Many of us remember the No Airport at Cliffe campaign and how the Hoo Peninsula came together ten years ago to defeat the then government’s ‘Cliffe’ airport plan. There is no similar proposal from the government this time. However, an independent commission has been set up, chaired by Sir Howard Davies, to look at aviation capacity in the South-East.
Various people have suggested building an airport in the Thames Estuary area. The Mayor of London initially proposed an artificial ‘Boris’ Island north of the Isle of Sheppey, while architects Foster + Partners have proposed building over the north-east of the Hoo Peninsula and reclaimed land beyond.
None of these proposals appear credible to me. Cost estimates range from £70 billion to over £100 billion, around £50 per plane ticket. It is not clear why anyone would want to pay for this, when it would be so much cheaper to expand existing airports. Does the Mayor of London want to close Heathrow and move its 75,000 directly employed staff and 40,000 ancillary staff to Medway, or keep it open, with British Airways and other airlines saying that they would then refuse to move.
The Davies Commission will look at all the arguments and produce an interim report in late 2013 and a final report in 2015. These will not bind government but I would ask you to sign our petition and contact the Davies Commission to expose the weakness of arguments for a Thames Estuary airport.
Even Boris has now said that his desired new hub airport could instead be at Stansted. If £5 billion were spent on a Crossrail spur from Stansted to Stratford this would link Stansted to the City in 25 minutes, the West End (or Ebbsfleet) in 35 minutes and Heathrow in less than an hour. Gatwick are also now pushing to have a second runway.
We should use this opportunity with the Davies Commission to rule out environmentally devastating proposals for a Thames Estuary Airport once and for all.
Mark Reckless MP and volunteers from across the community will be visiting households across the Hoo Peninsula asking residents to sign his Parliamentary petition against the airport. You can show your support for the No Estuary Airport campaign now by completing the online petition form – click here.