Mark Reckless MP speaks to ITV Meridian News about the Airports Commission’s Interim Report and questions whether there has been a level of ‘political interference’ in the Commission’s decision to investigate further the feasibility of a site on the Isle of Grain.
Tag Archives: Boris Johnson
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.”
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).
“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.”
Mark 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.”
Following the huge response from residents living on the Hoo Peninsula, Mark Reckless MP has launched his No Estuary Airport petition to the rest of the Rochester and Strood constituency after months of planning and campaigning.
Mark Reckless was joined by local residents, activists and councillors in Strood for the launch of his extended campaign on Sunday 14th July to help distribute thousands of ballot papers to local residents, inviting them to finally have their say on a possible airport in the Thames Estuary region.
Leading the team on Sunday, Mark Reckless said:
“The Mayor of London initially proposed building an airport on an artificial ‘Boris Island’ north of the Isle of Sheppey, which he was then forced to rule out. Now he’s saying he supports Lord Foster’s proposal to build an airport over the north-east of the Hoo Peninsula and reclaimed land beyond. Boris, like his pie in the sky airport fantasy, is all over the place.
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 plan for an airport at Cliffe. While there is no similar proposal from the government this time, the independent Davies Commission, which is looking into the issue of airport capacity in the South East and which recently accepted my invitation to tour the Hoo Peninsula, will be producing an interim report later this year and a final report in 2015.
I am now asking all residents in Rochester and Strood from Halling to High Halstow, Chatham to Cuxton to sign my petition and contact the Davies Commission to expose the weakness of the arguments for a Thames Estuary airport.”
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.