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An ambitious plan to build a £39 billion airport off the Kent coast to serve London was unveiled on Wednesday.
The four-runway airport, capable of handling 150 million passengers a year, would be built 1.8 miles off Deal on the east coast of Kent, on the Goodwin Sands in the English Channel.
The project has been welcomed by London Mayor Boris Johnson and will be among schemes considered by the Davies Commission which is due to report to Whitehall on airport policy in 2015.
Although many miles from London, the new airport could link with the HS1 Channel Tunnel high-speed rail link to get passengers into central London in 40 minutes.
The airport would also have good road links with the A2 and the M20 and would help regenerate a part of Kent where unemployment is high.
The Goodwin Sands plan, proposed by London-based maritime engineers Beckett Rankine, is also seen as more environmentally friendly than the Lord Foster Isle of Grain airport plan.
Beckett Rankine director Tim Beckett said: "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.''
Mr Johnson's aviation adviser Daniel Moylan said: "The Mayor has been encouraging proposals for a new airport to the east of London and this proposal is welcome as a contribution to a critical national debate and as a demonstration that a new airport is feasible and deliverable.
"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.''
The editor of New Civil Engineer, Antony Oliver, said: "Beckett Rankine has brought an intelligent engineering solution to the challenge of providing for the future expansion of London's runway capacity.
"Goodwin Airport is a solution that needs to be considered along with the Foster proposal and the expansion of Heathrow.''
There are already proposals for hub airports in the Thames Estuary and on the Isle of Grain.
All pictures courtesy Beckett Rankine