Goodwin Sands airport off east Kent coast would 'boost entente cordiale'
Engineers at Beckett
Rankine unveiled plans for a £39billion airport off the east
Kent coast on Goodwin Sands
by business editor Trevor Sturgess
Plans for a hub airport on the Goodwin Sands have been promoted
in France as a great way of boosting the cross-Channel economy and
forging closer links between Kent and northern France.
Representatives of maritime engineering firm Beckett Rankine
were in Calais on Friday to explain the thinking behind the
£39 billion proposal for the east Kent coast.
It is competing for government support with the Mayor of
London's controversial ideas for an estuary airport off Medway or a
land-based alternative on the Isle of Grain. All schemes are being
considered by the Davies review of airport capacity in the south
east due to report in 2015.
The latest proposal is for an airport on the Goodwin Sands 3km
east of the Kent coast and 30km north-west of Calais.
"Goodwin Airport" would be connected directly to the Channel
Tunnel, providing a fast connection to Calais and the European high
speed rail network. There would also be a 40-minute high-speed rail
connection to London, road access via the A2 and M20, and ferry
services that already serve Dover, Ramsgate, Calais and
Beckett Rankine director Tim Beckett (pictured right) said:
"While much of the airport debate has been dictated by local
political issues the time is now right for the nation to take a
broader view and to consider the wider benefits that a new hub
airport can deliver, if it is built in the right location.
"Goodwin Airport, with its close proximity to France and the
Channel Tunnel, has the unique potential to bring economic growth
and regeneration to both sides of the English Channel.
"Goodwin Airport would be a flagship for cross-border
co-operation and integration. It would also give northern Europe
the best hub airport in the world."
He added: "Current proposals for a new airport in the Thames
estuary have encountered equal resistance from environmentalists
and local residents.
"Locating an airport at Goodwin will have the least
environmental impact of any option. It is the most sustainable
solution available. The economic benefit of the airport will
therefore spread well beyond east Kent to northern France and
The Mayor of London's aviation adviser Daniel Moylan said the
proposal was a welcome contribution to the national debate.
"The arguments for the construction of a new hub airport in the
UK are overwhelming and this proposal offers one option of how to
build it. We now urgently need to recognise that a new hub airport
is the answer to our aviation capacity problems and press ahead
with considering the best way to deliver that airport."