Leading industry business association the Association for Consultancy and Engineering (ACE) has welcomed London mayor Boris Johnson's appointment of highly experienced engineer and executive chair of Crossrail Doug Oakervee to lead the Greater London Authority's feasibility study into a proposed new airport in the Thames Estuary.
ACE chief executive Nelson Ogunshakin received this week's news with optimism, saying: “We are pleased that such an accomplished engineer as Doug Oakervee has been handed the reins to this project. His track record in the sector is second-to-none and he has shown in dealing with airports such as Chek Lap Kok in Hong Kong that he is well aware of how to navigate the potential pitfalls. ACE couldn't be happier with this decision.”
Oakervee, who is also a member of ACE's advisory board, will bring substantial leadership and engineering skills to the GLA's ongoing study and will decide whether to advocate a full-scale appraisal of the airport at the end of his review. Current GLA studies show that the mooted construction is technically viable and could enhance the Thames Gateway regeneration.
The mayor has clearly stated that no matter what guise the proposed airport took on, it would have to carry substantial benefits in order to be seriously considered. Economic, environmental, political and practical elements will all be taken into consideration.
For more than 30 years the Thames Estuary has been suggested as a potential location for a successful airport in the south east. Stretching away from the main centres of population and on the cusp of the North Sea, the estuary airport is seen by many as an ideal fast link to Europe by air and rail. With many aspects to consider, Oakervee's report will provide government with a comprehensive and expert reference for the next round of reflection, should the plans progress past the preliminary stage.