London mayor Boris Johnson’s island airport plan was blasted today by an expert as “stark raving bonkers”.
Architect David Nixon, who can count among former clients NASA, the European Space Agency, British Aerospace and the lead US center for robotic exploration of the solar system the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said those putting forward the plan had their own “agenda” and that London didn’t need another airport.
The latest plans for the Thames Hub, a £50bn integrated airport, rail, power, flood defence and communications vision for the Thames Estuary, were revealed in November by a consortium led by consultant Halcrow and architect Foster & Partners.
“It’s an absolutely stark raving bonkers of an idea,” said Nixon. “London has five airports and if they were properly planned and operated there would be no need for it,” he said, adding that it was important to conserve remaining green spaces to maintain the quality of life for Londoners.
Nixon was speaking at a lecture From earth to water: the sustainability of floating habitats at the Ecobuild exhibition being hosted at London Dockland’s Excel Centre.
He is a keen advocate of floating dwellings and argued that large infrastructure projects could in theory work as floating projects - but that building the Thames Estuary airport project as a floating structure was a “non starter”. Authorities in San Diego have already looked at creating a floating airport but abandoned the idea due to the huge costs.
Nixon’s comments came a day after chancellor George Osborne said it was time to “confront” the lack of airport capacity in south east England and committed transport secretary Justine Greening to setting out options later this summer.