Thames Hub continues to make progress since Foster + Partners revealed the proposal in early November. The £50bn project includes a £20bn high-speed Orbital Rail line around London; a new £6bn Thames Barrier and crossing; and a £20bn international Estuary Airport, with annual capacity for 150 million passengers. Comprehensive environmental management strategies have been made in order to minimize the impact of development and create significant opportunities for new wildlife habitats.
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Within the last few weeks, Foster + Partners have meet with a number of public and private-sector stakeholders that ensured strong support for the realization of the project. Investors have showing a strong interest in supporting the project through the planning, design, construction and operation and maintenance phases. The press release states, “With an appropriate political and planning framework, this is a project that can be delivered.”
Detailed studies have been conducted on the wildlife habitats in the Thames Estuary, investigating the potential for a new natural reserve. The proposal aims to become a “world-leading” new habitat that will foster new breeding and feeding areas, while simultaneously leading the issue of addressing rising sea levels.
A detailed analysis has been made in order to develop a strategy that will ensure the safety of the SS Richard Montgomery World War II wreckage, located four miles from the proposed terminal buildings.
Further developments have been made on rail alignments and utilities and gas integration. Long distance electricity transmission will include gas-insulated high-voltage transmission cables, which will be easily maintained and will reduce transmission losses. A study of possible intermodal station locations on the Orbital Rail link is being carried out.
The Orbit Rail will cut the north and south-east travel time for passengers in half. A journey from Manchester to Heathrow currently takes more than three hours. With the new Rail Orbital, it will only take one hour and fifty minutes.
A survey of the “sparsely populated” Isle of Grain settlements and buildings is being conducted due to the necessary re-housing of the people and businesses that are directly affected by the proposal.
Reference: Foster + Partners