London Mayor proposes alternatives to Heathrow

15 July 2013 (Last Updated July 15th, 2013 18:30)

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson has proposed building a new four-runway hub airport in the east or north of the UK capital as an alternative to Heathrow.

Thames Estuary airport hub

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson has proposed building a new four-runway hub airport in the east or north of the UK capital as an alternative to Heathrow.

Johnson has also proposed three possible locations for the hub airport include at outer estuary airport off the Kent coast, dubbed 'Boris Island', built entirely on reclaimed land, an inner estuary on the Isle of Grain, as well as the expansion of Stansted Airport in Essex.

He has also proposed that UK government should buy Heathrow Airport for £15bn and turn the airport site into a housing and commercial scheme.

Boris Johnson's chief adviser on aviation Daniel Moylan said that Heathrow can never solve the city's transport problems and studies show that UK capital will be better off with a new site.

"The immense noise, pollution and congestion that would result from expanding an airport located in the heart of our suburbs would potentially devastate the greatest city in the world," Moylan said.

"Whereas the three potential sites for a new hub airport portray a compelling vision for the infrastructure, the economy and the international competitiveness that London and the wider UK could benefit from if we take the clear opportunities that are in front of us.

"A new airport would be accompanied by world-class public transport connectivity, it would have the resilience to withstand the worst the UK's weather has to offer; and it would have the capacity to save you from being stranded in a never ending spiral of aircraft over the suburbs."

According to an analysis released by the Mayor, the new hub airport would support over 375,000 new jobs by 2050 and add £742bn to the value of goods and services manufactured in the UK.

Johnson also suggested that 1,220ha Heathrow site should be turned into housing area, which could host 100,000 homes to ease national housing shortage.

"Ambitious cities all over the world are already stealing a march on us and putting themselves in a position to eat London's breakfast, lunch and dinner by constructing mega airports that plug them directly into the global supply chains that we need to be part of," Johnson added.

"Those cities have moved heaven and earth to locate their airports away from their major centres of population, in areas where they have been able to build airports with four runways or more.

"Heathrow can never solve the city's transport problems and studies show that UK capital will be better off with a new site."

"For London and the wider UK to remain competitive we have to build an airport capable of emulating that scale of growth.

"Anyone who believes there would be the space to do that at Heathrow, which already blights the lives of hundreds of thousands of Londoners, is quite simply crackers."

A four-runway hub airport is expected to allow the capital to reach the global emerging markets and would also quadruple destinations being served by London in China and South America, and add a further 50% destinations in the US.

According to the Mayor, a new hub airport could be built by 2029, with a hybrid bill being passed by parliament for the approval to build the airport, the surface access and the acquisition of Heathrow.

Foster + Partners has already unveiled the master plan for hub airport on the Isle of Grain in Kent and expects the cost of the plan at around £50bn, while architect Make revealed another plan for a new four-runway plan for Stansted Airport.

UK government has appointed the Davies Commission to assess the airport plan in the country, which would publish an interim report in December 2013, with final conclusions to be revealed in 2015, following the next general election.


Image: Foster + Partners' master plan for four-runway hub airport on Isle of Grain in Kent.