London Mayor Boris Johnson’s proposed plans for a new London airport on the Isle of Grain in the Thames Estuary have been rejected by the Airports Commission in the UK. Nicknamed Boris Island, the proposals were rejected because of fears about the huge costs involved and potential environmental issues.
There has been growing concerns about London airspace as air traffic continues to rise. Both Heathrow and Gatwick airports have also been discussed for expansion with either additional runways or extended runways to allow both take off and landings at the same time.
The Thames Estuary project was seen as a way of making use of substantial free land around London freeing up the already congested airspace around Heathrow.
The Airports Commission has been tasked with examining ways UK airports can be improved and will deliver its findings after the 2015 general election. Commenting on Boris Island Commission chairman Sir Howard Davies said: “We are not persuaded that a very large airport in the Thames estuary is the right answer to London’s and the UK’s connectivity needs.
“While we recognise the need for a hub airport, we believe this should be a part of an effective system of competing airports to meet the needs of a widely spread and diverse market like London’s.
“There are serious doubts about the delivery and operation of a very large hub airport in the estuary.
“The economic disruption would be huge and there are environmental hurdles which it may prove impossible, or very time-consuming to surmount,”
Boris Johnson however has not given up hope for the Thames estuary site “In one myopic stroke, the Airports Commission has set the debate back by half a century and consigned their work to the long list of vertically filed reports on aviation expansion that are gathering dust on a shelf in Whitehall.
“Gatwick is not a long-term solution and [Sir] Howard Davies must explain to the people of London how he can possibly envisage that an expansion of Heathrow, which would create unbelievable levels of noise, blight and pollution, is a better idea than a new airport to the east of London that he himself admits is visionary, and which would create the jobs and growth this country needs to remain competitive.”