Sir Howard Davies aviation review brings 'grave day' for anti-airport campaigners in north Kent as fears continue
Anti-airport campaigners have welcomed news that a Thames Estuary hub has not been shortlisted - but spoken of their fears for a possible airport at Grain.
Former transport minister Paul Clark said today is a "grave day for the people of Medway" after Sir Howard Davies did not rule out plans for a huge airport in north Kent.
And the Friends of the North Kent Marshes, which has campaigned against plans for a huge hub airport, said residents still have the spectre of an airport hanging over them.
Campaigner George Crozer, from Friends of the North Kent Marshes, with Joan Darwell and Gill Moore at Cliffe
Mr Clark, a parliamentary candidate for Gillingham and Rainham, said: "This is a grave day for the people of Medway.
"Political priorities of the Tories and Liberal Democrats have won the day over people's homes and livelihoods in Medway and seen national and international agreements on the environment being disregarded."
And Vince Maple, Medway Labour leader, said: "Today's interim report which leaves the Isle of Grain airport as an option means another year of blight and uncertainty for Medway residents.
"Last minute lobbying from Tory Mayor Boris Johnson seems to have had influence on keeping the Isle of Grain in the mix.
"Medway Labour will continue to argue that any airport in North Kent is bad for the environment, bad for UK PLC and bad for Medway."
TV star Jools Holland (second from right) with anti-airport campaigners Joan Darwell, Gill Moore and George Crozer
Campaigner George Crozer, from Friends of the North Kent Marshes, said he was happy that the Thames Estuary airport options have not been shortlisted.
But he said: "I'm unhappy that the people of Grain are left with the Sword of Damocles hanging over them.
"In the long term, we are confident that if Davies looks closely at the Grain option he will conclude that it should definitely be ruled out, certainly on environmental and ecological grounds and almost certainly on economic grounds."
Medway Council leader Cllr Rodney Chambers
Cllr Rodney Chambers, leader of Medway Council, said: "I'm very pleased that the Davies Commission has at last listened to the arguments that we have been putting forward and not included an estuary airport in their shortlist for further consideration.
"We still hold to our arguments that there is extra capacity in the existing airports and I'm pleased they have listened to us.
"We are more than happy to move forward and work in cooperation with them and the other areas in helping them bring that capacity forward."
A statement from DRINK (Demand Regeneration in North Kent) said: "Great news that a north Kent airport plan is still on the table.
"We still have a chance to make the dream come true of tens of thousands of desperately need jobs plus at least £100million a year of new cash to raise the quality of public services.
"But the lives of the people of Grain are still blighted and we call on the government to scrap council tax for them until the final decision is taken. That's the least they can do for all the political dithering over many years. Naturally, Medway Council should be compensated."
Rochester and Strood MP Mark Reckless
Rochester and Strood MP Mark Reckless said: "I welcome the fact that a Thames Estuary Airport has not been shortlisted, but I am concerned that the commission's study of a Grain option next year will cause further unnecessary blight and worry for local residents.
"I am also concerned that improper political pressure from London's mayor or from within government on an independent commission may have led to 'further study' of a Grain option, rather than it being ruled out in the interim report, as I believe it should have been.
"Although a study on the feasibility of a Grain option will be undertaken next year, I believe that further examination by the Airports Commission will further highlight how unworkable this pie in the sky proposal is, and that it will be rejected."
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