Plans for a UK communication, energy and water ‘spine’ would be powered by new Thames Estuary barrier

Halcrow and Foster and Partners have unveiled a blueprint for a communications and energy ‘spine’ for the UK, building on their plans for a new airport in the Thames Estuary.

The plan would introduce a new centralised electricity, water and broadband conduit from Leeds and Manchester down to the Thames Estuary. The ‘spine’ would run alongside the high speed rail lines connecting the North and Midland to the Thames airport via a proposed orbital rail route around London.

Lord Foster, founder and chairman of Foster and Partners, said: “We need to recapture the foresight and political courage of our 19th century forebears if we are to establish a modern transport and energy infrastructure in Britain for this century and beyond. If we don’t then we are denying future generations to come.”

The spine would be powered by Halcrow and Foster and Partners’ plans for a Thames Estuary barrier which would connect the airport to the mainland.

The firms report said connection could also be extended across to Bristol, up to Newcastle and Scotland and down to Southampton, in line with the rail system.

However, Foster’s plans for the airport have met with opposition. Sir Terry Farrell, advisor to Boris Johnson, said the scheme would be redundant in 20 years.