aaa Southend West MP attacks Boris Johnson’s Thames Estuary airport plan

15th February 2012 in


PLANS for an airport in the Thames Estuary have been dismissed as “absolutely barking mad” by Tory MP David Amess.

Mr Amess, MP for Southend West, was one of a handful of speakers at a public meeting in Leigh which discussed the idea of a new airport in the Thames.

The meeting, at Leigh Community Centre in Elm Road, was called by South East Essex Friends of the Earth under the No Estuary Airport Campaign banner.

Mr Amess told the meeting: “This proposal is absolutely barking mad. The suggestion we need an airport in the Thames Estuary is totally misjudged and totally inappropriate.

“We are looking at about £50billion and it’s suggested it will come from private money, but there is not that amount available for this scheme.”

About 70 residents were at the meeting which was aimed at drumming up support to fight proposals for a new international airport which could be just off the coast of Southend and Canvey.

Mr Amess said he has already registered his opposition with Prime Minister David Cameron.

Leigh fisherman Paul Gilson told the meeting: “This is my river.

“One of my problems is I am outspoken, but this is my river and I will do my best to protect it.”

He said if work went ahead, it would impact on fish stocks, lead to a rise in the water level and pose a danger to the explosive-laden shipwreck the SS Richard Montgomery, which lies off the Southend shoreline.

Peter Wexham, Southend Lib Dem councillor representing Leigh, said: The biggest loser would be the natural environment as it would present major problems to the habitat of small creatures in the estuary, the likes of cockles.”

Mr Wexham answered a question from a resident and said a new airport in the estuary would threaten the future of Southend Airport as the two could not operate together.

Other speakers included David Hedges, Essex area manager for the RSPB, who said marshland around the estuary was among the best in Europe for wildlife and it must be protected, and George Crozer, of the Friends of North Kent Marshes, who said the fight against an estuary airport had been ongoing since 1947.

Keith Taylor, Green MEP for South East England, also spoke about harmful emissions, noise and pollution.

The Government is set to launch a public consultation on the idea next month.