Thames Estuary airport plans delayed until next year

 The final nail in the coffin of plans to build a huge Thames Estuary airport may not be hammered in until next year, according to The Times. It says ministers have ruled out making any decision on the issue until mid-2012 – and even then are likely to reject the proposals. Ministers are dubious of the viability of either scheme with the biggest stumbling block being the cost of the project, as well as adverse impacts on jobs and the economy round Heathrow.


21.11.2011 (Kent News)

Thames Estuary airport plans delayed until next year

The final nail in the coffin of plans to build a huge new airport in the Thames Estuary may not be hammered in until next year, according to a report this morning.

The Times newspaper says Government ministers have ruled out making any decision on calls for a new airport hub until mid-2012 – and even then are likely to reject the proposals.

Two schemes have been put forward – one by Boris Johnson, dubbed Boris Island, and the other off the Isle of Grain by Lord Foster.

According to the Times report, ministers are dubious of the viability of either scheme with the biggest stumbling block being the cost of the project and also mentions issues such as the SS Richard Montgomery, the sunken US warship, which sits on the floor of the sea around the Isle of Sheppey packed with high explosive.

Just last week Rochester and Strood MP Mark Reckless received a letter from the Aviation Minister vowing the Government had no plans for a new airport and would rather invest in existing infrastructure.


The Times article, entitled

Ministers refuse to back plan for airport

is at

It says Ministers, even next year, are unlikely to back the idea because of huge “practical difficulties” that they do not think can be overcome. 

The article,  (see below) in the Mail yesterday suggested that George Osborne, would back the scheme. But the Times does not consider this likely.  The Treasury has not yet begun considering the pla, or the other scheme put forward by Lord Foster  of an airport on the Isle of Grain, on the Kent shore of the Thames estuary.  In these difficult economic circumstances, such a huge project is a problem, and the loss of jobs and damage to the economy in the Heathrow area would be huge problems.


[AirportWatch members’ comments: 

This is likely to be a preemptive strike by the Government against Boris who is renewing his call today for an offshore airport in his IoD speech.  A message to industry that the Government needs a lot of convincing on the idea.

 There is no mention of:
1) do we need more capacity
2) are the benefits real
3) environmental impacts other than birds downing planes
4) how this can possibly be allowed within a limited carbon budget

 It feels as if we are wizzing back to the mindset of 2002 again …

Sad thing is that whilst THEY make up their minds – another area is severely blighted.  You would have thought the plight of Sipson would have been a lesson learned … ]



Another story in the Times  entitled

Estuary airport is vital for the economy, says Johnson 

21.11.2011 says that Boris believes the UK economy cannot thrive without a new London airport, and the airport is needed to keep up Britain’s economic status.   Boris is speaking  today at the Institute of Directors, and there are suggestions that his grandiose airport plans are part of his campaign to get re-elected. Boris claims that without direct flights to a number of Chinese cities, and some in Brazil, the UK is doomed, and France will get the rush of Chinese tourists and their money.


see also

Campaigners challenge London Mayor over need more airport capacity in the South East

Date added: November 21, 2011

While the Mayor of London is expected to release a report arguing for new runways, campaigners question the need for more airport capacity. Boris is expected to argue that new airport capacity in the South East will help revive the economy. AirportWatch has produced figures which show that London has a greater number of flights to the world’s main business destinations than any of its European rivals, Paris, Frankfurt and Amsterdam.  Click here to view full story…



Daily Mail article


Thames Estuary airport gets backing of Downing Street to ease pressure on air space

  • Chancellor George Osborne has apparently changed his mind on the move and is now in favour of the project
  • Supporters say the scheme will solve London’s aviation crisis
  • A railway station to be built under the new airport would be the UK’s busiest, handling 300,000 arrivals and departures a day

By Christopher Leake

Plans for a new airport in the Thames estuary have won political backing from senior figures close to David Cameron.

Steve Hilton, the Prime Minister’s strategy chief, and Chancellor George Osborne are said to have swung behind the scheme as the best way of tackling a crisis in airport capacity.


Big sell: The Thames Hub will have a high speed railway station under it running across the UK and into Europe

In July, The Mail on Sunday revealed Mr Hilton had joined forces with London Mayor Boris Johnson to persuade Mr Cameron to drop his opposition to plans for an airport off the Isle of Sheppey in Kent, nicknamed ‘Boris Island’.

Now senior Government sources have confirmed that although no formal discussions have been held, support for the £40 billion hub – which would replace Heathrow  as the UK’s largest airport – is gathering pace.

A separate £50 billion Thames airport scheme has been drawn up by architect Lord Foster for the nearby Isle of Grain in Kent.

Until recently, the Isle of Sheppey idea was viewed as a bizarre plan backed only by Mr Johnson but now the Chancellor is said to have warmed to the idea.

Support: Norman Foster designed the new Wembley Stadium, and he is looking to create something similarly distinctive at the Thames Hub – with new Transport Secretary Justine Greening thought to be an ally

Philip Hammond, who did not back the scheme, was last month replaced as Transport Secretary by Justine Greening, who is seen as an ally of the project. She previously campaigned against expansion at Heathrow.

Mr Johnson is due to launch a policy paper tomorrow calling for more runways to be built.

All airports in the South East are expected to be at full capacity by 2030, which has led to growing concern among business leaders about future airport provision.

The Department for Transport is due to produce a report on aviation in 2013.

A spokesman said: ‘The concept of a Thames airport forms a useful contribution to the debate and will be considered alongside all other responses.’

The four-runway airport which will be located sparse strip of land on the Isle of Grain, in Ken was designed by architect Lord Norman Foster – who created the new Wembley Stadium.

The airport would be a modern-day feat of British engineering built on reclaimed marshland. It would include the UK’s busiest railway station, handling 300,000 passengers a day.

Planes would fly in from the north-east, primarily over water, greatly reducing the number of homes that would be affected by aircraft noise.

However not everyone has leant their support.

Councillor Rodney Chambers, leader of Medway Council in Kent, said: ‘The Isle of Grain is home to one of the world’s largest liquefied natural gas terminals, with a fifth of the UK’s gas supply offloaded by container ships and stored there.

‘We have looked at Lord Foster’s plan and he appears to want to place his fantasy Isle of Grain airport on top of the LNG plant and a power station. It beggars belief.’

Lord Foster said: ‘We need to recapture the foresight and political courage of our 19th century forebears if we are to establish a modern transport and energy infrastructure in Britain for this century and beyond. We can do it here.’


There is much more news and information about an estuary airport at

“Boris Island” or Estuary airport