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Mayor says Thames Airport would 'support more jobs'

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson has claimed that a new Estuary Airport would support a third more jobs than Heathrow and more than five times as many jobs as an expanded Gatwick

The new figures, showing the number of jobs which could be supported by the operation of each airport, come a fortnight after Foster + Partners made a final plea to the Davies Commission not to rule out the Thames Estuary airport, despite growing concerns over its feasibility.

In July the commission published four highly critical feasibility studies setting out the huge financial and engineering risks of building a huge new airport east of the capital - Johnson’s preferred solution for the UK’s aviation capacity problems.

However the Mayor, who has today (26 August) announced he is going to stand as an MP, has claimed his own report paints a much rosier picture of his proposals, especially in terms of job creation.

He said: ‘There is no better example of the stark choice between planning for the future and depressing short-termism. A new hub airport, properly planned, has the potential to reshape the economic geography of London and the whole of the southeast for decades to come.

‘It would be a project of a scale we are no longer accustomed to in this country, though it has become commonplace elsewhere. We simply cannot afford to miss out on the opportunities a new airport would give us.’

The report can be downloaded here.

Previous story (10.07.2014): 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 both 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 Jacob’s research found that even if 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)

  • chris Dyson

    The estuary airport is indeed one of the most significant projects creating both growth along the Thames corridor, and also at Heathrow by converting this into a borough of its own.

    Visionary projects like this which have actually been well considered and crafted over many years should be respected and endure the neigh Sayers with their short term and often parochial visions.

    Chep Lak, Hong Kong airport has proven a great example of success, now one of the World’s largest and most successful airport hubs. The island has been inhabited on and off since the Middle Neolithic period 6,000 years ago. Species were transferred to other sections of the nearby islands with success, proving that nature can adapt to man’s vision, if man looks after nature at the same time. This is surely possible on the isle of grain?

    Great Britain needs to invest in infrastructure projects to maintain its communication and economic position both globally and nationally. This is a great opportunity for both employment and future growth of our country for our children, one that should not be missed.

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  • Great Britain needs its main hub airport shifted to the other side of London like it needs a hole in the head.
    This is not about Great Britain, and it's not even really about London - except in the sense that it greases the way for Boris to further his political ambitions by gaining election to a parliamentary constituency - Uxbridge & South Ruislip - that would be a much quieter place should Heathrow be removed.
    True, land would be released for more housing, with good transport connections, but the commercial development - and very substantial employment - created by Heathrow would all move out, shifting to the 'empty spaces' (green belt?) of Essex or Kent.
    The London urban splodge would expand massively to the east, mainly to the benefit of developers, builders, designers - and, of course, Boris.

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  • The Thames estuary is the most obvious and natural location for another airport. Wildlife worries are a proverbial red herring, as demonstrated by Hong Kong. What about remaining wildlife around Heathrow, to say nothing of human life?

    Why does there have to be a dichotomy between that proposal and Heathrow, let alone Gatwick and Stanstead? Why can't they all coexist, spreading the burden and the benefit?

    If the estuary is developed with private capital and allowed to compete freely with the other airports it would thrive, survive or fail according to demand and infrastructure. For that planners can respond to the democracy of the market.

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  • The proposed estuary airport has many advantages but the one main problem may be the transport links to Central London.

    However if the scheme is accepted I suggest that henceforth it should be known as "The Charles Dickens Airport".

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