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Thames Estuary airport: Howard Davies Commission visiting Medway today

13 June 2013
by Alan McGuinness

Howard Davies

Economist Sir Howard Davies is conducting an aviation review

The team looking into the idea of an airport in Medway is visiting the Towns today.

The Davies Commission, set up by the government to solve the thorny issue of the UK’s aviation capacity, will meet with the council and visits proposed sites in a private tour.

These include Cliffe and Grain.

They are also expected to meet with campaigners against the idea.

The commission, which is led by the economist Sir Howard Davies, will issue an interim report at the end of this year narrowing down the options.

A final report recommending what course of action the government should take will be published after the next election in 2015.

A commission spokesman said before the visit: “Members of the Commission are looking forward to their tour of the Hoo Peninsula in Kent.

“The visit will build the Commission’s understanding of the region to inform their considerations of any proposals for an airport in the Thames Estuary.”

Lord Foster wants to build a four-runway airport at Grain. Image Foster and Partners

Meanwhile, it’s been revealed that the commission has already met with the biggest names in the aviation world - but not those behind an estuary airport.

A new list reveals meetings between the commission and air bosses in New York, Hong Kong, Schiphol and Chicago.

Prime Minister David Cameron has met the commission along with Heathrow and Gatwick airports. Mayor of London Boris Johnson, a key supporter of the idea, is one of the only people who has met the commission twice.

But absent from the list, which covers the period from September 2012 to May 2013, are the major proponents of estuary airports.

Those include the renowned architect Lord Foster and former airline boss John Olsen.

Mr Olsen’s Independent Aviation Advisory Group wants to build a three-runway airport a stone’s throw from the village of Cliffe.

And Lord Foster’s firm Foster + Partners is due next month to lodge detailed plans for its Thames Hub, which would pave over most of the Isle of Grain.

A spokesman for Foster + Partners said the firm had already met with the commission’s secretary in January, but the meeting was not included on the list.

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