THE leading innovator of an ambitious plan to build a floating airport off the Dutch coast has said there is no reason why a similar scheme would not work in the Thames Estuary.

Tom Smit, a director at engineering firm Royal Haskoning, is the man behind the construction of a £77billion six-runway transport hub in the North Sea, which is designed to relieve the existing strain on Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport.

He has urged residents in south Essex to embrace the idea of a Thames Estuary airport.

Mr Smit said: “Think of what you could achieve.

“What we are building in Holland is on a massive scale, but in the Thames Estuary it wouldn’t need to be anywhere near that size.

“It would be so easy. The water is shallow and you could remove traffic from Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted.

“Think what you could do if an area the size of Heathrow was available for development.

“You have the architects. You have the engineers.

“The possibilities are endless.”

The new airport off the Dutch coast, which will be connected to the mainland by high-speed underground trains and operate 24 hours a day, will take 25 years to build.

Mr Smit said it would revolutionise transport in Amster-dam.

He said: “This will change everything.

“If I could say to the people around the Thames to do it, I would. Please, please think about it. It will be amazing.”

London’s Tory mayor Boris Johnson has pushed the idea for an airport in the estuary, off the coast of Southend. Although there has been widespread opposition to the plans, Mr Johnson said he is still looking into the possibility and has appointed Doug Oakervee, executive chairman of Crossrail, to lead a feasibility study into the idea.