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Plans for Thames Estuary airport unveiled

Thursday, 3 November 2011 12:06 PM

New plans to build an airport in the Thames Estuary – capable of handling 150 million passengers – have been unveiled today by noted architect Lord Norman Foster, the man behind London Stansted and Wembley stadium.

The airport would be located on the Isle of Grain in Kent and would have high-speed rail connections to central London, the Midlands and Northern England as well as continental Europe via the construction of a railway station which would be the busiest in the UK, handling 300,000 passengers a day.

Lord Foster's project is for an airport with four runways, capable of handling 150m passengers a year, three times the capacity of Heathrow. It would be connected to London by high-speed rail, which would take 30-minutes.

His plans were unveiled in the same week that both the coalition government and the Labour Party ruled out any possibility of a third runway for Heathrow, despite claims that a lack of capacity in the South East will stifle economic growth.

London’s main airports are expected to reach full capacity in 2030 and Boris Johnson, London mayor, declared his support for Lord Foster's plans.

Lord Foster said his project would deliver lasting social, environmental and economic benefits and improve the lives of the five million people who live under the Heathrow flight path.

"We need to recapture the foresight and political courage of our 19th century forebears if we are to establish a modern transport and energy infrastructure in Britain for this century and beyond," he added.

However it is likely the plan will be opposed by residents in Kent. Johnson's original plan for an airport in the Thames Estuary, known as "Boris Island", was ruled out as an option by prime minister David Cameron last year.

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