The developer behind proposals for a four-runway hub airport on the Goodwin Sands says the plans remain a possibility despite being dropped from an eagerly-awaited aviation report.
Martime engineers Beckett Rankine will not scrap their £39bn scheme even though the plans were dismissed by the Airports Commission just before Christmas.
An artist's impression of the landing strip at Goodwin Sands. Picture: Tim Rankine
The interim report, led by Sir Howard Davies, said the idea “has fewer benefits than those proposals based on a similar strategic case for an off-shore site in the outer Estuary”. The paper shortlisted new runways at Heathrow and Gatwick as ways to deliver the aviation capacity needed in the South East by 2030.
It also said plans for a four-runway hub airport on the Isle of Grain in Medway will be investigated further.
Delivered earlier this month, the report also criticised the Goodwin Sands option’s distance from London, 71 miles from the captial and two miles off the coast of Deal.
Yet Beckett Rankine director Tim Beckett says his company will not bin the plans just yet.
He said: “It is possible that Gatwick and Heathrow will once again prove to be undeliverable politically, in which case, an alternative will be required.
A planner's dream... the proposed terminal
“Campaigners at both Heathrow and Gatwick have seen off additional runways in the past and proved formidable opponents.
“Goodwin Sands remains there as an option. We had hoped it would be shortlisted because then it would have been possible to raise funding to carry out further studies and design development.”
Mr Beckett also criticised the Davies Commission for being too safe.
He said: “It is very much a technicians report and it lacks vision.
"The one disadvantage of Goodwin is that it is further from London than many other options.
'It does serve better as a northern Europe hub. I don’t think the wider benefits to Europe featured as a consideration in the Davies report.'
“But it does serve better as a northern Europe hub. I don’t think the wider benefits to Europe featured as a consideration in the Davies report. It was very much a London-centred study and I don’t think anyone was surprised that he came up with Heathrow and Gatwick.
“But we are dealing with a very complicated problem to find a site for new runway capacity in the densely populated South East and I don’t think the commission has exhibited much vision, if any.
“They have gone for the obvious choices. No one would dispute these are the quickest and cheapest solutions but they also face considerable political difficulties.”