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Article from BTNews 7 NOVEMBER 2011

Lord Foster’s Thames Hub

Perhaps the most experienced airport architect in the world, with a string of successful projects behind him (Beijing, Frankfurt, Hong Kong and Stansted to start with), Lord Foster, together with partners Halcrow and Volterra, have come up with their own ideas for an integrated transport hub on the Isle of Grain east of London.  Inevitably opposition groups have raised their heads but it is inconceivable that such a qualified team would not have considered all the construction and environmental problems involved.  Lord Foster claimed that 60 people had worked for two years on the project.

Whether the £50bn (£20bn for the airport) plan will receive the backing of a cautious airline industry remains to be seen.  Tim Clark of Emirates is much in favour whilst Lord Glendonbrook (Michael Bishop) is against, and with Willie Walsh he is non-committal, a policy of wait and see.

The Foster scheme is based on a four-runway airport, high-speed rail links to the Midlands and north, the M4 corridor and the Continent, plus a new Thames Barrier.  A 15-year project is envisaged. 

Foster’s is an engineering design rather than an airline scheme.  The Greater London Council will publish its (political) ideas in a couple of weeks’ time. www.fosterandpartners.com www.halcrow.com www.volterra.co.uk

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