Boris island won’t get off the ground

Labour’s environmental spokesman on the London Assembly will tomorrow dismiss Boris Johnson’s proposal to build an airport in the Thames Estuary as a fantasy that will struggle to get off the ground.

Speaking ahead of a meeting of the London Assembly’s environment committee, Murad said: "Boris’ fantasy island will remain just that: a distant dream that will struggle to ever get off the ground. It has been described variously as ‘mad’, ‘horrendous’ and a ‘dead duck’ by his Tory colleagues, ‘not credible’ by the government, and ‘potentially the single biggest of environmental vandalism ever perpetuated in the UK’ by environmental groups. It is a thirty year-old fantasy that just won’t fly.

"The Mayor talks a green game, but all his actions point to someone who cares little for air quality or public health. He has halved the congestion charge zone, suspended the low emissions zone, slashed City Hall’s environment team and now wants to build a brand new environmentally disastrous airport in the Thames.

"Boris’ opposition to a third runway at Heathrow is based not on environmental concerns but nimbyish political expediency – why else would he propose building a whole new airport in an area where no one can vote him out?"

Opposition to fantasy island:

RSPB: "An airport sited in the Thames Estuary would potentially be the single biggest piece of environmental vandalism ever perpetrated in the UK, damaging or destroying huge areas of legally protected habitat."

British Air Transport Association: "…this is merely a kite flying exercise by the Mayor of London and one that cannot be seriously pursued. It may seem attractive to some in City Hall at the moment, but upon closer investigation will prove to be a non-starter."

Theresa Villiers MP (Shadow transport minister): "this is not an option at which the Conservative party is looking"

Lord Adonis (Transport minister): "Immediately post-war it would have been very sensible to build an airport in the Thames Estuary"

Cllr Paul Carter (Leader, Kent County Council): "Environmentally and ecologically it’s a very bad idea to build an airport off one of the most beautiful coastlines in the South East. To say it will be an eyesore is the understatement of the year. It would be totally horrendous."

Cllr Nigel Holdcroft (Leader, Southend Council): "We have all been here before and we keep on hearing about these plans. It is not even a realistic option."

Gordon Henderson (Conservative candidate, Sheppey): "Boris Island is a dead duck before it’s even been hatched"

Cllr James Cottis (Conservative, Rochester): "The plans for building an airport, with rail and other infrastructure coming through this part of the county are mad."   

The London Assembly’s environment committee will meet to discuss London’s air quality tomorrow (4 Feb 2009) at City Hall at 10am.