Site of new London airport slammed
15 / 04 / 2012
ARCHITECTS of a proposed airport near London have chosen the “very worst spot”, according to the head of the national air traffic control services (NATS).
Richard Deakin, chief executive officer of NATS, says the placement of the £50bn (US$79bn) airport – to the east of London on the edge of the Thames Estuary – puts it directly below where the flight paths for four of the city’s five airports cross over.
Deakin adds: “The very worst spot you could put an airport is just about here. We’re a little surprised that none of the architects thought it worthwhile to [come to us for] a little chat.”
The airport’s proximity to Amsterdam Airport Schiphol would also affect traffic patterns and require more circuitous flight paths thereby increasing carbon emissions at a time when the industry is trying to cut them.
In addition, the local area already has a high risk of bird strikes from the nearby wetlands, which would only increase with additional aircraft.
The Thames Hub Airport comes after fierce criticism by locals living near London Heathrow against a proposed third runway. It is designed to ease congestion to London Heathrow Airport and the other smaller airports in the southeast of England. The airport would incorporate a £6bn ($9.5bn) new Thames barrier crossing and a £20bn ($31.6bn) four-track, high-speed passenger and freight orbital railway 30 minutes from London, as well as new roads to serve an airport with four runways capable of handling approximately 150 million passengers and 10 million metric tonnes of cargo every year.
The proposal involves building the airport on a platform, like those at Hong Kong’s Chek Lap Kok and Qatar’s New Doha International Airport. This would allow flights to take off and land over water, reducing noise and so potentially allowing the airport to operate 24 hours a day.