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Additional analysis needed on Estuary airport proposals

The challenges remain, but the potential benefits, especially in relation to noise and regeneration, appear stronger than for other new hub sites.

We have therefore stated that we will carry out additional analysis of these options, looking not just at the proposal from the Mayor but also those from private sector promoters, to properly understand some of the implications of a new hub airport at those sites.

– Sir Howard Davies, Airports Commission

Airports Commission boss sees benefits in Estuary scheme

The Thames Estuary Credit: Steve Parsons/PA Archive

The head of the Whitehall-appointed Airports Commission has indicated that the idea of a "Boris Island" new Thames Estuary airport is still very much under consideration.

Last December, the commission chairman Sir Howard Davies described the estuary plan, supported by London Mayor Boris Johnson, as "imaginative" with the cost possibly as high as £112 billion.

The estuary option did not make the commission's new-runway shortlist published in December, although the commission said it would further study the estuary plan.

But in an interview with the Business Travel News publication due out on Monday, Sir Howard speaks of the possible benefits of an estuary scheme.


Boris: new plans show expanding Heathrow would be 'folly'

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.”

– Boris Johnson, Mayor of London

Rival airport plan unveiled for 'Boris Island'

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.

How 'London Britannia' airport would look from above Credit: Testrad
A view of the proposed terminals and runways Credit: Testrad
How the airport would be set out on the inside Credit: Testrad
How the inside of the airport would look Credit: Testrad
Ideas for how the airport could be accessed from different areas of the capital Credit: Testrad

Seal numbers can 'help with conservation'

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.



New photos of 138 metre cranes from China on Thames

Three cranes
Huge new cranes arrive at The London Gateway Credit: Derek Johnson

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.

London Gateway cranes
Three new cranes close up Credit: Derek Johnson
Artist's impression of the completed London Gateway
Artist's impression of the completed London Gateway Credit: London Gateway
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