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Estuary Airport is 'huge financial and environmental risk'

Boris Johnson’s plans to build an airport in the Thames Estuary have suffered a serious blow after a new study concluded it would cause ‘huge environmental financial and safety risks’

The feasibility study for the Airports Commission, which was carried out by Jacobs, claimed the habitat loss from the new airport would cause huge problems for hundreds of thousands of migrating birds and could cost £2billion.

A previous study by Foster + Partners had estimated the cost of habitat relocation at £500million.

The mudflats and marshes of the Thames Estuary are home to a number of migratory bids which nest on boths the north and south of the estuary. The area is also home to several sites of special scientific interest.

The report states that moving this number of wildlife is ‘technically possible’ but is on an unprecedented scale for the UK.

The study is one of four which have been compiled for the Airports Commission which aim to look at different aspects of the Thames Estuary airport. The other schemes include social-economic issues, surface access and a study on airline behaviour.

The reports have been commissioned to give a more detailed information on whether the Thames Estuary scheme should be included in the final report Howard Davies presents to the government after the next general election over the options for future airport capacity in the South East.

The Jacbo’s research found that even if replacement a replacement habitat could be found, the airport would still be at a ‘high risk’ of a lethal bird strike.

Reacting to the study London Assembly Labour Group Transport Spokesperson, Val Shawcross, said: ‘The idea of a Thames Estuary airport has long been dead in the water, but if a final nail in the coffin was needed, this is surely it.

‘Boris has wasted millions of pounds on this vanity project. With this latest report in mind, he needs to accept that the evidence is now totally against him and that no more public money should be spent pursuing a Thames Estuary airport.’

Readers' comments (4)

  • It's amazing how the prospect of Heathrow as juicy development land could entice Boris into promoting an enormous lemon.

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  • i'm still stunned by the cognitive disconnects laid out here. If we don't drastically curb our emissions soon, this bit of the South East will be at risk of flooding within a financially risky timescale, and building more airports makes the hope of curbing those emissions that much more remote.
    If we can't wean ourselves off the assumption of the need to travel so much we need to find another way of doing it.

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  • you don't work at Fosters then?

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  • I like the idea of travelling being the culprit. I worked on the scheme in the late 1960s and the Architect with Bernard Clarke, Structural Engineers who were promoting it, took me sailing from Burnham on Crouch to see the site. Very windy; it rained a lot; I was still weaving about on arrival at Liverpool Street after 2 days at sea; taxis dubious about whether to pick me up or not.

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