£50bn Thames transport hub plan revealed

An aerial view of the £50bn Thames Hub proposal

An aerial view of the £50bn Thames Hub proposal (Source: Foster+Partners)

By RTCC Staff

A £50bn development to build a new airport and rail hub in London’s Thames estuary has been revealed by a consortium that includes legendary architect Lord Norman Foster.

The plans have integrated climate adaptation and mitigation strategies and include a four runway airport capable of handling 150 million passengers, more than double that of Heathrow and a freight rail network to connect the UK’s major ports. A new Thames flood barrier with tidal energy generators is also proposed to protect the city from rising sea levels and tidal surges.

“If we are to establish a modern transport and energy infrastructure in Britain for this century and beyond, we need to recapture the foresight and political courage of our 19th century forebears and draw on our traditions of engineering, design and landscape,” said Lord Foster, founder and chairman of Foster + Partners.

The consortium, which also includes construction firm Halcrow and economics consultancy Volterra, has placed climate adaptation and mitigation at the heart of the scheme.

The proposed new Thames flood barrier

The proposed new Thames flood barrier (Source: Foster + Partners)

The freight rail network would remove 1000 lorries from the roads, according to the group. The proposed flood barrier built at the mouth of the river would include integrated tidal power generation for 76,000 homes and a road and rail crossing over the estuary. In its primary function, the flood barrier would increase the area of protected land in the Thames Valley by 150 per cent.

The London Climate Change Partnership estimates that the city would experience a 36cm rise in sea levels by 2080 and an additional storm surge of 95cm.

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