Labour’s environment spokesman on the London Assembly, Murad Qureshi, has called on the Tories to come clean about their aviation plans after a report for Boris Johnson said his idea to build a new airport in the Thames could go ahead after the general election.
Nationally, the Conservatives say they will halt airport expansion in south east England. But Boris Johnson today threw their plans into chaos as his proposal to build a new, four runway airport in the Thames Estuary moved a step closer. A feasibility study about to be published will reportedly say "a further airport is required by or before 2030" and assumes that "agreement to the next the stage is given from 1st June 2010" – potentially days after the next general election.
Murad Qureshi, Labour’s environment spokesman on the London Assembly, said: "The Tories need to come clean about their airport plans. They say they don’t want any more runways but their most senior elected member would build four of them and a whole new airport in the Thames.
"It would be devastating for the environment, an expensive, logistical nightmare and has the potential for dangerous bird strikes. David Cameron needs to tell us whether this is fantasy island or Tory policy."
In a blow to the business case for a new airport, a seperate City Hall report published in April found that, "New airport capacity placed far from Central London may not be appealing to airport users and will not see high use of public transport, particularly if new capacity is also sited far from existing urban centres outside London."
More information about Doug Oakervee’s feasibility study can be found here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/8312924.stm
The GLA’s report into airport choice in Greater London can be read here: http://www.london.gov.uk/mayor/economic_unit/docs/wp_35.pdf
Aviation minister, Lord Adonis, today told the BBC’s Politics Show that the Thames Estuary airport idea was "pie in the sky" and that the government doesn’t regard it "as any way credible".
Shadow transport minister, Theresa Villiers, told the House of Commons on 28 January 2009 the Thames Estuary airport was "not an option that we are looking at at the moment". But Conservative MP, Bernard Jenkin, told the BBC’s Politics Show that Ms Villiers "was not ruling it out". Jenkin said that if the Tories "could prove that this was fundable and financeable" and could "win hearts in minds in north Kent and south Essex constituencies" then "this idea will be properly in play".