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Mayor of London Boris Johnson sets out Heathrow Airport plan if Thames Estuary hub goes ahead

By Paul Francis

Boris Johnson has renewed his push for a hub airport to be built in Kent by outlining options for how Heathrow could be redeveloped if it closed.

The Mayor of London has published a report today with suggestions for how Heathrow could be redeveloped in ways that would create tens of thousands of jobs and homes.

It shows Mr Johnson is as dedicated as ever in pushing for a Thames Estuary international airport, despite it not being one of the preferred options in a crucial review of runway capacity, although it has not been totally ruled out.

An aerial image of Lord Foster's proposed Thames Hub airport at Grain

The Mayor's report sets out three key options for alternative uses should Heathrow be closed.

They are: Creating an education and technology quarter, based around two campuses, leading to 100,000 jobs;

Building a new town for 48,000 homes for 112,000 people, which would lead to 76,000 jobs and generate £9bn a year;

Building a residential quarter on the scale of Hammersmith and Fulham or Kensington and Chelsea, leading to 82,000 homes and 54,000 jobs.

The report concludes the most likely scenario for redeveloping the airport will likely be a combination of the three options considered.

It also suggests a “Heathrow City” scenario. Mr Johnson said the report, commissioned from property consultants Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL), showed how Heathrow could be transformed to meet the capital’s growing housing and employment needs.

He said: “My job as Mayor is to consider how best to face the incredible challenges posed by the unparalleled increase in population taking place in our city over the first half of this century.

"I believe there is no question that the best option for increasing our aviation capacity is now to the east of London, just as there is no question that Heathrow would then present a unique, once in a lifetime opportunity to create a new town within the capital that would supply thousands more homes and jobs.”

Economist Sir Howard Davies conducted the aviation review

“Relocating Heathrow would bring benefits to both east and west London and it is impossible to get one without the other. This report is about clearing away the smoke screen put up by people whose loyalty is to their shareholders, not to Londoners; and prompting a genuine, honest discussion about what London could achieve in a world post Heathrow airport.”

Sir Howard Davies has ordered further studies into the feasibility of a hub airport in the Thames Estuary. His government appointed commission will decide in September whether it should be added to a short-list of options to improve aviation capacity in the south east of England.

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