New Thames estuary airport mooted to rival ‘Boris Island’

A new airport in the Thames estuary is the only practical way to meet rising demand for air travel in the south-east, it is claimed today.

Bridget Rosewell (pictured), former economic adviser to the Greater London Authority, says she has “worked up” Mayor Boris Johnson’s ‘island airport’ plans.

She says a five or six-runway hub, linked to Ebbsfleet rail station, would eliminate noise and minimise traffic.

The Thames Estuary airport, being called London Jubilee International Airport, would be able to handle around 150 million passengers a year – more than double Heathrow’s current capacity – and is estimated to cost up to £50 billion.

Rosewell, who runs an economic analysis partnership and holds a number of non-executive directorships, believes it would not take much longer to build than a third runway at Heathrow, the BBC reported.

She says an estuary hub could be built within eight years and be open by 2025 – only a year or so later than a third Heathrow runway would be expected to be operational.

A key element of the scheme is that the airport terminal would be at Ebbsfleet railway station, which has a high-speed link to London and the continent.

Rosewall said: “Here is a proposition which would allow you to have as large an airport as you would want or need. And there would be no noise over Kent because the noise footprint would be over the water.”

She plans to submit her initial proposals to the Davies UK airport capacity review.

But a substantially enlarged version of Johnson’s vision for an island airport will inevitably run into the same sort of opposition that his – and architect Sir Norman Foster’s similar plans for the Isle of Grain – have already encountered,

Kent County Council has dubbed Johnson’s plans unviable and unrealistic while Medway Council it would would blight local communities and wants the extra demand to be met through expansion of existing airports.

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