My Parliamentary Debate Today

Ten years have passed since the Labour government launched its South East and East of England airports study, which the High Court initially ruled was unlawful – for excluding Gatwick – in a judicial review which I proposed.

The Thames Estuary Airport proposal, then described as being at ‘Cliffe’ (in the constituency which I now represent), was ruled out on both environmental and economic grounds, but the Labour government recommended a second runway at Stansted in 2011-12, a third runway at Heathrow in 2015-20 and, eventually,  a second runway at Gatwick in the mid-2020s.

None of those recommendations have been progressed under the coalition government, since they were ruled out by both Conservatives and Liberal Democrats at the 2010 election, while Labour’s always unrealistic projection of 400-600 million passenger movements in the UK by 2030 was further undermined by a weak economy.

That does not mean that we should never build any new runways in the South-East. That, as business leaders rightly argue, would be a ridiculous and highly economically damaging policy, albeit one potentially supported by the Liberal Democrats. The Conservative party was always set to review its policy for the next parliament, and government forecasts are still for 300-400 million passenger movements by 2030.

Proposals by the Mayor of London for ‘Boris Island’ or varying Thames Estuary options have rightly been derided as ‘pie in the sky’. The environmental arguments against are overwhelming, but the economics of such a new airport are also frankly incredible. The £50-80 billion cost, even if paid initially by purported ‘private investors’, would add at least £50 to the price of every ticket. Why would airlines or anyone else want to pay that when existing airports could be expanded instead at a fraction of the cost?

It is now time for my party at least to engage seriously in a debate about which proposals are credible for future expansion of capacity, something which it appears even Boris Johnson is now willing to do with his suggestion of Stansted expansion supported by a Crossrail extension. I look forward to kicking off that debate with colleagues and the aviation minister in Parliament today.

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5 Comments

Filed under boris johnson, conservatives, economy, Employment, estuary airport, hoo peninsula, justine greening, labour, lib dems, Lord Foster, Mark In Westminster, mark reckless, medway, medway council, No Estuary Airport, rochester and strood, Thames Hub, theresa villiers

5 responses to “My Parliamentary Debate Today

  1. jaybee

    Mark…..is now the time for you to acknowledge and support

    LONDON THAMES GLOBAL AIRPORT in association with the
    LONDON GATEWAY SUSTAINABLE AQUACULTURE PROJECT…..

    economically and environmentally viable…..delivered in under 10 years

    • I have to admit that jaybee’s proposals do seem to be very worthy of investigation, avoiding as they seem to do just about all the hazards that other proposals fall foul of.

      While I don’t know whether or not this idea could be made to work, it certainly merits scrutiny in any review.

  2. It’s about time someone talked sense Mark that Estuary Airport idea should be a dead duck ,what with all the WW2 ammunition on the Montgomery far to unstable to move, and a resultant tidal wave over Sheerness if they blew it up ! They need to look elsewhere you tell them .

    • barry luxton

      Rubbish, it’s been quiety rusting away for nearly 70 years, there is a huge tidal scour right around it that is helping it go to dust. There is a massive difference to what the ship looked like 10-20 years ago, it’s dissolving. Why use that as a reason to not to progress. If the authorities considered that it was such a danger something should have been done about it a long long time ago. Tell me why is it so dangerous now as opposed to 70 years ago.

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