FoI request reveals TfL has spent £1.4 million so far, with a budget of £3 million, on promoting Thames estuary airport (or Stansted)
Figures from Transport for London (TfL) – obtained from a Freedom of Information request – show Boris Johnson has spent £1.4 million promoting the idea of a Thames Estuary airport. Some £1.2 million has gone to paying consultancy fees, for work such as looking at environmental impacts of an airport and the infrastructure that would need to be built. £15,000 was spent on hiring College Public Policy, a consultancy group, to help with TfL’s submission to the Airports Commission. In contrast, Medway Council budgeted £50,000 in 2012 to fight against the airport, although it is not clear how much of this was spent. Boris backs building the airport, which would be the world’s biggest airport, at Grain. This would have 4 runways and operate 24 hours a day. “Boris has been throwing away public money on his flight of fancy and it needs to stop” – Mark Reckless MP. TfL say in May 2011, £200,000 was set aside by TfL to consider the options for expanding the country’s aviation capacity. A further £3 million has been budgeted by TfL up until April 2014, of which there is around £1.7 million remaining.
Mayor Boris Johnson spends £1.4m on promoting ‘flight of fancy’ of Thames Estuary airport
Boris Johnson has spent £1.4 million promoting the idea of a Thames Estuary airport.
Figures released by Transport for London [see details of FoI request below] reveal the London Mayor’s huge financial commitment to pushing a project which would irrevocably change the Towns.
Since 2010 a total of £1,435,682 has been spent by TfL. The bulk of the cash, around £1.2 million, has gone to paying consultancy fees.
This has been given to companies which have carried out work looking at issues such as the environmental impacts of an airport and the infrastructure that would need to be built.
In May 2011, £200,000 was set aside [by TfL] to consider the options for expanding the country’s aviation capacity.
A further £3 million has been budgeted [by TfL] up until April 2014, of which there is around £1.7 million remaining. This means the total spending could rise to £3 million.
Boris’s bill easily dwarfs the resources of the anti-airport campaign. Medway Council budgeted £50,000 in 2012 to fight against the airport, although it is not clear how much of this was spent.
In the current financial year, £15,000 was spent on hiring College Public Policy, a consultancy group, to help with their submission to the government’s Airports Commission.
The revelations come ahead of an interim report by the commission due in December.
This will include a short-list of the best options for expanding the country’s aviation capacity. A full report with final recommendations is due after the 2015 election.
Mr Johnson backs building the world’s biggest airport at Grain. This would have four runways and operate 24 hours a day.
Other options put forward by the capital’s mayor are building an airport in the Thames Estuary itself, or expanding Stansted Airport in Essex. Cliffe has also been proposed as a site by former Cathay Pacific executive John Olsen.
MP for Rochester and Strood Mark Reckless, who had a meeting with the commission’s head Sir Howard Davies this week, said: “Boris has been throwing away public money on his flight of fancy and it needs to stop.”
He pointed out that despite the expenditure, the Mayor had managed to get his figures wrong in his submission to the commission. The cost to the government of building an airport at Grain is calculated at £25 billion, when in fact the figures listed add up to £39 billion.
This is the text of the FoI request response, sent on 16th September:
TfL Ref: 0743-1314
Thank you for your emails received by Transport for London (TfL) on 26
July and 16 August 2013 asking for information about how much money has
been spent by the Mayor of London promoting plans for a Thames Estuary
airport since 2008.
Your request has been considered in accordance with the requirements of
the Environmental Information Regulations and our information access
policy. I can confirm that we do hold the information you require.
In May 2011, the Mayor of London issued a Mayoral Direction (MD806) to TfL
to assess issues associated with the Government’s aviation policy review,
which was announced in October 2010. This direction secured a budget from
within TfL of £200,000 for that work of which £150,000 was spent on
technical consultancy support, (including three full time staff) and
£50,000 on the preparation and printing of technical publications, across
the 2011/12 and 2012/13 financial years.
In November 2012, the Mayor issued a further Direction (MD1080) in
response to the Government’s announcement setting up the Davies Commission
in September 2012. This Direction secured a budget from within TfL of £3
million up to April 2014. Copies of both of these Mayoral Direction forms
can be found at:
As a result of work undertaken by Transport for London (TfL), the Mayor
believes there are three strong options for a new hub airport serving
London, all located east of the Capital. These are:
· Building a new hub airport at the Isle of Grain (inner Thames
· Building a new hub airport in the outer Thames Estuary
· Enlarging Stansted airport
At the time of your request invoices and payments totalling £28,828
(excluding VAT) have been approved to be paid from the £3 million budget
agreed in November 2012 in the 2012/13 financial year.
At the time of your request invoices and payments totalling £1,206,854
(excluding VAT) had been approved in the 2013/14 financial year.
The consultants we have engaged to provide support on aviation are listed
in the table below. Expenses are also paid to a group of respected
individuals who provide independent peer review advice to TfL.
There was no expenditure between 2007 – 2010.
Consultants Invoices paid
(01 Nov 2012 – 26 July 2013)
Lot 1 – Airport infrastructure
Pascall and Watson (sub contracted to Atkins)
Zaha Hadid Architects (sub contracted to
Lot 2 – Surface Access £227,555
Lot 3 – Environmental impacts £73,095
Lot 4 – Socio Economic impacts
Oxford Economics (subcontracted to Ramboll) £86,770
Lot 4 – Socio Economic impacts
York Aviation £44,799
Lot 4 – Socio Economic impacts
Cambridge Econometrics £7,430
Lot 5 – Commercial £292,979
Ernst & Young
Lot 6 – Legal and regulatory £171,970
Client side support
Geoff Copley £7,425
Guy Lavis Consulting £42,891
Peer Review expenses £10,500
Stakeholder engagement £22,000 (approx)
If this is not the information you are looking for, or if you are unable
to access it for some reason, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Please see the attached information sheet for details of your right to
appeal as well as information on copyright and what to do if you would
like to re-use any of the information we have disclosed.
A FoI request was sent to the Greater London Authority on 27th June 2013 , asking:
“I would like to know how much money has been spent by the Mayor of London promoting plans for a Thames Estuary airport, also known as Boris Island, since he was elected in 2008.
“If possible I would like a breakdown of spending by year and a breakdown of each item of spending.
“Please note, I do not require any information that might break Data Protection laws or identify staff. “
but received the response (below) on 24th July 2013.
“The Greater London Authority does not hold the information you request. The Mayor
has asked 111 to investigate the feasibility of a Thames estuary airport, and therefore
you may wish to request to ask TfL to reply to you directly.”