Boris Johnson to argue case for Thames estuary airport
by Alan McGuinness
Boris Johnson will today argue the case for a Thames Estuary
The London mayor, who has long backed an airport in Kent, will
give evidence to the House of Commons Transport Select Committee at
A number of sites are on the table, including the village of
Cliffe, the Isle of Grain and numerous sites in the estuary
Mr Johnson has been pushing the idea for years, and the scheme
has earned the moniker ‘Boris Island’.
An airport has been dismissed by many as unrealistic and
unaffordable, and the mop-haired mayor is likely to face tough
questions from the committee.
Mr Johnson stormed out of the room midway through answering a
question during his last appearance at the committee three years
The MPs are conducting their own inquiry into the country’s
aviation capacity and are due to issue a report with
recommendations for the government this year.
Several groups have already given evidence to the select
committee, including Medway Council's regeneration director Robin
Cooper (above) and Foster + Partners, who designed an airport for
the Isle of Grain (below).
A decision on whether to build an airport in the county is due
in three years’ time, when a commission headed by the economist
Howard Davies reports back.
An interim report narrowing down the options will be put
out later this year.
Minister David Cameron last week ruled out bringing this date
forward, amid claims the government is putting off a difficult
In reaction to the PM's comments, Rochester and Strood MP Mark
Reckless said: “There will be an interim report out at the end of
this year on the best use of exciting capacity at airports such as
Stansted and Gatwick.
"Stansted is used at half capacity and has 17 million users each
year, it can take 35 million. If the report looks at better
transport links to Stansted from London, then that will be really
good and benefit the people of Kent.”
In another development, Mr Johnson has appointed the architect
who designed the aquatic centre at the Olympics to help draw up
plans for a hub airport.
The Sunday Times reported yesterday that Zaha Hadid is one of a
number of experts enlisted to advise him on where to build a new
Meanwhile, it has been reported that Daniel Moylan, a key aide
to the mayor has been meeting with Kent MPs in an attempt to get
them to drop their opposition to an airport.
We will be at the hearing - follow live Twitter updates
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