Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Sir James backs 'Thames Hub' plans

Sir James Dyson said the Thames Hub could be 'the envy of the world'

Sir James Dyson has backed ambitious plans for a new £50 billion airport in the Thames Estuary, saying Britain needs to "revive the thinking on a grand scale that characterised the Victorian age of invention".

The billionaire designer said the UK has lost the "ambition and vision" of past generations and said the UK needs more large-scale infrastructure projects such as the four-runway aviation hub proposed by architect Lord Foster.

In an interview with The Mail on Sunday, Sir James said: "There was a time when Britain's infrastructure was envied across the globe. Our railways, roads and sewers put us well ahead of our European neighbours in the race to industrialise.

"But we have lost the ambition and vision of our Victorian ancestors. It's time we did something. We need to revive the thinking on a grand scale that characterised the Victorian age of invention."

The inventor, who designed the Dyson vacuum, said despite annual airport passenger numbers in the UK standing at 127 million and constantly rising, the country is not prepared for the future.

"All those passengers have money to spend and many have business deals to sign. If Britain wants to be a force in the future we must have the infrastructure to keep them coming," he said.

"Large-scale infrastructure projects offer a solution and, rather than pie-in-the-sky, projects such as the proposed Thames Estuary airport are exactly what we need."

Lord Foster outlined his plans for the major project earlier this week, claiming the airport, located on the Isle of Grain in Kent, would be capable of handling 150 million passengers a year.

Known as the Thames Hub, it would have high-speed rail connections to London, the Midlands and northern England as well as continental Europe and links to key ports.

Throwing his weight behind the plans, Sir James added: "Let's think big, push our engineers to the edge of their abilities, and create an airport that is the envy of the world. Projects such as these will set us up for the future, create jobs and demand expertise that we can sell to the world."

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