Annoyed with the Standard’s pisspoor imagery, I’ve had my own go at a map of Borisport.  Here you go.  Comments and criticisms welcome.  Yes, I reckon it really is that far out to sea.  About 30% of the distance to Holland, I reckon.
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17 Responses to Borisport: A Better Sketch

  1. tommy says:

    can you humour me and put Schipol on there?

  2. Alex says:

    Birdstrike Intl is roughly 53 miles from central London and 160 miles from Brussels-Zaventem. It’s one quarter of the way to Belgium’s international airport.

    BTW, what happens if you need to do a runway change and an aircraft is on runway island 1, the runway state is black…? Surely there will need to be a link taxiway, and if possible two, between them?

    This is just crack-smokingly stupid. Mmm, crack.

    Perhaps the real aim is to reverse planning permission for the London Array wind farm?

  3. Tom says:

    Any link taxiway is going to be slightly complicated by needing to be higher than the ships using the shipping lane. Of course, high-sided lorries can’t use major exposed suspension bridges when the wind’s too high, so obviously a big slab-sided widebody is going to have a tough job not being blown into the sea. Perhaps Boris needs to have a New Aeroplane For London competition? I have an idea in mind I may share…

    This is another reason I assumed it would act as two separate airports – i.e. if Dunning Airport (the northern one) is shut, no one takes off or land at it, but diverts to Kruger Airport (the southern one).

    I’ve added Schiphol, CDG and Zaventem to the map, along with several other minor UK airports.

    Another thing that bothers me about my sketch is that planes taking off west from the northern island overfly Southend seafront. They can’t turn left without interfering with traffic leaving the southern island runway, so where do they go? it’s about 10 or 11 miles downrange which translated to Heathrow is about Maidenhead/Bracknell/Epsom. I suspect it’s considerations like this that keep the airport stuck that far out.

  4. Mark Lee says:

    Can I suggest that you add the London Array to the map? The Compulsory Purchase Order seems to be buying up land pretty close to the Kent terminal. And the cabling to the array will definitely be in the way of the airport infrastructure. I’m not an aviation expert, but the turbines will be 175m tall, which I can’t imagine would be particularly helpful close to an airport. For comparison, Canary Wharf is 235m tall and makes for a pretty hairy landing at City (and, along with the short runway, is one of the reasons why larger aircraft can’t use the airport).

  5. Alex says:

    That isn’t a problem if they don’t go for mixed mode, though. Interestingly, not permitting mixed mode reduces the increase in flights due to LHR expansion by a third. But then, why go for such a huge expansion and not use it?

    Of course, using one as the alternate for the other doesn’t help for departures, unless you build a link taxiway between them. Another problem – if they are two separate islands, this means that all the ground facilities must be DUPLICATED. Two fuel tank farms, two pumping stations, two lots of pipelines, two sets of deicing equipment, two of everything, and this being aviation and therefore safety critical, everything’s already duplicated for safety reasons.

    Something else; the weather, specifically fog (and spray!) and crosswinds. You certainly won’t be able to declare the other island as a weather diversion…

  6. Tom says:

    Alex, you inadverntent genius, London Array’s site has a nice PDF chart of all the sea depths. I’ve probably got to move the runway islands a bit now, there’s some deepish water about there. Obviously that means the transit tunnel has to be deep enough through the middle not to get dredged up, which adds to the costs of getting all the people, baggage, cargo, food, watches, aircraft spares etc. up to the runway islands, since trains can’t climb big hills. We now have to add in some big elevators for all this stuff.

  7. Excellent.

    All those confusions (deliberately?) introduced by the Doomsday Times swept away.

    A small thought: doesn’t this strengthen the Kent CC case for developing Manston? Most of the essentials and the communications links are already there (but need upgrading).The case against was the proximity to Ramsgate and Cliffsend: has that been diluted by the Heathrow/Sipson proposals? And, lest we forget, Southend already has agreed consent for major developments.

    Finally, just think what surface transport (HS2 etc) could do with the £40 billion budget Blasted Boris seems to envisage. Dammit: there could be a direct, >30 minute, high-speed link for the 40 miles between LHR and LGW, with gold-plated rails.

  8. Alex says:

    You may find the original debate on the Maplin Development Bill worth reading.

    Two things come to mind: 1) Christ, well-informed and apparently independent minded MPs! What happened to them?

    2) Essentially all the problems are the same.

    3) As Douglas Jay MP points out in a rather classic intervention, the whole idea of Maplin/Foulness/Marinair/Borisport was cooked up by a group of Tory landowners in 1969 as a spoiler to plans to build an airport in Bedfordshire near their property, some of whom had interests in the construction biz, and was got past Southend council by offering the town clerk a chance to stag shares in the airport with public money.

    It’s Tory atavism; in the blood. Also, the responsible minister/minister responsible was none other than Michael Heseltine.

  9. Alex says:

    Anyway, I did the measurement, and it’s 101.67 miles from a point directly between the two islands to Westkapelle on the tip of Walcheren, the most westerly area of Dutch territory, and 53 miles to Charing Cross. So yes, pretty much exactly one third of the way to Holland.

  10. Tom says:

    What a coincidence – I was surreptitously reading that Maplin debate during last night’s PTA meeting while the ladies were cracking knob gags and drinking wine. It’s all go at our PTA, you know.

    I was interested to see Eldon Griffiths appear – he was my MP from birth for a few years. The local wags called him the ‘MP for Orange County’ due to the amount of time he spent away from Suffolk. Wikipedia suggests he’s still ticking over, in his mid-80s.

    Anyway, yes, the debate is suspiciously the same as it was in 1973. It was noticeable on Saturday that K*n L*v*ngst*n* usually begins speeches by going back into history and relating what he’s about to say to the past (usually the political and social history of the last 120 years or so). Boris’s in-depth history appears to stop with the Fall of the Roman Empire and certainly doesn’t seem to cover the 60s and 70s to any great extent. Perhaps he might learn something.

  11. [...] history, ideology, logistics, maps, politics, wind power This really is getting strange. The Tories look worryingly convinced of the wisdom of a plan to build a gigantic airport in the North Sea, split between two separate [...]

  12. Helen says:

    Have you mentioned fog? Heathrow is low-lying and prone to fog but I’d imagine it’s nothing compared to the Thames Estuary.

  13. Helen says:

    There’s an article in this week’s Hounslow Chronicle about BAA denying they had plans to cull thousands of Canada Geese around Heathrow, claiming that their existing tactics of trimming the grass and playing bird calls were sufficient. Canada Geese were the species which brought down the jet in Hudson Bay earlier in the month and Hounslow has a large number of them due to the lakes in Bedfont and Osterley Park.

    A spokesman from the Civil Aviation Authority said it was vital to manage the bird population near major airports: “This can mean the netting of nearby ponds, lakes and landfill sites. The CAA can advise against granting planning permission for new developments near airports that are likely to increase the bird hazard, such as landfill sites or water parks.”

    Could we see the whole of the Thames Estuary being netted, Boris?

    Also in the local papers this week, BAA to lay off 250 staff at Heathrow. Spanish parent company Ferrovial “has been struggling with mounting debts in its airport operations for a number of years. The job cuts follow the sale of acres of BAA land and capital, including the lucrative World Duty Free chain of shops.”

    Plus Boeing cutting 10 000 jobs, airlines going out of business every week, who in their right mind would want to build an airport? Kit Malthouse seems to think it could be self-financing, too…

  14. Tom says:

    Not to mention the legions of commentsmuppets at the Standard and elsewhere saying it would make a perfect recession-busting stimulus project…

  15. OHOC says:

    Conservatives thinking that a large spending project would help overcome a recession?

    What mad alternate reality have I stumbled into?

  16. OHOC says:

    PS I notice that on the map, Line 14 bisects Chipping Norton. Now, using my memory, I remember that Jeremy Clarkson happens to live quite near to Chipping Norton.

    If RAF Upper Heyford was (However improbable that may be) chosen for the site, then that would mean Jeremy Clarkson would be constantly disturbed by the sounds of Boeings and Airbuses landing while he was writing one of his columns for The Sun or The Times…

    Dear me, that would be a shame if he found himself so distracted by the sounds of aircraft that he couldn’t write his column.

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