Consultant Halcrow and architect Foster+Partners have been collaborating on a self-funded £100,000 study to produce a vision for a Thames Hub involving rail freight connections, a 150M passenger airport, a tidal energy barrage and a new flood protection barrier.
The vision spans the next 50 years and echoes previous work heralded by London mayor Boris Johnson on plans for redeveloping the Thames Estuary including a new island airport. Former ICE President Doug Oakervee and architect Sir Terry Farrell have both been spearheading this work.
The Halcrow/Foster+Partners and an initial assessment of the proposals will be formally released next month and is supported by renowned economist Bridget Rosewell, chairman of Volterra Consulting and founder member of The Thames Estuary Research and Development Company.
“These visionary proposals are far from future fantasy,” said founder and chairman of Foster+Partners Lord Foster. “They are both essential and down to earth.
“When you look at the eastwards thrust of London’s infrastructure, with the Channel Tunnel and the Olympics, you can see how it would be possible to create a 24-hour airport. This move would greatly improve the quality of life for Londoners by reducing pollution and improving security. It would also allow London to compete with rapidly expanding airports in Europe and the Middle East. The arguments are extraordinarily persuasive and the precedents are also compelling. More than 10 years ago Hong Kong built what was then the world’s largest airport at Chek Lap Kok, an island reclaimed from the sea - in just four years.”
“The Thames Hub would provide a major economic boost for Kent and Essex, with the creation of hundreds of thousands of jobs over a number of years and provide noise and air pollution relief for London’s population,” said Halcrow group board director David Kerr. “The proposals would make a significant contribution to the UK’s commitment to reduce carbon emissions.
“If the UK is to remain globally competitive, these proposals need to be seriously considered.”