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Terry Farrell appointed to estuary airport group

  • 4 Comments

Terry Farrell has been appointed to the Thames Estuary Airport Steering Group in a bid to make Mayor of London Boris Johnson’s dream of a floating airport become reality.

The panel, which is chaired by former government chief scientist David King, will conduct a detailed study into proposals to build artificial islands off the coast of Kent to house a sister airport to Heathrow.

Farrell said: ‘I have supported the mayor’s airport initiative as it brings together highly experienced individuals who could help form and lead this debate, though I believe that whether there is a new estuary airport or not is only one part of this bigger view.’

The group will look at the feasibility of constructing an artificial island to host two runways – similar to Hong Kong’s Chek Lap Kok airport – as well as high-speed rail links from London to the new hub.

It is anticipated that the creation of an airport in the estuary, including associated infrastructure, would cost in the region of £40 billion and current plans suggest it could be finished by 2030.

Farrell, who is also the mayor’s design champion for the Thames Gateway, has already proposed his own outer island scheme for the region, which includes an elaborate road crossing between Sheerness, the Isle of Grain and the Isle of Sheppey in Kent.

Farrell added: ‘The mayor’s initiative also enables the debate on the estuary’s broader planning to be enhanced in relation to the private sector investment in climate change issues, the future of shipping and ports, major road and rail links as well as my long-standing interest in the estuary as an exemplar of environmental, ecological and landscape planning.’

  • 4 Comments

Readers' comments (4)

  • Friends of the North Kent Marshes are wholly opposed to the construction of an airport anywhere in the Thames Estuary because of the immense damage it would cause to the area’s internationally important wildlife and the wider environment.The whole issue was exhaustively investigated between 2002 and 2005 in the Government’s Aviation White Paper. All the key players, including the aviation industry, contributed. The idea of an airport in the Thames Estuary (not just at Cliffe) was conclusively ruled out and upheld by the High Court. In addition to the unprecedented environmental damage and the resulting massive legal implications, the investigation found that an estuary airport did not make sense economically, would not meet the requirements of the aviation industry and presented a significantly higher risk of ‘bird strike’ than at any other major airport in the UK. It would potentially be the single biggest piece of environmental vandalism ever perpetrated in the UK. The Government would have to recreate any lost or damaged habitat elsewhere BEFORE work on the airport could start and even then only if they could prove there is no alternative site for the expansion and it is in the overriding public interest. They would face a legal battle, which could last for years.

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  • Before any airport should be constructed there needs to be a convincing argument to show that it will be used by the industry and currently the aviation industry is full square against this idea for a number of reasons.

    As an exercise in problem solving this project has it all from the natural barriers of wild life and weather to made made barriers such as the ship full of unexploded munitions equivilant to 2800 unexploded V1's. Then you have the environmental barriers such as the need to remove a windfarm to utilise the site and the untold damage to the sea floor in the area especially if the idea of tidal generation is incorporated.

    Clearly the planners of this airport are not familiar with a hub and spoke model of aviation operations otherwise they would realise that this only works if passengers can interchange between flights to all destinations so keeping Heathrow and the Thames open as hubs would never work. If Heathrow does not close to transfer traffic and hence long haul operations there will be direct competition between the airports with the most popular winning out.

    One only needs to look at the experiance of Montréal-Mirabel airport which was constructed to replace the prexisting hub of Dorval. This airport became a very expensive white elephant as it was located too far from the city and had inadequite transport connections to the area. An airport in the Thames would need to find a solution to relocating the passengers as smoothly as possible from the rest of the country to the airport situated behind Londons bottlenecks.

    Anyone from the area will know that the transport links to Southend and the North Kent areas are far from adiquite to cope with the volumes that would wish to use the surviving UK hub. As a Highspeed train provides just 250 seats, the predictions of demand growth would suggest that in addition to road improvements the airport would need to be served by one high speed train every three minutes.

    The report by Douglas Oakervee highlights that the area will be populated by windfarms. He stares in his review that the Kentish Flats windfarm would have to go due to the physical barrier to aviation and construction at his prefered location but states that the London array would be far enough away. I assume from this that he not aware of CAP XXX or the NTIA Technical Report TR-08-454 which highlights that if your radar is 50 feet from the ground and your wind turbine is 300 feet tall, you need a minimum seperation distance of 34.4 miles inorder to avoid false radar imaging and distortions in the radar and hence landing systems. This distance would mean you not only have to remove the Fentish Flats array but also the London array, the Deltain wind farm and the Thanet windfarm.

    If aircraft controllers cannot see where the aircraft are going on radar, the passengers are going to have problems getting to the airport from Wales and the Midlands and the take off route is streight into a migration path for the local avian communitee I cannot see this airport appealing to airlines.

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  • am i mssing something here, or haven't we just undertaken to reduce our emissions of CO2 by at least 38% by 2020 and 80% by 2050? how does yet more flying fit into that?

    these targets are not random pronouncements from a bunch of eco-warriors they are minima to avoid catastrophic climate change that would cause the premature deaths of billions as well as render a great proportion of the planet basically uninhabitable.

    or is this airport needed to fly in the huge numbers of climate change refugees we'll be taking as it will be our inability to wean ourselves of cheap flights that will necessitate them leaving their homes?

    terry what are you thinking of?

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  • by 2020 the cost of aviation fuel will be so high that flying will be for the very rich only - thus coming to an end as it began.

    So there is certainly no need either for another runway at Heathrow NOR for "Boris Airport".

    Nobody has yet taken serious my own proposal for a high-speed circular train system linking all of London's 5 existing airports with a max. 30 min. transit time from one to another, thus in effect creating one enormous hub.

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