Lord Foster insists his £20bn-plus estuary airport is financially viable

Thames Hub proposal

Thames Hub proposal

Leading architect Lord Foster has pointed to the closure of Heathrow Airport as a means of funding his proposal for a brand new air terminal in the Thames Estuary.

Amid growing signs of a possible government U-turn on the decision not to pursue the building of a third runway at Heathrow, Foster said his £20bn-plus plans for the ‘Thames Hub’ - drawn up in collaboration with engineer Halcrow -  was a more viable long term solution.

Foster claimed the new four runway airport off the Isle of Grain would cost £20bn to build plus further costs including £3bn for a rail link to St Pancras station.

He told the Financial Times that around £10bn of the cost of the project will be recouped through the closure and redevelopment of Heathrow, while a further £19bn could be raised through landing charges, raising a total of £33bn.

 “A third Heathrow runway is not a long-term solution – more in the Band-Aid tradition,” he told the newspaper.

“A new airport would take the same time to get planning but would give us the capacity we need for decades to come.”

Foster & Partners’ director Huw Thomas said that foreign investors would queue up to invest in the scheme but were being put off by the slow process of political decision-making in the UK.