After several years of uncertainty and blight caused by the pie in the sky proposals to build an airport on the Isle of Grain, I am delighted that the Airports Commission has finally ruled out an airport in the Thames Estuary. The news that the Commission has found that the proposals for a new airport in the Inner Thames Estuary has substantial disadvantages and is not a credible option will, I’m sure, be welcomed by the majority of my constituents.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your contributions and the support which, I believe, has added weight to both the work which I have done locally and in Parliament, and to the wider No Estuary Airport campaign. The Airports Commission reported receiving hundreds of submissions to their consultations from Rochester and Strood residents, and in my Estuary Airport ballot 92.6% of constituents said that they did not support these pie in the sky proposals.
Throughout this process I have sponsored and participated in a number of activities to highlight the negative impact which a Thames Estuary Airport would have on our region. I have continuously contributed to the Airports Commission’s consultations and invited them to several important seminars which I hosted in Parliament with aviation, economic and environmental experts. These efforts resulted in the Airports Commission recognising a number of my arguments in their feasibility studies, such as the cost of a Thames Estuary Airport at £148 billion and that landing charges could be around 2.5 to 3 times higher than at Heathrow.
Much of the work which I and others have done began over a decade ago when we campaigned against an airport at Cliffe. I believe that we finally have a decision so conclusive that surely even the Mayor of London cannot overrule it, leaving our residents safe to enjoy the diverse landscape and habitats of the Hoo Peninsula.
My thanks again for the support and input which you and many others have provided throughout this campaign.