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Pompodian in Exile
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Saint Helena | Air Access Project

St Helena, a mountainous volcanic outcrop just 10 miles by six, has always been celebrated for its remoteness. It is 1,200 miles from Africa, 1,800 miles from South America and 700 miles from Ascension Island, the next nearest land. The island is the deeply eroded summit of a composite volcano, which lends St Helena its extraordinarily dramatic topography.

Long in decline, with no industry or resources and a dwindling population, the island receives more than £13m a year in support from the British Government, making its citizens among the most heavily subsidised of the UK dependants. The majority of this subsidy is spent on maintaining and operating the RMS St Helena which is the only regular ship to call at Saint Helena and its dependants (Ascension and Tristan Da Cunha). It is the islands lifeline to the outside world and can cause considerable concern to islanders if it is delayed or breaks down as the vast majority of food is imported.

In an attempt to remedy the socio-economic difficulties on the island the British government plans to build an airport costing at least £40million which, it hopes, will boost the prosperity of islanders through tourism and help stop the exodus of its already small population to Britain looking for work.

The airport is designed to cater for aircraft up to the size of an Airbus A320 and Boeing 737-800 and will have a total runway length of 2250meters. It will be built on the largest piece of flat land on the island - Prosperous Bay Plain - a rocky desert like area high up on the eastern cost of the island.

In order to build an airport of this size on what is such a remote and undeveloped island will require a new 14 km access road which will be by a long way the longest road on the island, and a new permanent wharf in Ruperts Bay near to the islands capital Jamestown. Also new bulk fuel storage facilities in Ruperts valley, a temporary quarry site in Ruperts valley and a new water supply to cater for the airports needs.

After a considerable wait by islanders the application for Development Permission was formally submitted to the Governor in Council on 5 May 2008. It is being designed and project managed by Atkins and the contract tender for construction has identified Basil Read and Impregilo as the primary contenders a period of competitive negotiations with both of these companies is to determine the preferred contractor.

http://www.sainthelenaaccess.com/
http://www.sainthelena.gov.sh/

Overview showing location of all the various aspects of the project:


View of runway and terminal buildings from the old telegraph signal station:


View of airside facilities and terminal buildings:


View of terminal entrance:


Internal view of terminal entrance area, check-in on right hand side in the distance:


Internal view of terminal departure lounge:


View of proposed wharf in Ruperts Bay, shaded area shows location of temporary wharf. On the far left just up from the sea wall is the existing bulk fuel store which is to be replaced with a new facility further up the valley:
 

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Buka Pintu
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That would be great!St Helena is the most isolated place in the world and the airport would open the island to tourists and tourists would bring cash and jobs for the local people.
 

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Pompodian in Exile
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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Au contraire it is an incredibly beautiful place admittedly the coast is not the most amazing thing in the world but the interior of the island with its own tropical microclimate is truly remarkable:




Were not talking mass tourism here anyway. This is not going to become the next Benidorm. There are no sandy beaches. The weather is quite sunny most of the time, it is on the equator after all. The interest in St Helena lies with the natural beauty, the unique and varied endemic species of flora and fauna and the history of the place particularlythe Napoleon connection. Most British people haven’t heard of St Helena but almost all French people know of it as it is an important part of their history.
 

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Buka Pintu
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Because it's not the most attractive looking island i've ever seen - so if they want tourists to go it had jolly well better have lots of sun and some sandy beaches. ;)
Capital - Jamestown (proposed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site) is very nice with lots of Georgian buildings the interior of the island is amazing (as Pompey said) plus somewhere in the middle of it theres a house in which Napoleon spent last 6 (?) years of his life.
Oh and the fact that St Helena is in the middle of nowhere could attract people who just want to get away from it all.
 

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Pompodian in Exile
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
And of course there’s the world’s finest coffee El Greco.

I’ve discovered a few interesting bits of information in amongst the planning documents:
  • It is expected that construction of the scheme will commence in 2008 and is estimated to continue for four years and six months.
  • The population, including visitors and tourists, is forecast to increase from about 4000 to around 8000 over an approximate 20 year period.
  • Significant economic growth is expected including a 330% increase in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 30 years and increase in employment by 2,000 jobs in 25 years from commencement of airport operation.
  • Increase in tourist numbers from around 800 per year to over 50,000 per year 25 years from the opening of the airport.

This is the negative factor which i think needs to be looked at and a way found to create new habitats elsewhere on the island similar to what currently exists on the plain:
Permanent loss of, and/or changes to, parts of the Central Basin of Prosperous Bay Plain. A significant proportion of unique habitat used by endemic insects and spiders is likely to be affected.
It has been suggested that some species of endemic invertebrates only found on Prosperous Bay plain could be pushed to extinction.
 

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Pompodian in Exile
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
More from the planning documents:
2.2.5.4 Future Fisheries Protection Building
Located north of the Terminal Building is an area designated for a future fisheries protection building for the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office which would be the subject of a separate planning application. General provision has been made for both landside and airside access from the circulation road and via a future apron extension respectively and underground services will be designed to accommodate this site.

Space has also been provided on the airport, at the request of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, for an apron area to accommodate two fisheries protection aircraft. Although there are no plans at present for the establishment of a fisheries protection service if it does occur then the aircraft will be two small, twin turboprop aircraft capable of carrying about six passengers. These aircraft would fly between St Helena and Ascension Island and provide fisheries protection for both islands. From the St
Helena perspective, there would be about six aircraft take offs and landings per week.

2.3.10 In-Shore Sea Rescue
There will be an in-shore sea rescue lifeboat, Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) Tyne class or equivalent moored at Jamestown or at some other place as agreed by SHG, the Contractor and Air Safety Support International (ASSI). The boat will be specially equipped with liferafts and detection gear to enable it to be used for sea rescue of passengers from a ditched aircraft up a range of about 50 nautical mile (nm) from St Helena.
 

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Pompodian in Exile
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I thought id do an update on this. The airport project is not yet dead. Douglas Alexander has again said in the past few weeks that the airport is formally on hold. However, an odd little event took place during December which has given some hope. The well know Tory crook Lord Ashcroft made a little protest.

From the St Helena Independant;


Lord Ashcroft Flying over

On Sunday afternoon at about twenty to four Lord Ashcroft, the Vice Chairman of the British Tory Party, flew over the island with his private business jet on route from Namibia to Brazil. Before and after the overflight we talked to Lord Ashcroft who gave a strong commitment for an airport in St Helena if his party, the Tory Party, comes into power.
Before the overflight Lord Ashcroft said that “I’m about 25,000 feet in the air descending, slowly descending at the moment so I should be over there in about 15 minutes time and I hope that my little one-man protest that I cannot land there at St Helena, I believe that you should have an airport, you should be able to open St Helena up to the world and I hope that an incoming Conservative Government in due course will strongly support an airport there.”
Half an hour later, after circling around the island, Lord Ashcroft called back to Saint FM and gave us his impressions –“I thought the island was absolutely beautiful and I certainly look forward to the day that I’m able to land and stay and meet many of the islanders. When we came in we first of all wanted to have a look at the cliffs on the south side so we flew around the cliffs and then came up over
the east side. I wanted to have a look at the terrain where the proposed airport is meant to be so I had a look at that and then round to the capital, but from the air it looked wonderfully, well laid out. I was just thinking as I was flying over am I an official tourist or when you do your tourist numbers is it plus Lord Ashcroft, does it count? Am I an official tourist for 2009, Sir? But, no, it was wonderful and to see the mail ship there as well was an added bonus because quite clearly I’ve read an enormous amount about the boat that comes to supply you and it was good to see it there, but I only wish I could have landed and had a couple of beers before I went on, but maybe one day I will be able to and I’d like the island to know that in the House of Lords there is a Friend of St Helena that will be there looking out and speaking on behalf of the island.” Photograph - Mark Heron
A good sign that an incoming Tory government would progress with this. They have said they would increase the international development budget.

Meanwhile a plan has been released for a new customs and passenger terminal building on Jamestown Wharf with facilities for Cruise ship passengers and visiting Yacht crews.





This building will literally be the biggest thing built on the island since the high school 20 odd years ago. And while it is just one of the many, many things the island badly needs it’s an important development. Cruise ship visits have been hampered by the lack of proper wharf facilities (which admittedly this project will not really correct) but also the large number of yachts which sail around the world especially from Cape Town to the Caribbean have in recent years been avoiding the island because of the poor facilities it offered.
 

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Registered
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Nick and Dave did a thumbs up for the project :eek:kay:

An airport for St Helena (too late for Napoleon)
By Andy McSmith
Friday, 23 July 2010

In 1815, the British government had a dangerous prisoner on its hands. Napoleon Bonaparte had just been defeated at Waterloo, but he had been defeated before – and exiled to the island of Elba, 12 miles off the coast of Tuscany, but had come storming back.

This second time round, Britain was not going to be caught. They sent him to the most remote place in the entire British empire – the island of St Helena, in the south Atlantic, from which there could be no escape. He died there in 1821.

Even today, St Helena is reckoned to about the most remote place inhabited by human beings – but yesterday there was a prospect that its days of isolation are over, because the UK Government has told the islanders they can have an airport. It means that while other government departments cut spending to the bone, the Department for International Development – whose budget is protected from the cuts – will be spending an estimated £300m on St Helena's airport.

The decision is a personal triumph for the billionaire Tory peer Lord Ashcroft, who is well known to have a soft spot for old colonial outposts.

In January, when he was flying his private plane from Namibia to Brazil, he took a detour to "buzz" St Helena at low altitude, to publicise their cause. The islanders came out of their homes for this rare sighting of a low-flying aircraft and Mike Olsson – who runs the island's radio station – interviewed the peer as he circled overhead.

Lord Ashcroft has also tabled questions in the House of Lords, demanding a decision on the island's future. "He is absolutely thrilled by the decision," his spokesman said yesterday. "If you were a betting man you could wager a modest bet on him being in the first plane to land on the island."

The Labour MP Meg Munn, who was the Foreign Office minister responsible for Overseas Territories in 2007-08, has been another vociferous supporter of the islanders' case. She also welcomed yesterday's decision: "It makes absolute economic sense. It would have cost us a lot more in the long run not to build the airport."

St Helena is one of the last remnants of the British Empire, ruled by a governor appointed by the Queen and receiving £20m a year in grants from Britain's overseas aid budget – more than £5,000 per head of population. It consists of less than 50 square miles of volcanic rock, 1,400 miles west of the nearest mainland port, Walvis Bay in Namibia and 1,800 miles east of the coast of Brazil. The islanders' nearest neighbours are on Ascension Island, 800 miles to the north.

The islanders have campaigned for years for an airport, because their only contact with the outside world is a ship, the RMS St Helena, which does a regular run to and from Cape Town.

But the ship is due for the scrapheap. It broke down in November 1999 – when it was on its way to take essential supplies and passengers to the island – and had to be docked in the French port of Brest. While it was being repaired, the islanders were completely cut off and left anxiously wondering if they were going to run out of food and other essentials.

The International Development department agreed in 2005 that St Helena needed an airport and by October 2008 was in the process of negotiating a contract when the banking crisis began. Gordon Brown ordered that the project be put on hold and called for the papers so he could personally go through all the figures and see if the UK was getting value for money.

The International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell said in a statement yesterday that a new airport would give the island the chance to pay its way in the world, whereas if all it got was a new ship, it would always be dependent on UK government handouts.​

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/u...-st-helena-too-late-for-napoleon-2033459.html
 

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Pompodian in Exile
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
No construction on the airport yet, but access works are in full swing. A drilling rig is currently on the island looking for sources of fresh water, works are underway on the haul route for heavy plant and 14km access track, 12km of which is now complete. Work on the temporary access jetty and temporary fuel storage tanks are now complete.

Basil Read the South African construction firm contracted to build the airport is slowly ramping up its presence on the island, heavy plant for the airport earthworks are expected to arrive in early July. From then construction of the airport proper can begin.
 

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Pompodian in Exile
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
A big event happened in the South Atlantic last Wednesday something the island has only been waiting for for approximately 500 years...

The ro-ro ship NP Glory docked at the new wharf in Ruperts bay to deliver the heavy plant for the airport earthworks. Believe it or not this is said to be the first time a ship has ever docked at St Helena.



 
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