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Foster to present Thames Hub airport plans to Davies Commission

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Norman Foster will submit his four-runway Thames Estuary mega hub airport to the Howard Davies-led investigation into UK airport capacity

Foster’s self-funded proposal for the Isle of Grain is one of several proposals to emerge in the past two years following pressure on the government to increase air capacity in the south east.

The starchitects’ £33 billion proposal replaces London’s existing Heathrow hub with a new facility east of the capital linked by high speed rail to the Midlands and continent.

In a statement, Foster and Partners said the 150 million passenger-capacity design would ‘largely eliminate the environmental, noise and security problems of aircraft over-flying London into Heathrow.’

Norman Foster claimed decisive action was needed in planning airport capacity to keep Britain competitive.

He said: ‘We believe that a new four-runway Thames Estuary airport can best provide the connectivity and future flexibility that Britain desperately needs, while improving the lives of the millions of Londoners blighted by Heathrow’s flight path.’

The practice added the vision had been refined in consultation with legal, planning and economic experts following its initial 2011 launch.

It said: ‘The ongoing study has addressed airport design and airspace issues; a geotechnical assessment; costs and potential funding models; construction, planning and delivery; surface access; ports and shipping; hydropower generation; and analysis of economic, environmental, social and safety impacts.’

The government was criticised for delaying its decision on couth eastern airport capacity by setting up the Davies Commission which will make recommendations after the next election.

Rival proposals include Make’s four runway expansion vision for Stansted, Weston William’s proposal to expand Luton and Gensler’s floating airport proposal for the Thames Estuary.

Make has also expressed intent to the Airports Commission to submit proposals on behalf of a multi-disciplinary team.

Last month, Boris Johnson appointed Zaha Hadid, Atkins and Pascall and Watson to a feasibility study for an artificial Thames island airport – a proposal known as Boris Island.

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