UK
15/07/2013 09:58 BST | Updated 15/07/2013 13:51 BST

Boris Johnson London Airport Plan Compared To Hitler's 'Vision' By Top Architect Sir Terry Farrell

Boris Johnson's "mad" plan to build an ambitious £65bn airport on the Thames Estuary is distorted vision comparable to something Hitler would have dreamed up, a leading architect has said.

In a speech on Monday, the Mayor put forward his outer Thames Estuary, artificial island plan - dubbed "Boris Island" - for a new four-runway hub airport.

But he also said that a new, four-runway airport on the Isle of Grain on the Hoo Peninsula in Kent - a plan already outlined by architect Lord Foster - should be considered.

boris johnson

Boris Johnson has put forward his plans to expand London's air hubs

But Sir Terry Farrell, who has designed some of the world’s largest airports and is working on Gatwick’s bid to build a second runway, told London's Evening Standard: “When people say that you have got to have vision, well Hitler had vision.

“Vision can be a madness where you get so obsessed you throw everything you have got on the roulette table and hope you got it right.”

Sir Terry was approached by the Mayor to work on his estuary airport plan but turned the work down. The architect was the chief planner of estuary regeneration scheme the Thames Gateway.

Johnson's third proposal for a four-runway hub would be at Stansted in Essex, where the existing airport would be expanded.

Johnson's plans, which rule out expansion at Heathrow airport in west London, will be submitted later this week to the Government-appointed Airport Commission headed by Sir Howard Davies.

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Johnson said that a new hub airport would be able to support more than 375,000 new jobs by 2050 and add £742 billion to the value of goods and services produced in the UK.

He said a new hub airport could be delivered by 2029, with a hybrid bill being passed by parliament to secure approval for the airport, the surface access and the acquisition of Heathrow.

The benefits of each of the three airport options:

THE ISLE OF GRAIN

  • Close enough to London to provide smooth and fast access by public transport
  • Ideally located so as to allow take-off and landing over water and so impact on as small a population as possible.
  • It sits in an area with a strong industrial history, and is across the water from the new DP World London Gateway Port.
  • A new hub airport there would lay the foundation for a future logistics heartland of the UK.

AN OUTER ESTUARY SITE 'BORIS ISLAND'

  • An airport on an artificial island off the Kent coast would remove all problems of noise pollution
  • Give the airport the freedom to operate in whatever way it needed in order to maximise the UK's connectivity and economic benefits.

STANSTED

  • Developing a major four-runway airport at Stansted would have the attraction of building on existing infrastructure
  • Sited in a relatively sparsely populated region, Stansted has none of the environmental or wildlife issues that would need to be overcome in the estuary.

Johnson said: "Ambitious cities all over the world are already stealing a march on us and putting themselves in a position to eat London's breakfast, lunch and dinner by constructing mega airports that plug them directly into the global supply chains that we need to be part of.

"Those cities have moved heaven and earth to locate their airports away from their major centres of population, in areas where they have been able to build airports with four runways or more."

He went on: "For London and the wider UK to remain competitive we have to build an airport capable of emulating that scale of growth. Anyone who believes there would be the space to do that at Heathrow, which already blights the lives of hundreds of thousands of Londoners, is quite simply crackers."

Johnson's chief adviser on aviation, Daniel Moylan, said: "Heathrow can never solve our problems and our studies show that we're better off with a new site.

"The immense noise, pollution and congestion that would result from expanding an airport located in the heart of our suburbs would potentially devastate the greatest city in the world. "

“The only reason Boris has concocted his pie-in-the-sky plans for a Thames Estuary airport is because backing Heathrow expansion would pit the whole of West London against him.

“The region doesn’t need more airport capacity; London already has more flights to the world's top business centres than any of its European competitors.

“The Mayor should stop pitching communities in West London against those in Essex and Kent and back transport solutions that don’t wreck our planet.”

Environmental groups have urged the Mayor to reconsider any airport expansion. "The only reason Boris has concocted his pie-in-the-sky plans for a Thames Estuary airport is because backing Heathrow expansion would pit the whole of West London against him," Andrew Pendleton, Friends of the Earth’s head of campaigns said.

“The region doesn’t need more airport capacity; London already has more flights to the world's top business centres than any of its European competitors.

“The Mayor should stop pitching communities in West London against those in Essex and Kent and back transport solutions that don’t wreck our planet.”