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NCE Daily News update Thursday 10 April: Think tank calls for London City airport closure

A think tank has issued a report in which it makes the dramatic call for the closure of London City airport in the East End, in favour of reclaiming the land area in Docklands.

The New Economics Foundation think tank has produced a report calling for the closure of London’s City airport.

Calling for a revival of the Royal Docks area, the think tank said that the airport occupies “a large and valuable strip of land at the heart of London”.

It said instead a set of sustainable design principles should be established to create a new neighborhood in the area, which has suffered from economic woes.

“Does it make sense to locate an airport in such precious inner-city space?” asked the report. “What if we reclaimed this historic site and built a new neighbourhood, incorporating the best thinking about sustainable urban design?”

It argues that the imminent arrival of Crossrail and its connectivity to other airports could negate the need for London City.

“The new East-West railway across the capital will slash journey times between the City and Canary Wharf and other London airports, ending the need for an airport in the East,” said the think tank. “It will allow City workers to travel from Liverpool Street to Heathrow in just half an hour (only 5 minutes longer than their current journey to London City airport). In essence, it will create the opportunity to reclaim the airport for London and the local community and meet the needs of the City.”

 

The UK’s electricity grid can cope with one fifth of energy being generated by wind power without significant upgrades to the system, according to a report published today by the Royal Academy of Engineering.

However, more than a 20% contribution will strain the grid and longer term planning will be needed to fully decarbonise energy, it said.

The Academy produced its report to assess the potential for wind energy to contribute to meeting the government’s targets of providing 15% of the UK’s energy from renewable sources by 2020 and cutting 80% of greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

The Academy’s working group on wind energy considered all three aspects of the energy “trilemma” - security, cost and decarbonisation, which generated the findings.

“As I have learned in the course of this study, the issues raised by wind energy are many, novel and complex,” said working group chairman John Trewby. “Wind energy has emerged as the first variable renewable generating technology to be deployed at scale on our electricity system. It elicits strong feelings and the debate has become very polarised. We felt that the Academy could make a useful contribution by setting out the engineering characteristics of the technology and exploring the implications of increasing the amount of wind energy on the electricity system.”

The report makes several recommendations to government and industry on the necessary steps to increase the use of wind power and other renewables in the energy mix, including:

  • Quick implementation of the Electricity Market Reform and clarity on the overall costs and benefits of generating energy from wind versus fossil fuels.
  • A long-term and clear trajectory in government plans for decarbonisation of the electricity sector, to form part of the next Carbon Budget.
  • A true partnership between government and industry in the planning of the interventions needed to decarbonise the UK energy system.
  • Government and industry must engage with the public and lay out the impact and benefits of more wind power. More power from wind will require more and bigger turbines which will impact on local communities and business.

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