Airports Commission "fails London dismally" by dismissing Boris Island airport

Heathrow: Two of three shortlisted options

Heathrow: Two of three shortlisted options

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Richmond and Twickenham Times: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Reporter

Anti-Heathrow expansion campaigners were dealt a major blow after the Airports Commission dismissed plans for Boris Island airport in the Thames Estuary. 

The Commission announced today that it would not add Boris Johnson’s plans for an airport in the Thames Estuary to its shortlist of options. 

A feasibility study of an inner Thames Estuary airport concluded there were "substantial disadvantages" that collectively outweighed its potential benefits.

Sir Howard Davies, chairman of the Airports Commission, said: "There will be those who argue that the commission lacks ambition and imagination. We are ambitious for the right solution. The need for additional capacity is urgent."

The rejection of the Mayor of London’s proposals means the only options to increase capacity by 2030 are to add an additional runway or extend the existing northern runway at Heathrow or add an additional runway at Gatwick.

After the decision was announced, Lord True, leader of Richmond Council, said Sir Howard did not listen to Londoners, only giving weight to the voices of big business, airline bosses and the owners of Heathrow.

Lord True said: "The report says one reason to rule out the estuary was that local authorities did not support it.

"Well, by the same token, that should kill bigger Heathrow then, for this local authority is implacably opposed to Heathrow expansion. And we are not alone. This report fails Londoners dismally."

Wandsworth Council leader Ravi Govindia is cautioning ministers against further expansion of Heathrow Airport warning it would “deal a devastating environmental blow to millions of Londoners”.

He added: “If Heathrow had never been built no one would now be advocating it as a suitable site for a huge new airport. In our view it exceeded its limits a long time ago. It would be absolute folly to allow it to expand any further.

“Our opposition to a bigger Heathrow does not mean that we are against additional airport capacity in the south east. On the contrary we fully accept the economic case and agree that opening up additional air routes to other parts of the globe is good for growth and good for Britain’s economy.

“The issue for us is the absolute necessity of choosing the right location. If the Thames estuary option cannot proceed then allowing the expansion of Gatwick makes better sense than cramming ever more flights into Heathrow."

Hacan chairman John Stewart said the Airport Commission’s decision makes it clear the choice for expansion is now at Heathrow or Gatwick but said he did not believe Mr Johnson would give up on his idea.

He said: "The idea of an island airport is likely to be floating around for some time yet.

"Johnson remains an implacable opponent of a third runway at Heathrow and has reservations about the value of a second runway at Gatwick."

But campaign group, Back Heathrow, said the decision not to pursue the estuary airport, nicknamed Boris Island, was a major victory for thousands of residents in west London but said the UK still has a problem because Heathrow is "bursting at the seams".

Rob Gray, campaign co-ordinator at Back Heathrow, said: "The UK’s only hub airport might have dodged a bullet from the Mayor of London but a slow death awaits if it is not allowed to expand. The Airports Commission has said no to Boris Johnson but for the sake of local jobs and UK prosperity, it now needs to say yes to growth at Heathrow."

  • Do you think Boris Island should have been rejected? Leave a comment below

 

Comments (11)

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1:40pm Tue 2 Sep 14

janee says...

I am delighted that the estuary airport has been rejected. The area is vital for birdlife, both resident and migratory, and the scheme would have had a devastating environmental effect. Clearly Boris's green credentials only extend to bikes, not to wildlife, and his main aim has been to grab headlines, rather than to provide a sensible solution.

If I were able to I would attach a photo of the area he would like to destroy.
I am delighted that the estuary airport has been rejected. The area is vital for birdlife, both resident and migratory, and the scheme would have had a devastating environmental effect. Clearly Boris's green credentials only extend to bikes, not to wildlife, and his main aim has been to grab headlines, rather than to provide a sensible solution. If I were able to I would attach a photo of the area he would like to destroy. janee
  • Score: -16

1:42pm Tue 2 Sep 14

janee says...

PS I have submitted a Freedom of Information request to find out how much of our money has been spent on this.
PS I have submitted a Freedom of Information request to find out how much of our money has been spent on this. janee
  • Score: -8

3:25pm Tue 2 Sep 14

archibaldthegrim says...

Excellent news. The cost would have been enormous . There's no infrastructure there, new towns would have to have been built, new rail and road links, new schools and hospital(s).
Heathrow would have to close and the employment effect on west London would be devastating. Of course there are fools who say the residents should move but who pays?
People come to west London because, generally, it's a nice place to
Iive so of course House prices are high. Anyone who has bought a house in the last 35 years in the area will have known there's an airport and with an ounce of common sense would recognise that development would occur. House prices remain high and will not lose value when, hopefully, The new runway is built.
Excellent news. The cost would have been enormous . There's no infrastructure there, new towns would have to have been built, new rail and road links, new schools and hospital(s). Heathrow would have to close and the employment effect on west London would be devastating. Of course there are fools who say the residents should move but who pays? People come to west London because, generally, it's a nice place to Iive so of course House prices are high. Anyone who has bought a house in the last 35 years in the area will have known there's an airport and with an ounce of common sense would recognise that development would occur. House prices remain high and will not lose value when, hopefully, The new runway is built. archibaldthegrim
  • Score: -12

4:51pm Tue 2 Sep 14

Sparkythecat says...

Heathrow would NOT have had to close so there would NOT be devastating unemployment so stop the scaremongering.
I bought my house 48 years ago and have lived in Richmond Borough all my life, so I know exactly how life was. We have been told time and time again, with every extension, that it would be the last and no more would be needed.
People in the Midlands are crying out for Birmingham airport to be expanded so why not do it as it is more central to the country and is our second city after all.
Heathrow would NOT have had to close so there would NOT be devastating unemployment so stop the scaremongering. I bought my house 48 years ago and have lived in Richmond Borough all my life, so I know exactly how life was. We have been told time and time again, with every extension, that it would be the last and no more would be needed. People in the Midlands are crying out for Birmingham airport to be expanded so why not do it as it is more central to the country and is our second city after all. Sparkythecat
  • Score: 13

9:18pm Tue 2 Sep 14

buggsie says...

We don't need anymore flights going over our homes at 4.30 am.
The continual flights over London were never a problem when I moved to London a few years back (more than I'd like to mention).
First of all - how full flights are which are using Heathrow should be investigated - and perhaps flights combined so that not so many half empty flights (if they are) need to come to the UK.
Wherever an airport is either built or extended is going to ruin some ones home or life.
The Midlands is a good idea and more central - and could tie up with the white elephant of HS2 if that ever gets off the ground. There must be plenty of space for airports near Cameron or Osborne's constituencies.
Just watch out though because when Clegg gets booted our next year - there will be loads more flights over Putney where he lives under a flight path - as he will no doubt sell up and go.
We don't need anymore flights going over our homes at 4.30 am. The continual flights over London were never a problem when I moved to London a few years back (more than I'd like to mention). First of all - how full flights are which are using Heathrow should be investigated - and perhaps flights combined so that not so many half empty flights (if they are) need to come to the UK. Wherever an airport is either built or extended is going to ruin some ones home or life. The Midlands is a good idea and more central - and could tie up with the white elephant of HS2 if that ever gets off the ground. There must be plenty of space for airports near Cameron or Osborne's constituencies. Just watch out though because when Clegg gets booted our next year - there will be loads more flights over Putney where he lives under a flight path - as he will no doubt sell up and go. buggsie
  • Score: 13

9:21pm Tue 2 Sep 14

dellboy twick. says...

janee and archibald are heathrow sponsored trolls.
with heathrow wanting to increase flights from 480000 up to 760000 p.a., the effect on people will be catastrophic, noise, pollution, traffic jams and the devaluation of all property prices.
they will need all three options, two new runways and an extension for combined take offs and landings.
if there is so much money to be made, the estuary bid makes the best sense, to put wildlife above people is stupid and selfish. living in twickenham it will effect me,it would be interesting to know where the trolls live.
janee and archibald are heathrow sponsored trolls. with heathrow wanting to increase flights from 480000 up to 760000 p.a., the effect on people will be catastrophic, noise, pollution, traffic jams and the devaluation of all property prices. they will need all three options, two new runways and an extension for combined take offs and landings. if there is so much money to be made, the estuary bid makes the best sense, to put wildlife above people is stupid and selfish. living in twickenham it will effect me,it would be interesting to know where the trolls live. dellboy twick.
  • Score: 13

9:42pm Tue 2 Sep 14

mjk1975 says...

Ok, fine extend Heathrow. I give 5-7 years before Heathrow is full to capacity AGAIN. Thames estuary is the way forward. Four runways (could run day and night) without affecting the population. Night time deliveries FEDEX DHL etc. But no - all because of a few birds, marsh land and some money. They (government) wasn't afraid of wasting millions on the dome and spending millions on the HS1 and HS2 project not to mention CROSSRAIL.
Ok, fine extend Heathrow. I give 5-7 years before Heathrow is full to capacity AGAIN. Thames estuary is the way forward. Four runways (could run day and night) without affecting the population. Night time deliveries FEDEX DHL etc. But no - all because of a few birds, marsh land and some money. They (government) wasn't afraid of wasting millions on the dome and spending millions on the HS1 and HS2 project not to mention CROSSRAIL. mjk1975
  • Score: 12

10:18pm Tue 2 Sep 14

Sparkythecat says...

I believe they should just take the bull by the horns and build a brand new airport instead of just patching here and there which is what this country seems to be very good at. They've done it successfully in other places - Hong Kong is a good example - so why can't we. Yes, it will be expensive but surely in the long run it is the right thing to do and will possibly save money in the long term. We always seem to find money for military requirements, so let's spend a bit less on them and more on our own country for a while.
I believe they should just take the bull by the horns and build a brand new airport instead of just patching here and there which is what this country seems to be very good at. They've done it successfully in other places - Hong Kong is a good example - so why can't we. Yes, it will be expensive but surely in the long run it is the right thing to do and will possibly save money in the long term. We always seem to find money for military requirements, so let's spend a bit less on them and more on our own country for a while. Sparkythecat
  • Score: 11

9:47am Wed 3 Sep 14

jeremyhm says...

well, I am delighted that Boris had the nous to develop a blue sky type idea (in both senses of the word). We need people to think outside the box (to use a horrible modern cliche). It was always obvious this ambitious scheme would be turned down by folks with smaller minds. As to the money spent on - ours - if you work it out, it is a few pence per person over the past few years. Don't begrudge it. The Suez and Panama canals etc would not have been built had someone not had an apparently outrageous idea at the time
well, I am delighted that Boris had the nous to develop a blue sky type idea (in both senses of the word). We need people to think outside the box (to use a horrible modern cliche). It was always obvious this ambitious scheme would be turned down by folks with smaller minds. As to the money spent on - ours - if you work it out, it is a few pence per person over the past few years. Don't begrudge it. The Suez and Panama canals etc would not have been built had someone not had an apparently outrageous idea at the time jeremyhm
  • Score: 9

2:09pm Fri 5 Sep 14

Teddington Resident says...

It would be easy to sort out the capacity issues at Heathrow.

For shorthaul flights restrict every airline to a maximum of three slots a day operating nothing smaller than an A321, when they can show that those services are operating at 85%+ capacity then allow them an extra slot.

For long haul require nothing smaller than a 777 and allow one slot a day until 90%+ capacity is demonstrated and then allow an additional 777. On routes like LHR-New York require that A380s are operated exclusively and each one must demonstrate 95%+ capacity.

I would guess that slots would open up overnight, the environment would improve no end and the level of blight would reduce.

It would still be better however to build Boris Island. I travel a lot, I see airports in places like Singapore that are world class and then come home to the embarrassing third world dump in Hounslow. What sort of impression does it create to a first time visitor?
It would be easy to sort out the capacity issues at Heathrow. For shorthaul flights restrict every airline to a maximum of three slots a day operating nothing smaller than an A321, when they can show that those services are operating at 85%+ capacity then allow them an extra slot. For long haul require nothing smaller than a 777 and allow one slot a day until 90%+ capacity is demonstrated and then allow an additional 777. On routes like LHR-New York require that A380s are operated exclusively and each one must demonstrate 95%+ capacity. I would guess that slots would open up overnight, the environment would improve no end and the level of blight would reduce. It would still be better however to build Boris Island. I travel a lot, I see airports in places like Singapore that are world class and then come home to the embarrassing third world dump in Hounslow. What sort of impression does it create to a first time visitor? Teddington Resident
  • Score: 2

2:40pm Fri 5 Sep 14

kingstonpaul says...

Teddington Resident wrote:
It would be easy to sort out the capacity issues at Heathrow.

For shorthaul flights restrict every airline to a maximum of three slots a day operating nothing smaller than an A321, when they can show that those services are operating at 85%+ capacity then allow them an extra slot.

For long haul require nothing smaller than a 777 and allow one slot a day until 90%+ capacity is demonstrated and then allow an additional 777. On routes like LHR-New York require that A380s are operated exclusively and each one must demonstrate 95%+ capacity.

I would guess that slots would open up overnight, the environment would improve no end and the level of blight would reduce.

It would still be better however to build Boris Island. I travel a lot, I see airports in places like Singapore that are world class and then come home to the embarrassing third world dump in Hounslow. What sort of impression does it create to a first time visitor?
Clearly you're not quite the seasoned traveller you brag about being if you feel that LHR is an 'embarrassing third world dump in Hounslow'. That's just absurd. I've recently used airport terminals in Chicago, New York and LA that are inferior to some airports in Africa. A recent trip to Rome arriving at tatty old Fiumicino was a depressing start to a long weekend. Sure, as with any airport handling 70 million passengers a year, there's going to be quibbles, but with the recent T2 revamp, most of Heathrow and its infrastructure is now world class.
[quote][p][bold]Teddington Resident[/bold] wrote: It would be easy to sort out the capacity issues at Heathrow. For shorthaul flights restrict every airline to a maximum of three slots a day operating nothing smaller than an A321, when they can show that those services are operating at 85%+ capacity then allow them an extra slot. For long haul require nothing smaller than a 777 and allow one slot a day until 90%+ capacity is demonstrated and then allow an additional 777. On routes like LHR-New York require that A380s are operated exclusively and each one must demonstrate 95%+ capacity. I would guess that slots would open up overnight, the environment would improve no end and the level of blight would reduce. It would still be better however to build Boris Island. I travel a lot, I see airports in places like Singapore that are world class and then come home to the embarrassing third world dump in Hounslow. What sort of impression does it create to a first time visitor?[/p][/quote]Clearly you're not quite the seasoned traveller you brag about being if you feel that LHR is an 'embarrassing third world dump in Hounslow'. That's just absurd. I've recently used airport terminals in Chicago, New York and LA that are inferior to some airports in Africa. A recent trip to Rome arriving at tatty old Fiumicino was a depressing start to a long weekend. Sure, as with any airport handling 70 million passengers a year, there's going to be quibbles, but with the recent T2 revamp, most of Heathrow and its infrastructure is now world class. kingstonpaul
  • Score: -3
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