Comment on: New Thames vision unveiled
It is now a year since the Port of London Authority launched their Thames Vision and while I welcome the fact that the PLA had produced their document I believe that an opportunity had been missed. The PLA’s Vision is, perhaps understandably, the result of wide consultation and drafting by committee; the downside of this approach is that the end result lacks anything that could be described as ‘visionary’; the document is more akin to a business plan.
I have therefore produced an alternative Thames Vision which approaches the task from a different perspective. It starts by identifying twelve challenges that the custodians of the river face over the next 25 years. These challenges range from a successor to the Thames Barrier to river crossings in the East, plastic waste pollution and passenger and freight transportation. My Thames Vision then considers what a holistic solution to these multiple challenges might look like.
Elements of this new Vision have been proposed previously but the interconnection of the various components to provide an overarching solution to the challenges ahead is new. I believe that there are distinct advantages to be had by designing London’s future flood defences to not only do their primary job but also to facilitate bridge crossings, an increase in freight handling, enhanced passenger services and environmental improvement of the river. I hope that this new Thames Vision will prompt debate about the benefits that might be achieved from adopting a holistic view of the river’s future. My alternative Thames Vision can be found at www.thamesvision.com
Comment on: Should Gatwick become London's hub?
If we are planning for the next 30 years, as we need to be, then south-east England will require a 4 runway hub airport. Having a split hub between two airports is inefficient and therefore an unattractive proposition for the airlines; they will take their hub operations elsewhere. The options are therefore to progressively expand Heathrow up to 4 runways or to relocate the hub to a location where 4 runways can be more comfortably accommodated. Gatwick is not the answer.
The Foster/Halcrow Thames Estuary proposal is also not ideal since the site is constrained by shipping channels so the runway separation is insufficient to allow independent runway operation.
The options are limited but I believe there is an alternative that is deliverable. 3D Reid and Beckett Rankine will be launching a detailed scheme proposal in June.