Miranda Dobson

Member Article

Kent offshore airport plans revealed by engineering firm

Plans to build a four runway hub airport on the Goodwin Sands near Kent have been released by the engineering firm, Beckett Rankine.

The £39bn proposal has received backing from Boris Johnson’s aviation advisor, Daniel Moylan, and Beckett Rankine said the plans are “the sustainable answer to south-east England’s airport needs” on the project’s dedicated website.

Goodwin Sands is a sandbank off the east coast of Kent, approximately 3 km away from the mainland.

This announcement comes after continued debate around third runway proposals at Heathrow, and a day after the Institute of Directors urged the Government to go ahead with plans that were vital for the UK economy.

The engineering firm said the location would be ideal for four runways spread 1.5 km apart, and transport links to London would also be very practical, with high-speed trains into the centre via the existing HS1 line.

Road access to the M20 and A2, and Eurostar connections to Europe would also make the spot ideal for connections, according to the firm.

Based in London, Beckett Rankine specialises in planning, design and project management of marine infrastructure, and the firm has boasted of several groundbreaking projects in the past.

Batting off environmentalist criticism, the company said the proposals will not impact on any protected environments or get in the way of any shipping lanes, while it was also highlighted that, unlike the Thames Estuary, this site is not a bird breeding area.

The airport’s construction will also avoid demolishing any wind farm sites or housing areas, while flights will be able to arrive and depart 24 hours a day, because planes will come in over water rather than over residential areas.

Tim Beckett, director of Beckett Rankine, commented: “We believe that an offshore hub airport is the only option that can realistically provide the four new, independent runways that research reveals London needs.

“If the Davies Commission endorses the long-term requirement for a new, four runway hub airport for London, then locating it at Goodwin will have the least adverse social and environmental impact of any option.It is certainly the most sustainable solution available.”

Boris Johnson’s aviation advisor, Mr Moylan added: “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.”

Mr Beckett highlighted that countries elsewhere are adopting the offshore airport strategy, particularly if they are crowded island nations such as South Korea and Hong Kong.

He continued: “Since the 1970s there have been several proposals for locating a new airport in the Thames Estuary. These include proposals for Cliffe and Lord Foster’s plans at the Isle of Grain.

“All the sites within the estuary have significant disadvantages. Each proposal is located in at least one internationally designated, environmentally sensitive area. “All the sites either interfere with shipping lanes or else are too small to provide four runways sufficiently spaced for independent operation.

“The land connected sites do not provide take-off and landing over water which ought to be the principal benefit of a new offshore airport since it enables 24-hour operations, maximising utilisation of the airport. Goodwin Airport has none of these disadvantages.”

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Miranda Dobson .

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