UK: Offshore Airport to Use Solar and Tidal Power
Royal HaskoningDHV has announced that it has been invited to be involved in the Thames Estuary Airport bid which has been submitted to the Airports Commission.
Working with its partners Testrad and Gensler, London Britannia Airport will not only position London as the gateway to Europe, but the proposed airport built on a new island in the estuary would minimise disruption to London residents whilst offering global travellers a hub airport able to operate around the clock.
As world leaders in the design and environmental assessment of ports and marine infrastructure Royal HaskoningDHV was able to use its expertise to help design the airport but also ensure that it has a minimal affect on the surrounding environment.
Nicola Clay, Royal HaskoningDHV’s Director of Marine and Coastal Environment, explains the company has spent decades providing engineering and environmental services to maritime clients, and has specialist knowledge of the Thames Estuary, she said: “Previously, placing an airport offshore has always been an expensive, high impact option. Working with our partners Gensler and Testrad we have come up with an innovative proposal that is sensitive to the environment that surrounds it and is entirely self-sufficient. We believe our proposal will affect the lowest number of people compared to alternative proposals being put forward.”
The siting of the offshore element of the airport has been carefully selected to minimize its impact. It is not in a highly populated residential area and noise pollution will be minimal, as the sound of aircraft taking off and landing is significantly reduced due to being over water.
The location, to the east of Sheerness, has a relatively small bird population and the project team has gone to great lengths to include bird and fish enhancement measures. A biodiversity fund will mitigate any impact on the marine and wildlife population.
Nicola Clay is also keen to dispel the myth that an offshore airport will have a negative impact on the surrounding ports. “As part of the development the navigation channels will be deepened and marine transport facilities will be improved by the creation of a commercial berth and cruise liner terminal. Considerable efforts have also been taken to ensure the development will align with the tidal flows in the estuary to minimise effects on currents and waves.”
The airport will also use renewable energy wherever possible, it will feature large arrays of solar panels and tidal turbines will be installed on the estuary bed.
Press release, August 12, 2013; Image: Royal HaskoningDHV