Redwood's 150,000 homes on Thames

Multi-billion-pound plans for two "cities in the sea" are being proposed by one of David Cameron's advisers as an answer to housing shortages and global warming.

John Redwood, one of several senior Tories spearheading future policy research for Mr Cameron, yesterday unveiled plans to reclaim enough land along the Thames Estuary east of London to build up to 50,000 homes.

He has also proposed the construction of a new town in The Wash off Norfolk and Lincolnshire.


The Thames plan would combine with existing development plans between Dartford and Gravesend in Kent to create what Mr Redwood called yesterday "a mighty city called Thames Reach" of 150,000 new homes.

Regarding his ideas for The Wash, the MP for Wokingham and a former Cabinet minister, invoked centuries-old land reclamation techniques in Holland and a "phenomenal new city" being constructed off the coast of Dubai to show that, in principle, valuable development land could be won back from the sea.

"The sky's the limit once you recognise that this is feasible," Mr Redwood said yesterday. He added, however, that this was his own idea and was not Tory party policy.

According to Mr Redwood, low-lying areas of the UK face being "bombarded by the seas" in the decades ahead regardless of what Britain did to combat global warming.

But reclaiming areas of shallow water in both the Thames Estuary and The Wash would create valuable development land that would release billions of pounds for sea defences.

However, Mr Redwood's ambitious idea appeared to take people by surprise yesterday, with neither the Government nor the Environment Agency able to comment., 14.06.2006

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