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New plans for Thames Estuary airport revealed

PUBLISHED: 10:11 30 November 2012 | UPDATED: 10:33 30 November 2012

The plan for the London Jubilee International Airport

The plan for the London Jubilee International Airport

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Bridget Rosewell’s plans deemed ‘unworkable’ by councillor

Yet another ambitious proposal for a multi-billion pound airport terminal off the north Kent coast has emerged – this time linking a Thames Estuary airport with the international rail terminal at Ebbsfleet.

Dubbed the London Jubilee International Airport (LJIA), it has been put forward by a former advisor to London Mayor Boris Johnson.

Bridget Rosewell, former economic advisor to the Greater London Authority, says the designs would cost £49bn and be open for business by 2025. The airport would be equipped to handle up to 160m passengers a year.

A key difference to other designs already in the public domain is that it would look to utilise the rail hub at Ebbsfleet to form part of the terminal complex, before a high-speed rail service took passengers to the runways, built off the coast of Sheppey, Whitstable and Herne Bay.

It would boast five runways – with scope to extend to six.

However, the plans have already been slammed by a leading borough and county councillor who described them as “unworkable and unaffordable”.

Bryan Sweetland, Conservative member of Gravesham Borough Council and Kent County Council, said: “The Bridget Rosewell plan is just another in an increasing list of unworkable and unaffordable proposals that would cause untold environmental damage to the Thames Estuary. The proposal is clearly flawed and unworkable.”

But Ms Rosewell said she believes the idea will eliminate noise issues for residents and said the plans were not unaffordable.

She said: “People want to fly but do not want planes near them because they are noisy. The idea of putting the runway in the water solves the problem. If we are not connected to the rest of the world the UK economy will die. All infrastructure is expensive but without infrastructure we do not have an economy.”

Ms Rosewell added that wildlife would not be affected as there are already wind farms on the site.

She said: “If the turbines can be there then we can put the airport there. It’s not where there are lots of birds.

“[We are] trying to get the planes away from the people with a minimum impact on the environment.”

However, a spokesman for CPRE Protect Kent said the airport was not needed.

He said: “We are not convinced that there is any need for any more air capacity in the south east. Even if there were, anything in the Thames Estuary would be abysmal.”

Kent County Council, Medway Council and surrounding borough and district councils are all opposed to the idea of a Thames Estuary airport.

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