New Airport Plans

Plans for what would be the biggest airport in the world, to be built on the Isle of Grain on the Hoo Peninsula have been drawn up and instigated by leading architect Lord Foster.

The airport would be able to handle up to 150 million passengers a year - double the capacity of Heathrow - and would boast four runways, and round-the-clock flights, thanks to planes taking off over water rather than residential areas.

It is estimated the project would cost around £50bn and, if given the go ahead, could be completed by 2030, linking the South East's railways, roads and ports with air traffic.

London Mayor Boris Johnson, who has been calling for an airport in the Thames Estuary, but at a different site, has welcomed the plans describing them as "exciting". He is now intending to consult Chancellor George Osbourne on the proposals.

But there is opposition from local councils, residents and environmentalists. The Hoo Peninsula is home to several nature reserves, and tens of thousands of birds and other animals, which the RSPB would be put at risk.

Medway Council says it continues to be opposed to any plans for an airport in the Thames Estuary.

Cllr Rodney Chambers, Leader of Medway Council, said: “Lord Foster’s plan to build an airport on the Isle of Grain is, quite possibly, the daftest in a long list of pie in the sky schemes that have been put forward.

“The Isle of Grain is home to the largest Liquefied Natural Gas terminal in Europe and around a fifth of the UK’s gas supply is offloaded by container ships and stored there.

“It is plainly obvious that aircraft and huge gas containers are a potentially lethal mix. I can only assume that neither Lord Foster or Boris Johnson, who is said to be thrilled by this plan, have actually left their offices and travelled from London to the Isle of Grain to have a look.

“A huge new airport on or near the Thames Estuary, which would cost up to £70 billion, is both unaffordable and unnecessary and the government and many airline industry giants have already said they do not support such a plan.

“Boris has no power to build an airport anywhere, least of all in Kent, and we should look to using up capacity at existing airports. For instance, Manston in Kent already has one of the longest runways in Europe and is close to the high speed rail link to London while Birmingham is near the proposed site for a second high speed train and has already stated it wants to double capacity.”

Cllr Rodney Chambers - Estuary Airport