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MPs to meet Cameron over Thames Estuary airport plans

An aerial image of the Thames Hub airport, designed by Lord Foster

by Alan McGuinness

Kent MPs will get the chance to grill Prime Minister David Cameron about the Thames Estuary airport this morning.

Mr Cameron has finally agreed to face-to-face talks on an idea which would change the face of the county.

The talks come almost four months after north Kent MPs requested a meeting with the PM, and ahead of the expected announcement of a consultation into the idea.

There were reports earlier this year that the government was coming round to the idea, with Mr Cameron said to be broadly supportive of the idea depending on the outcome of the consultation.

That was expected to begin in March, but now it is due to get underway this summer.

Speaking before the meeting, Mr Reckless, who represents Rochester and Strood, said he would tell the PM an airport would bring “environmental devastation” and that the economics of it don’t stack up because of the cost.

This is a view echoed by wildlife groups and Medway Council – an area which would bear the brunt of the effects of the massive project.

However, supporters argue it will create jobs and generate investment.

London Mayor Boris Johnson wants to build an airport on two floating islands out in the estuary, while architect Lord Foster has put forward plans for an airport on the Isle of Grain.
Lord Foster’s project would be the biggest airport in the world, with its four runways handling 150 million passengers a year.

Mark Reckless
Mark Reckless

The scheme also includes building a huge barrage and a new rail network system: effectively an M25 for the railways, skirting London.

An integrated rail station beneath the passenger terminal would be the UK's busiest - with 300,000 arrivals and departures every day.

In an exclusive interview with the KM Group last year Lord Foster said a number of private investors would be interested in funding the scheme.

He also dismissed claims it was “pie in the sky” – a familiar refrain used by opponents.

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