Panel appointed to look at hub airport proposals

11:19 11 February 2013

The designer of the Aquatics Centre on the Olympic Park, Zaha Hadid, has been appointed to a panel to develop plans for a new hub airport in the south east. Picture: David Poultney/LOCOG

The designer of the Aquatics Centre on the Olympic Park, Zaha Hadid, has been appointed to a panel to develop plans for a new hub airport in the south east. Picture: David Poultney/LOCOG

@ LOCOG

The designer of the Aquatics Centre on the Olympic Park is among a team of experts appointed to develop plans for a new hub airport in the south east.

A shortlist of proposals for the airport, dubbed Boris Island, is expected to be announced in the coming weeks, according to the Mayor of London’s office.

London Mayor Boris Johnson announced the panel ahead of giving oral evidence today to an aviation inquiry convened by the Parliamentary Transport Select Committee, which is expected to ask him why developing a new hub airport is so important to London and to explain why he believes further expansion of Heathrow is impossible.

Mr Johsnon accused the government of dawdling over aviation policy.

He said: “It is absolutely imperative that work to progress a new hub airport in the southeast is completed as soon as possible.

“The government has set a timetable that dawdles when dash should be the order of the day.

“That is why I have assembled a mighty team of experts who I have tasked with delivering a fulsome examination of the most realistic solutions to our aviation crisis in the shortest time possible, which I look forward to sharing with the government.”

But the decision to appoint a team of experts was criticised by London Assembly Member Jenny Jones, who said: “Boris Johnson is rapidly falling behind on his carbon dioxide reduction targets.

“Instead of squandering tax payers’ money on developing fantasy airports that will inevitably lead to massive carbon emissions, he should be prioritising climate mitigation and adaptation projects.

“Pressing for further airport expansion in the south east is incomprehensible. London is already served by six airports. Why should even more communities’ lives be blighted by aircraft noise to satisfy a bogus ‘aviation crisis’ spun by the Mayor and aviation industry.”

Among the experts Mr Johnson has appointed are Zaha Hadid Architects, who will look at airport design and infrastructure alongside Atkins and Pascall & Watson architects.

Zaha Hadid was awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2004 and designed the London 2012 Aquatics Centre on the Olympic Park, as well as the Guangzhou Opera House in China.

Pascall & Watson’s previous projects include Heathrow Terminal 5 and St Pancras International Station while Atkins, a design, engineering and project management consultancey, has worked on the London 2012 Olympics and the Dubai Metro.

International engineering and management consultancy Ramboll, and Oxford Economics, a world leader in global forecasting and quantitative analysis for business and government, will look at the socio economic impacts of the proposed airport, along with York Aviation, and Professor Peter Tyler who works in urban and regional economics in the Department of Land Economy, University of Cambridge and is a Fellow at St. Catharine’s College.

Ernst and Young will look at the proposed airport’s commercial viability while global law firm Ashurst has been appointed to look at legal and regulatory matters.

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