The return of Boris Island: New idea for Thames Estuary airport put to aviation review
High-speed trains would
link Ebbsfleet station to the new airport
by Rebecca Hughes
A new airport with at least five runways could be built on an
island in the Thames Estuary in almost the same time it would take
to build a third runway at Heathrow, according to proposals
submitted in a government aviation review.
The site off the Kent coast could handle 150 to 160 million
passengers a year - more than double the current capacity of
Heathrow - and have the potential to add a sixth runway.
The proposal, submitted to the aviation review, is based on the
original "Boris Island" proposal and is now set to be the main
rival to a plan by Lord Foster for a giant airport on the Isle of
The plan has been drawn up by Bridget Rosewell, former economic
adviser to the Greater London Authority under Mayor Boris Johnson
and Ken Livingstone, his predecessor.
Under Ms Rosewell's plan, the main terminal for the airport
would be at Ebbsfleet, from where passengers would travel in a
high-speed train through a tunnel to the airport.
It is estimated to cost £49billion, falling to £39.5bn if the
railway goes partially overland.
The airport is predicted to take seven to eight years to
build, enabling the airport to open in 2025. A third runway at
Heathrow is likely to take only a year less.
Ms Rosewell told a national newspaper: "If the decision was made
to go ahead and do this then construction within that time period
would be perfectly feasible. The decision to do it is much more
difficult than the implementation."
Lord Foster wants to
build a hub airport on the Isle of Grain
The government established an independent commission to tackle
the issue of the country's aviation capacity earlier this year.
Led by economist Sir Howard Davies, it is due to issue interim
findings by the end of next year and a final report in 2015.
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