, its owners say it could bring 36,000 jobs to the economy.
The cranes are taller than the London Eye, weigh 1,848 tons each, will reach across 25 rows of containers on a vessel and can lift up to 80 tons at a time.
Why so large?
London Gateway will be handling the world’s largest container ships, operated by shipping lines to provide economies of scale and reduce environmental impact on the main shipping trade lanes. That means lower cost and lower carbon supply chains for retailers and other cargo owners.
And the future?
The 25-box outreach takes the cranes beyond the width of the world’s largest container ship. “The size of the cranes future-proofs the port, allowing London Gateway to handle the next generation of ultra large container ships,” says London Gateway operations director Tim Halhead.
Business leaders have called for a decision on the future of London's airports to be speeded up. They say uncertainty over the proposed hub airport in the Thames Estuary is detrimental to Heathrow and UK Plc's ability to compete in international markets.
A Government report on aviation policy isn't due until summer 2015