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02/09/2014

'Boris Island' airport hub rejected

Words: Sam Waddicor
Estuary airport

Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, says he will keep fighting for an airport hub to the east of London despite the Airports Commission rejecting the idea.

The commission chaired by Sir Howard Davies decided not to shortlist the proposals because its substantial disadvantages outweigh its potential benefits.

Upon releasing the shortlist, Davies said: “There will be those who argue that the commission lacks ambition and imagination. We are ambitious for the right solution. The need for additional capacity is urgent. We need to focus on solutions which are deliverable, affordable, and set the right balance for the future of aviation in the UK.”

The plan, dubbed Boris Island, would have seen a four-runway airport hub being built on the Isle of Grain in the Thames Estuary.

Johnson insisted that the plans were not yet finalised and that after the next election a new government would return to the idea, making this and any further ruling by the commission irrelevant.

“In one myopic stroke, the Airports Commission has set the debate back by half a century and consigned their work to the long list of vertically filed reports on aviation expansion that are gathering dust on a shelf in Whitehall, he said.

“Gatwick is not a long-term solution and Howard Davies must explain to the people of London how he can possibly envisage that an expansion of Heathrow - which would create unbelievable levels of noise, blight and pollution - is a better idea than a new airport to the east of London that he himself admits is visionary, and which would create the jobs and growth this country needs to remain competitive.

“It remains the only credible solution; any process that fails to include it renders itself pretty much irrelevant, and I’m absolutely certain that it is the option that will eventually be chosen.” 

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