by Alan McGuinness
A consultation on whether an airport should be built in Medway will start next month, according to a government website.
A Thames Estuary airport will be one of the options considered by the government in the four-month exercise.
A final decision on the idea, which would change the face of the Towns, is due to be made by March 2013. The time frame was published on the Prime Minister’s office website.
Chatham MP Tracey Crouch urged people of “all ages to take part and make their views known”.
She said: “The vast majority of people locally are opposed to their airport and recognise the consequences it would have on the local environment.”
Demand Regeneration in North Kent has confirmed it will make a submission part of the consultation.
It will tell the government what the effects of an airport on the area would be if they decided to give it the go ahead.
The group, which stresses it is neither for or against at this stage, thinks politicians have been too quick to come out against the idea.
Campaign director Clive Lawrence said: “We’re in a very different position to 10 years ago [when an airport at Cliffe was considered]. There are far fewer jobs and there are more people in financial trouble.
“People are looking for jobs and that’s what it comes down to. If the airport can achieve jobs, that’s going to attract the attention of a lot of people in north Kent.”
So far, three sites have been proposed: Cliffe, Grain and two floating islands in the estuary dubbed “Boris Island” after the Mayor of London Boris Johnson, who is a fierce supporter of the idea.
The idea of an airport in Medway was first proposed in the 1940s, and has been on the agenda a number of times as Britain has sought to expand its aviation capacity.
The last time was in 2003, when the Labour government looked at building an airport at Cliffe.