As you may well be aware, the Airports Commission has just issued its Interim Report which shortlists options for additional UK airport capacity.
The Airports Commission has shortlisted two proposals to expand Heathrow and one proposal to expand Gatwick. Regarding a Thames Estuary Airport the Report states:
“The Commission has not shortlisted any of the Thames Estuary options because there are too many uncertainties and challenges surrounding them at this stage. It will undertake further study of the Isle of Grain option in the first half of 2014 and will reach a view later next year on whether that option offers a credible proposal for consideration alongside the other short-listed options.”
I welcome the fact that a Thames Estuary Airport has not been shortlisted, but I am concerned that the Commission’s study of a Grain option next year will cause further unnecessary blight and worry for local residents.
I am also concerned that improper political pressure from London’s Mayor or from within government on an independent commission may have led to “further study” of a Grain option, rather than it being ruled out in the Interim Report, as I believe it should have been. I will be asking further questions to clarify how this decision was made.
Although a study on the feasibility of a Grain option will be undertaken next year, I believe that further examination by the Airports Commission will further highlight how unworkable this pie in the sky proposal is, and that it will be rejected. In particular, I note that Howard Davies has said that this proposal cannot be taken forward under environmental legislation if there are other plausible options, and that it would cost an almost unimaginably large amount, £82-112 billion, more than five times the cost of the three options shortlisted.
I will do everything in my power to get a Thames Estuary airport ruled out once and for all and will consult local residents in the New Year about how best to do this. I would like to thank you for the support which you have given so far, and ask you not to worry, as together we will defeat these proposals.