The county-based campaigning organisation Protect Kent have welcomed David Cameron’s announcement of a public consultation into the proposal for airports in the Thames Estuary. The two main options currently on the table are the Grain Airport, to be sited on the Hoo Peninsula; and “Boris Island”, which is to be constructed on reclaimed land within the estuary itself.
Andrew Ogden, Campaigns Manager for Protect Kent said: “While our views on this consultation may appear to contradict our normal stance, we anticipate that this opportunity to share all of the facts and figures behind these proposals will expose them as the futile schemes they are. Over the past 60 years there have been many ventures to build airports in and around the Thames Estuary, but none have ever passed the planning stage.”
Andrew continued: “Together with other campaigning and environmental groups, we will be presenting our case against these airports in response to the consultation. We will also be calling for a referendum to be held amongst all residents likely to be impacted by these proposals, both sides of the estuary.”
Protect Kent claims there are a multitude of reasons for these airports not to go ahead, some of the main arguments being:
- The disastrous impact on large areas of land both north and south of the Thames, due not only to the airport but also from the necessary supporting infrastructure;
- The impact on local people and communities, not least from the continuous take-offs and landings, day and night;
- The environmental implications of an airport with multiple runways, particularly on air quality and tranquillity;
- The ecological importance of international significance of the chosen sites and the surrounding region;
- The negative financial viability: for a giant airport to be created off the Kent coast all three main airports around London would need to close, and the land sold off for development.
- The weakness of the business case, given the current decline in air travel and the rise of more appropriate alternatives such as high speed trains.
- The misleading messages about employment. We would not see the creation of new jobs, but the movement of employment from Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted, as airlines and businesses move their operations.