MPs sign up to back Thames airport on ‘Boris Island’

1.7.2010 (Evening Standard)

by Joe Murphy, Political Editor

Thames Estuary Airport plans

Vision: how the Mayor’s plans for a Thames Estuary airport have been envisaged

An all-party group of MPs has formed at Westminster to rescue Boris Johnson‘s controversial vision of an island airport in the Thames Estuary.

More than 20 MPs have signed up to campaign for a new offshore airport — dubbed
Boris Island — to supplant
Heathrow as Britain’s main air passenger hub.

Mr Johnson caused ructions two years ago with his call for a four-runway 24-hour
airport on an artificial island off Sheppey in

He argued it could be expanded to six runways and would link to London in 35 minutes by High Speed rail.

However, it received no backing from the Conservative leadership, while Labour,
which backed Heathrow’s doomed third runway, claimed it would be an environmental
disaster and unsafe for planes.

Tory MP Bernard Jenkin, who formed the new group of supporters, said it was seen by many MPs as the
best long-term solution to London’s air needs.

"It is only a matter of time before the pressure returns for in increase in air
capacity because we do not have an international hub comparable with
Frankfurt, Schipol or Charles de Gaulle,” he said.

“We need to make the arguments now about the benefits of concentrating growth

However, his email appeal for members was given short shrift by Kent Tory MPs.

"I will be fighting with every sinew any proposal for an airport in the Thames
Estuary and do not therefore wish to be part of this group," retorted Thurrock
MP Jackie Doyle-Price.

Sittingbourne and Sheppey MP Gordon Henderson responded: "Dear Bernard, As somebody
who represents the Isle of Sheppey, the community that will be hardest hit by
any airport in the Thames Estuary, I am totally opposed to this proposal."


and there are many comments, under the article, many of which are sensible.


More information and news about “Boris Island” airport:


Comments from AirportWatch members:

I expect that there are many arguments for placing London’s main airport offshore,
but it does not make any sense to replace Heathrow and Gatwick now that they have
been established.  The economic disruption

would be enormous.  Aviation is likely to decline as oil prices rise and environmental
pressures grow so the local economies around Heathrow and Gatwick are already
at risk.   The noise benefits would be

great but there would be other environmental costs.    

One argument surrounding this issue is “Don’t spend money on infrastructure that
you aren’t going to be able to use”.   The focus must be on limiting aviation,
not spending more money on useless infrastructure.

A Boris Island airport is llikely to seriously harm the economy and employment
in West London. The UK  should be planning for a declining aviation industry, not
a expanding one. Although fewer people would be affected by noise at Boris Island
than at Heathrow, it will bring noise to new areas; and the cost of all the infrastructure
required would be excessively high.   However, we may  nonsense about it now that
the other new runways are off the agenda.

My fear is that the problem would simply be moved to another area – an area where
there are huge housing plans as part of the Thames Gateway (but already considerable
amounts of establised housing). We don’t really hear anything about the how the
people/communities of north kent/Essex and Sheppey would be affected in these
news articles (apart from the council’s objection) – it’s as if the area is unhabited,
and it most certainly is not.   In addition I fear that any decline of flights
from Heathrow would quickly creep back to where they are now and the same push
would return for expansion in every way.    

London West and East Major Airports on top of all the other airports in and around
London/SE . It’s a recipe for disaster. It’s not a recipe to resolve the issue,
it will simply expand the issues and misery.

The Port of London Authority said it would not allow this mad idea of Boris’s
to happen, ever, and that the site is unsuitable and has become more so since
the arrival of the wind farms just east of Sheppey.

One usual response from Kent/Medway councils  is don’t worry about Boris Island,
but use Manston – which is current not being  used much.     However, there are 40,000
residents whose homes are sited close to the runway at Manston, with the closest
0.8miles from the end of the runway.   Their lives would be made a misery by Manston

The RUCATSE (Runway Capacity in the SE) Working Group in the early 1990’s discussed
detailed plans for a new airport to be called ‘Marinair’ in the Thames Estuary.  
The chairman of the company that drew up the plans and had raised finance for
it was Bernard’s father, Patrick (later Lord) Jenkin.   It made more sense then
than now, but was rubbished by the aviation industry.