December 13 2013 Latest news:
Monday, October 28, 2013
Plans for a controversial “Boris Island” airport would attract more international business to the region, according to an Essex MP who has given it strong backing.
Bernard Jenkin, who will write to Sir Howard Davies’s airports commission this week to make the case for the controversial Thames Estuary airport, claims the move would promote economic growth on land which cannot currently be developed because of the flood risk
Sir Howard’s inquiry is looking at options for maintaining the UK as an international hub for aviation. Next month the commission reaches an important stage when it will list a handful of possible runway sites to be studied in more detail.
The Harwich and North Essex MP claims that a Thames Estuary airport - dubbed “Boris Island” because it is backed by the Mayor of London - would be considerably more accessible to business and commerce in Essex.
He said: “It is envisaged that there will be a ‘Third Thames Crossing’ to join the A130 to North Kent; and that this would be a road and rail crossing; with a second Thames barrier on top, to protect the upper Thames Estuary from rising sea levels.
“This would make Essex an attractive home for more international business HQ’s like Ford at Brentwood, where I used to work. “This would also have the effect of promoting economic growth in South Essex and North Kent, particularly where land currently cannot be developed because of flood risk.”
He dismissed concerns about noise from a new vast international hub saying; “It is also a fact that Essex is more affected by aircraft stacking and approaching London Heathrow, than we would be disturbed by a Thames Estuary airport. Even in Southend, they would see it at night, but not hear very much if anything at all.”
He believes Stansted expansion is a “non-starter” saying it was environmentally and socially unacceptable, with the cost of the infrastructure just about the most expensive of all.
In a joint article in The Times Mr Jenkin said the Thames hub on the Isle of Grain was the most achievable option.
He called for an end to the “patch-and-mend” approach that has afflicted air travellers since the 1970s, when the plans for an offshore airport at Maplin Sands in the Thames estuary were abandoned.
A proposals for a third runway at Heathrow Airport faced huge opposition and was abandoned after the 2010 general election, with politicians in marginal seats wary of proposals for Heathrow expansion.
Mr Jenkin said that the Thames hub airport was the only practical and environmentally acceptable solution.
The Thames Estuary airport plans include a four-runway airport which could handle up to 150 million passengers a year.
It would be located on reclaimed land on the sparsely populated Isle of Grain in Kent.
Mr Jenkin claims it would be a modern, integrated, 24-hour facility like Dubai, or Schiphol in Amsterdam, not the hotchpotch that is today’s “traveller’s nightmare and has to close at night.
He said the bird habitat could be replicated and replaced — or even increased and it was also the best safety option, because there would be no more flying over densely populated areas.
“It is the best noise option, because the aircraft would approach over water instead of over millions of homes. It is the best for air quality, because stacking over London would be eliminated.”