Tag Archives: thames estuary

We Win! Estuary Airport ruled out by Airports Commission


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.


Mark Reckless urges residents to respond to Thames Estuary airport consultation


Mark Reckless MP with residents and Parish Councillors in Grain

In a letter being sent out to thousands of residents in the Rochester and Strood constituency, Mark Reckless, MP for Rochester and Strood, is urging as many people as possible to respond to the Airports Commission further consultation, which closes on 23rd May 2014, on proposals for an airport to be built in the Thames Estuary.

In his letter, Mark Reckless states:

I am writing with further details of the study which the Airports Commission is currently undertaking regarding the feasibility (or otherwise!) of building an airport in the ‘Inner Thames Estuary’ on or near the Isle of Grain.

In its Interim Report published on 17th December the Commission, led by Howard Davies, said that proposals put forward by the Mayor of London and others had not been shown to be credible and were not short-listed to be taken forward. It instead short-listed a second runway at Gatwick and two options for a third runway at Heathrow. However, we must still deal with a further ‘study’ regarding the Isle of Grain.

The study includes a consultation, which closes on 23 May 2014, and calls for evidence and views to inform the Commission’s study in four main areas: environmental impacts; operational feasibility and the attitude of the airline industry; socio-economic impacts; and surface access impacts. If you would like to read the relevant section of the Interim Report you can find it at http://goo.gl/ARSDkW on pages 179-187.

I would encourage you to contact the Commission with any comments you have on a Thames Estuary Airport. Their email address is estuary.studies@airports.gsi.gov.uk and you may also copy to me at mark.reckless.mp@parliament.uk. Points which I am making include:

  • Building an airport here would devastate key nature and environmental reserves that are protected under British and international law, making this illegal if there is any alternative, and the Commission has already short-listed three alternatives as credible.
  • There are large potential risks of flood and bird strike at the proposed Isle of Grain site, which is on a coastal flood plain and estuary, and people do not want to be ‘regenerated’ if they chose to live where it is peaceful and away from noise.
  • An Isle of Grain airport would cost £82-112billion, more than five times the cost of the Gatwick and Heathrow options shortlisted, twice the cost of HS2, and enough to add £50 to every plane ticket, hurting the poor and damaging the whole UK economy.

I have said I will do everything in my power to stop a Thames Estuary Airport and hope we can together use this study to get it ruled out once and for all. Thank you.


MP urges residents to respond to Southend airport consultation

Mark Reckless MP is calling on Rochester and Strood residents to respond to the proposals by London Southend Airport to re-establish controlled airspace around the airport which could result in an increase of low-level flights over Medway.

Mark is particularly concerned for residents living on the Hoo Peninsula and St Mary’s Island who would be most impacted should this large area of controlled-airspace be established. However, potentially all residents living in Medway could see their lives and homes blighted by increased noise and pollution, though to a far lesser degree than if the Thames Estuary Airport went ahead, and Mark is urging everyone to respond to the consultation before the closing date of 13th December 2013.

While the proposal is quite technical and complex, to summarise; Southend Airport is proposing to establish a large area of controlled airspace below the existing London controlled airspace. It would stretch from Rochester to Walton-on-the-Naze and from Maldon to the Isle of Sheppey covering some 2000 sq km:

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  • Where the existing controlled airspace has a base of 4500ft, 5500ft or 8500ft it would be lowered to 3500ft.
  • Where the existing controlled airspace has a base of 3500ft amsl it would be lowered to 2500ft, 1500ft or to the surface depending on the section

Mark is in agreement with The Royal Aero Club of The UK which believes the proposals are unreasonable and contrary to existing airspace principals. It would exclude other airspace users and have significant implications for those living beneath the proposed airspace.

Mark believes aircraft using the airport should be integrated into the existing London controlled airspace which already overlays the whole are and not fly lower than those using Stansted and Heathrow. Southend’s proposal would increase noise and air pollution for local residents, as well as presenting access and potential safety issues for other airspace users such as Rochester Airport and Medway Airsports Club.

Although the consultation document suggests there will be no environmental impact near the airfield and reduced noise exposure further away, this proposal will lower the base of controlled airspace over the whole area enabling substantial numbers of jet aircraft to fly below the existing London Terminal Control Area. The number of jet aircraft flights using London Southend Airport last year was 8,000, but the consultation document proposes to increase this to some 26,000 jet flights by 2020 and the airport already has planning permission to increase the total to 53,300 flights per year. This means that a wide area of Essex and North Kent would be exposed to more disturbance from aircraft noise and pollution than at present, both day and night. Once the controlled airspace is approved there is unlikely to be any means to challenge it effectively.

200241_10150165354751068_5938208_nUrging constituents to respond to the consultation, Mark Reckless said:

“I do not support the establishment of the proposed airspace because of the significant negative impact which it would have on us all. Residents living on the Hoo Peninsula already experience increased noise and pollution due to frequent low-level flights into Southend Airport which we were never consulted on.

At a time when we are fighting off proposals for a Thames Estuary Airport, I am concerned that residents now have the threat of increased low-level flights into Southend Airport and all the concerns which that will bring, albeit on a lesser scale. However, many of the same concerns regarding the Estuary Airport – noise, pollution, increased danger of bird strike – apply equally to flights into Southend which may come in low over the North Kent Marshes.

I am asking all concerned residents to make sure they respond to the consultation by writing directly to London Southend Airport.”

Responses can be made to the e-mail address lsacas@stobartair.com or in writing to:

Ms Sam Petrie
Airport Development Coordinator
London Southend Airport

Please indicate clearly that this is a RESPONSE to the consultation in the subject heading. The consultation closes on 13th December 2013.

View Consultation Document with information on how to respond – Click Here

Future Airspace Strategy – Click Here

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.

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.

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.


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.”

Mark Reckless launches constituency-wide ballot on 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.”

Sign The Petition Online – Click Here or email Mark Reckless if you would like to help with the campaign.