Category Archives: hoo peninsula

VIDEO: Mark Reckless speaks up for Hoo Peninsula during aviation debate

I was determined to rise to the challenge when the speaking time limit was cut from 7 minutes to 4 minutes in today’s Aviation Strategy Debate. It was almost as if repeated interventions from Bernard Jenkin, described as the only other person mad enough to support Boris’ scheme, were designed to time me out!

Thankfully our excellent Deputy Speaker Lindsay Hoyle managed to get me in to speak (not sure if this meant cutting short Adam Afriye instead).

I was short of breath by the end. However, I hope that years spent living and breathing opposition to an Estuary Airport meant I was able to get in most of the key points.

12 Comments

Filed under boris johnson, conservatives, economy, Employment, Energy, Environment, estuary airport, Heathrow, hoo peninsula, hs1, isle of grain, Lord Foster, mark reckless, medway, No Estuary Airport, rochester and strood, Thames Hub, youtube

Mark Reckless highlights lack of support for Boris Island during PMQs

Mark Reckless took the opportunity during today’s Prime Ministers Questions to highlight Boris Johnson’s own admission that his pie in the sky Boris Island scheme lacked any credible support further to Sir Howard Davies’s indication that some plans will not pass first base environmentally.

Leave a comment

Filed under boris johnson, conservatives, david cameron, estuary airport, Heathrow, hoo peninsula, isle of grain, Lord Foster, mark reckless, medway, MP, No Estuary Airport, rochester and strood, Thames Hub, youtube

Rochester and Strood says No Estuary Airport!

Mark Reckless, MP for Rochester and Strood, today joined local residents and campaigners at St James’ Church in Cooling to reveal the results of his No Estuary Airport ballot prior to making his submission to the Davies Aviation Commission. Over the past seven months, residents across the Rochester and Strood constituency have been asked for their opinion on whether or not they support the proposals to build a new hub airport in or around the Thames Estuary.

WP_20130930_012

The results are (wheeled) in… Rochester and Strood says No Estuary Airport!

The response has been extraordinarily good. Just under 8,000 residents took the time to have their say on the plans, and the answer has been a resounding ‘NO’ to proposals put forward for a Thames Estuary airport including by Boris Johnson and Foster+Partners. 92.6% of residents across the constituency do not support the proposals, with just 7.3% in favour. In Strood Rural and Peninsula wards, which would be most impacted by a new airport, the figure was even higher with 94.4% of all respondents saying ‘NO’, with just 5.5% supporting the plans.

Across the rest of the constituency, excluding Peninsula and Strood Rural wards, 87.8% of local residents oppose the plans, with 12.1% in favour.

Download full breakdown of results by ward – Click Here

WP_20130930_003Speaking prior to making his submission to the Davies Commission, Mark Reckless said:

“These proposals are, economically, completely unjustified. It is going to cost, perhaps, up to £100bn, and much of that will be government-guaranteed money, while all of the other proposals will be, in the main, privately funded. I just don’t believe it’s a credible proposal which merits further investigation. That’s what I said to Sir Howard Davies when I met him a week or so ago, and this ballot shows the strength of feeling against the proposals here in Rochester and Strood.

The jobs argument has completely failed. It would devastate West London to close Heathrow which would be necessary. Even Boris himself has now been pushing Stansted because he realises he hasn’t been able to gather enough support for this flight of fancy, pie in the sky proposal. I hope now we can rule this out once and for all. I would like to thank everyone who has been helping me with my campaign to do just that. Thank you all very much.”

View Mark’s submission to the Davies Aviation Commission – Click Here

Mark Reckless also accepted for submission to the Davies Commission a 1,800+ strong petition against the Thames Estuary Airport on behalf of the Friends of North Kent Marshes (FoNKM).

WP_20130930_035Speaking at the event, Gill Moore of FoNKM, said:

“We’re asking the Davies Commission to rule out all thoughts of a Thames Estuary Airport at the earliest opportunity and we hope he will be doing that in December. We’ve collected loads and loads of signatures alongside our MP, Mark Reckless, and we’re hoping against hope that the Davies Commission will take notice of it.”

V__AC86Mark was delighted to hand in the petition along with his own submission and the result of the constituency-wide ballot directly to Jillian Spindura at the office of the Davies Airport Commission who stated:

“Yours are the biggest and most comprehensive set of responses we have had opposing any airport proposal.”

5 Comments

Filed under boris johnson, campaigns, conservatives, Cooling, Environment, estuary airport, Heathrow, hoo peninsula, isle of grain, Lord Foster, mark reckless, medway, medway council, No Estuary Airport, Referendum, rochester and strood, Thames Hub, youtube

MP hears concerns of older residents from rural Medway

WP_20130823_025

Older people from the Hoo Peninsula have told Mark Reckless that he must ensure that the needs of older people in rural communities in England are properly considered by all levels of government.

The call came at an event hosted by Karen Treacy of Age UK Medway at The Village Hall, Mallard Way, Lower Stoke, Rochester on 23rd August 2013 and was part of Age UK’s nationwide campaign “Later Life in Rural England” which aims to raise awareness of the challenges and opportunities faced by older people living in rural England.

Issues and concerns raised during the meeting included:-

  • Loneliness and isolation: several residents feel lonely and isolated and wish she had someone to talk to on a regular basis
  • Policing in the area: a few residents complained of trouble caused by youths in the area and lack of police on patrol to deal with it
  • Bus routes and services: there was a general concern from residents that there is no direct bus route to the main hospital and that many have to pay for taxis to attend appointments.  Buses run far less frequently than in town areas and residents feel that there should be more buses running more frequently
  • GPs: It was felt that there should be a medical centre similar to the Will Adams in Gillingham available to all residents
  • Sheltered accommodation and residential care: residents complained that most of the housing is now owned privately and costs are extortionate
  • Post office: there was concern that the local post office was moving to a less convenient location but Mark Reckless said that this was now not going ahead
  • District nurse:  A resident claimed that the local district nurse was being removed from Hoo and they now have to travel to Rochester to see a nurse
  • Oil heating : A resident asked what is the government going to do to cut costs

Mark Reckless MP said:

“I was delighted to meet with some of the older members of our community to listen to and discuss their concerns about living in the countryside.

There are many positive aspects of living in a rural environment – people in the countryside do tend to live longer. However, as we heard, there are also a number of issues which we need to continue working on such as rural transport, energy costs, and access to health services.

I would like to thank Age UK Medway for organising this very useful debate, and also all the residents who took the time to come along and share their views with me.”

John Norley, Chief Executive of Age UK Medway said:

“Life in rural parts of Medway can be tough for many older people with too many struggling to get to the shops and hospital because of lack of local bus services.

“The charity’s campaign “Later life in Rural England”, is calling for all levels of government to:

  • “rural proof” policy and services that may have an impact on rural areas and make older people a priority in this process
  • Take the “rural premium” and social value of services into account
  • Support community participation
  • Target social isolation in rural areas

To support the Later life in Rural England campaign or to find out more, please visit www.ageuk.org.uk/rural or contact Alice Woudhysen, Senior Campaigns Officer on alicewoudhuysen@agueuk.org.uk or 02030330516.

1 Comment

Filed under Community, conservatives, Cooling, Countryside, Fuel Poverty, Health, hoo peninsula, mark reckless, medway, News, pensioners, Pensions, rochester, rochester and strood, strood, transport

VIDEO: Boris gives up on Boris Island

Mark Reckless, MP for Rochester and Strood, questions the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, over his pie in the sky Boris Island proposal and receives a surprising response.

3 Comments

Filed under boris johnson, conservatives, estuary airport, Heathrow, Home Affairs Select Committee, hoo peninsula, isle of grain, Lord Foster, mark reckless, medway, No Estuary Airport, rochester, rochester and strood, Thames Hub, youtube

MP urges residents to have their say on Lower Thames crossing

Lower Thames Crossing: the options - Click on map  to view full size

Lower Thames Crossing: the options – Click on map to view full size

Mark Reckless, local MP for Rochester and Strood, is urging residents in Medway to make their views known as part of the government consultation on a proposed new road crossing on the Thames to help alleviate congestion at the Dartford-Thurrock crossing.

This consultation is designed to gather views on the preferred location for additional road-based river crossing capacity in the Lower Thames area.

Responses to this consultation will form part of the evidence base that government will use to make a decision on where to locate a new crossing.

The location options considered are:

  • option A: at the site of the existing A282 Dartford-Thurrock crossing
  • option B: connecting the A2 with the A1089
  • option C: connecting the M2 with the A13 and the M25 between junctions 29 and 30
  • option C variant: connecting the M2 with the A13 and the M25 between junctions 29 and 30, and additionally widening the A229 between the M2 and the M20

Speaking of the consultation, Mark said:

“I am pleased that the government is committed to tackling congestion in the North Kent area, particularly when so many of the residents and businesses in my constituency are so reliant on the existing Dartford crossing.

However, a number of concerns have been raised with me with regards to the possible impact which any new crossing may have on our local environment. While none of the final options presented appear to be quite as ecologically destructive as those bizarrely supported by the Medway Labour group, I would strongly urge all residents to make sure that their voices are heard by contributing to the consultation.”

You can find out more through the consultation page or by attending one of the following public information events being held next month in the Lower Thames area:

  • Thursday 13 June, Dartford Library, Central Park, Dartford, Kent, DA1 1EU, from 2pm to 8pm
  • Saturday 15 June, Grays Library, Orsett Road, Grays, Essex, RM17 5DX, from 10am to 5pm
  • Monday 17 June, Chadwell Information Centre, Brentwood Road, Chadwell St Mary, Grays, Essex, RM16 4JP, from 2pm to 7pm
  • Thursday 20 June, Bluewater (Thames Walk at the entrance to the plaza), Greenhithe, Kent, DA9 9ST, from 10am to 9pm
  • Friday 21 June, Lakeside (level two near the customer service desk), West Thurrock Way, Grays, Essex, RM20 2ZP, from 10am to 10pm
  • Saturday 22 June, Gravesend Library, Windmill Street, Gravesend, Kent, DA12 1BE, from 9am to 5pm
  • Monday 24 June, Basildon District Council, Basildon Centre (reception), St Martin’s Square, Basildon, Essex. SS14 1DL, from 11am to 5pm

Please respond to the consultation by 16 July.

2 Comments

Filed under cliffe woods, conservatives, Cooling, council, Countryside, dartford crossing, economy, Environment, hoo peninsula, isle of grain, labour, Lower Thames Crossing, mark reckless, medway, MP, rochester, rochester and strood, strood, transport

VIDEO: No Estuary Airport campaign update 18th May 2013

1 Comment

Filed under boris johnson, Cliffe Spice, cliffe woods, conservatives, estuary airport, Heathrow, hoo peninsula, isle of grain, Lord Foster, mark reckless, medway, No Estuary Airport, rochester, rochester and strood, strood, Thames Hub, youtube

Thames Estuary Airport: The Fight Continues…

020320134118Article originally featured in Kent on Sunday – Click Here To Download

The Mayor of London and Foster & Partners are not the first to suggest building an airport in the Thames Estuary. The last government did that with Cliffe airport. That was ruled out, not least on grounds of cost, and these latest reheated proposals lack feasibility just as their predecessors did.

Despite Boris’ gung-ho attitude, support for a Thames Estuary airport remains extremely limited. The substantive report by the Transport Select Committee, published on Friday, which drives a coach and horses through the proposals, follows hot on the heels of the London Assembly’s findings that a Thames Estuary airport is not a viable option.

By advocating the Thames Estuary airport, Boris wanted to take the focus off Heathrow expansion, but by backing such an ill-advised, economically and environmentally unfeasible scheme he only succeeded in putting the focus back on Heathrow, although other options may make more sense.

I welcome the decision by the Transport Select Committee to reject a new hub airport in or around the Thames Estuary. It is a huge boost for the thousands of residents across Medway, particularly those living on the Hoo Peninsula, who are opposed to such proposals. However, it is important that we stay focused on our ultimate goal of seeing off these pie in the sky plans once and for all.

With cost estimates ranging widely from £70-100 billion, this scheme would not only have added at least £50 to each plane ticket but would also require huge swathes of public subsidy, money which we simply do not have. Not only would the estuary airport impose a massive financial cost to the nation as a whole, it would devastate Medway and subject many across Kent to constant aircraft noise.

Moreover, Heathrow could not continue to operate alongside a Thames Estuary airport, or airlines would not relocate from Heathrow to a much more expensive and less commercially attractive new airport. Airlines themselves have indicated that they are not prepared to move to an estuary airport from Heathrow – and are even less willing to pay for such a scheme.

Therefore, for an estuary hub to work, Heathrow would have to be forcibly closed. How this would happen in practice is a question which remains unanswered and it has been suggested taxpayers would have to pay £20bn to compensate Heathrow and associated businesses. The closure of Heathrow would necessitate a shift of at least 75,000 directly employed staff to a Thames Estuary airport. No council in peacetime has ever been asked to re-home so many people and the implications of such a task would be almost unimaginable for our area.

RSPB map showing extent of Foster proposal

RSPB map showing full extent of Foster+Partners’ proposal

The site of the proposed airport is home to many internationally protected wildlife and environmental sites as well RSPB bird and nature sanctuaries. The likelihood of bird strikes on planes would be far higher than at other airports. The location chosen for the estuary airport would not only be environmentally devastating, but on the wrong side of London for access from most of the UK, as well as being technically unfeasible in key respects.

Richard Deakin, chief executive of air traffic management association, NATS, pointed out that four runways in the estuary would mean some approaches and departures being over London, compounding noise problems and conflicting with the flight paths of other airports, including Schipol.

There are other far more realistic solutions for increasing airport capacity. If £5 billion were spent on a Crossrail spur from Stansted to Stratford this would link Stansted to the City in 25 minutes and to the West End or Ebbsfleet in 35 minutes, with Heathrow less than an hour away. Stansted is currently operating at only half its potential capacity and therefore could greatly increase its number of flights without even needing a new runway in the short-term. Gatwick is now pushing for a second runway once its planning agreement which prevents this expires in 2019. Expansion at Gatwick and/or Stansted with one becoming a hub which competes with Heathrow would benefit Kent with better connections.

3 Comments

Filed under boris johnson, conservatives, estuary airport, Heathrow, hoo peninsula, isle of grain, Lord Foster, mark reckless, medway, MP, No Estuary Airport, rochester and strood, rspb, Thames Hub, transport

MP welcomes Transport Select Committee report rejecting Thames Estuary airport

010220133960Mark Reckless, MP for Rochester and Strood, has welcomed the decision by the Transport Select Committee to reject proposals to build a new hub airport in or around the Thames Estuary.

Responding to the news, Mark Reckless said:

“The Mayor of London and Foster & Partners are not the first the first to suggest building an airport in the Thames Estuary. The last Government did that with Cliffe airport. That was ruled out, not least on grounds of cost, and these latest reheated proposals lack feasibility just as their predecessors did.

Despite Boris’s gung-ho attitude, support for a Thames Estuary airport remains extremely limited. This substantive report by the Transport Select Committee, which drives a coach and horses through the proposals, follows hot on the heels of the London Assembly’s findings that a Thames Estuary airport is not a viable option.

By advocating the Thames Estuary airport Boris wanted to take the focus off Heathrow expansion, but by backing such an ill-advised, economically and environmentally unfeasible scheme he only succeeded in putting the focus back on Heathrow, although other options may make more sense.

I welcome the decision by the Transport Select Committee to reject a new hub airport in or around the Thames Estuary. It is a huge boost for the thousands of residents across Medway, particularly those living on the Hoo Peninsula, who are opposed to such proposals. However, it is important that we stay focused on our ultimate goal of seeing off these pie in the sky plans once and for all.”

Cllr Rodney Chambers, Leader of Medway Council, added:

“We welcome the news that, after months of detailed and rigorous study – which included commissioning research from independent aviation experts – the House of Commons Transport Select Committee has firmly rejected plans for a Thames Estuary airport.

This confirms what we’ve always known, and have campaigned loudly about – that the Thames Estuary airport is a non-starter.

The committee’s report says a Thames Estuary airport wouldn’t work because of the phenomenal cost to the public purse of building the transport infrastructure needed to get to it, as well as the devastating effect it would have on wildlife in the estuary – an area of international importance used by more than 300,000 migrating birds annually.

Medway Council, and its campaign partners have been saying exactly this as well as a number of other reasons why there should not be a Thames Estuary airport since the pie in the sky scheme was first put forward by the Mayor of London in 2008.”

Launching the report of an inquiry which examined the UK Government’s Aviation Strategy, Louise Ellman, Chair of the House of Commons’ Transport Committee said:

“We looked closely at the three main options by which the UK could increase its hub airport capacity. Research we commissioned made plain that building an entirely new hub airport east of London could not be done without huge public investment in new ground transport infrastructure. Evidence to our inquiry also showed a substantial potential impact on wildlife habitat in the Thames estuary.

The viability of an estuary hub airport would also require the closure of Heathrow – a course of action that would have unacceptable consequences for individuals, businesses in the vicinity of the existing airport and the local economy.”

Download the full report – Click Here

2 Comments

Filed under boris johnson, conservatives, estuary airport, Heathrow, hoo peninsula, isle of grain, Lord Foster, mark reckless, medway, medway council, No Estuary Airport, rochester, rochester and strood, strood, Thames Hub, transport

MP hails overwhelming response to No Estuary Airport campaign

250320134205Mark Reckless MP is considering extending his ‘No Estuary Airport’ campaign to the whole of the Rochester and Strood constituency following an overwhelming response from residents on the Hoo Peninsula.

Over 3,700 residents have so far returned their ballot out of around 10,000 that were initially sent out. The online petition on Mark’s website has also garnered significant outside support, ranging geographically from Rainham to Twickenham to Surrey.

Over 95% of those who have responded so far oppose the proposals for an airport in or around the Thames Estuary.

Mark will now be leading teams of volunteers going door to door with a petition across much of the Hoo Peninsula calling on households who have yet to return their ballot.

Speaking of the campaign success, Mark Reckless MP said:

“I have been overwhelmed by the response to my ‘No Estuary Airport’ ballot. Local councillors, activists and residents have been working their socks off to get the ballot paper to every household on the Hoo Peninsula and the interim result speaks for itself – with over 95% of Hoo Peninsula residents clearly saying that they oppose these pie in the sky proposals.

Estimates of the cost of building a new airport in the Thames Estuary range from £70-100 billion, which could add £50 to the cost of every plane ticket sold. The airlines don’t want it, residents in West London who would lose their jobs don’t want it, and now we can conclusively say that residents on the Hoo Peninsula, those who would be most impacted, don’t want it.

I am grateful to everyone who has given their time to deliver the ballots, and I would like to thank all of the residents who have responded to date. I am hopeful that we can now expand my No Estuary Airport campaign to the rest of the Rochester and Strood constituency. If anyone would like to make a donation to help me do so, please get in touch.”

Cllr Chris Buckwell, Chairman of St James Isle of Grain Parish Council, added:

‘The number of people who have completed and returned the voting forms about the airport consultation exceeds the number of people who went in person to vote in the Police & Crime Commissioner elections last November.

I think that’s a very significant achievement and all credit to Mark Reckless and all in the team who have helped. It has been a great exercise and the most responsive that I think has been had across the Medway towns, other than an ordinary election, for many, many years’

Cllr Chris Irvine, Medway Councillor for Peninsula Ward, said:

‘The response which we’ve received to Mark’s ‘No Estuary Airport’ campaign has been quite staggering, far exceeding the turnout in last Novembers PCC elections. I’d like to thank everybody who has helped with the campaign to date. It is vital that we keep saying it loud and clear – No Estuary Airport!’

3 Comments

Filed under boris johnson, Cllr Chris Irvine, conservatives, Environment, estuary airport, Heathrow, hoo peninsula, isle of grain, Lord Foster, mark reckless, medway, No Estuary Airport, poll, Referendum, rochester and strood, Thames Hub, transport