Thames Reach Airport Consortium


context infrastructure access airport environment program

    compact and remote rail integrated airport

The environmental assessment of Thames Reach Airport and its associated transportation and infrastructure benefits should compare favourably with the assessments for the equivalent expansion in capacity located at London's existing airports.

The new inter-modal transport hub will substantially increase total transportation capacity while relieving congestion elsewhere.

There will be a high proportion of rail use to and from the airport, assisted by the combined benefits of the Waterloo International and St. Pancras CTRL links, the regional rail links, the Crossrail Thames Gateway Shuttle service, the rail freight line and tunnel tolls to control vehicular access.

The new airport site requires minimal over-flying of densely populated areas and creates minimal noise pollution.

The new airport site requires minimal land-take for new road, rail and utility connections.

The new airport site has minimised the need to reclaim tidal mudflats. The environmental effects of this loss can be mitigated ahead of the airport development by the controlled sacrifice of existing local, low-lying land subject to high flood risk. In the coming century, the period for which SERAS is addressing aviation demand, the projected rise of sea levels due to the greenhouse effect is likely to result in some low-lying areas of the eastern seaboard being allowed to revert to marshland and tidal mudflats, to reduce the rising costs of sea defences. The implementation of a series of controlled land sacrifices can at least maintain and has the potential to increase the area of wetlands and tidal mudflats available for migratory birds along the eastern seaboard.

The multi-level arrangement of airport functions within the concrete terminal box minimises the airport footprint.

Local use of spoil from the tunnel and from the airport terminal excavation raises the runways, creates the necessary flood defence and minimises construction vehicle movements beyond the site perimeter.

Sustainable construction techniques will make use of local jetties and piers in the early phases of construction to minimise the environmental impact of the works.

The tunnel access to the airport allows the marshland habitat to be restored above the infrastructure corridor upon completion of the works. The south portal is located in a small valley where the traffic noise can be screened from the open marshes.

The airport development is associated with the removal of pylons that blight a large area of the lower estuary.

The airport can use locally generated, sustainable solar, wind, wave and tidal power to run the tunnel and airport mechanical and electrical systems in accordance with the Government’s Renewables Obligation.

Current RSPB sites in the vicinity of the airport site including the Northward Hill bird sanctuary are not directly affected. Disused, flooded chalk pits either side of Salt Lane southwest of Cliffe can be modified to provide an additional wetland sanctuary.


Visual 5
aerial view from South-East with indicative noise profile (2002)

Key Environmental benefits

> few homes taken

> minimal land take for surface access connections

> minimum noise impact

> safe nitrous oxide dispersal

> sustainable construction methods

> minimal airport footprint

> high level of rail use

> phased RAMSAR impact

> use of renewable energy supplies

> prohibition of development in the airport vicinity

> preparations for a Lower Thames Flood Barrier

> no adverse water supply issues

> removal of overhead transmission lines and pylons


indicative noise contour (2002)

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