Today, as Boris held yet another event to promote his pie in the sky estuary airport proposal I joined Sec of State for energy, Ed Davey MP, to open a new heatpipe on Boris’s proposed runway four. We were joined by Simon Fairman, the National Grid manager who runs the largest gas import facility in Europe on Boris’s preferred runway one. He told me that it would cost at least £3bn to move and it was not clear where Boris wished to re-site it.
I have been telling Boris for some months that he has brought a third runway at Heathrow back onto the agenda by continually arguing that the only alternative is his pie in the sky estuary airport. I’ve worked with former Transport Minister Steve Norris, Zac Goldsmith MP and others to tell him that if he wants to stop a third runway at Heathrow he needs to push sensible options which might attract wider support. It may be, with his comments today about Stansted, that he is at last listening. If Boris now puts his full weight behind it I believe that there is a chance that a strong consensus could be reached, possibly by 2013, that a cross-rail spur to Stansted, with future expansion there is the best way forward.
Ed Davey certainly got a good laugh at Boris’s expense this morning from the assembled energy big-wigs when he ruled out moving the new power station brick by brick to accommodate Boris’s flight of fancy.
The new heatpipe itself, linking two sites – E.ON’s £500m new gas-fired power station and National Grid’s Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminal – is a great example of the right kind of new infrastructure on the Hoo Peninsula. The joint approach taken by National Grid and E.ON will help save up to 300,000 tonnes of CO2 each year, the equivalent of taking 60,000 cars off the road, making the gas-fired Grain power station one of the most efficient in the world.