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Charity hopes council opposition will sink Boris airport plan

London Mayor Boris Johnson
London Mayor Boris Johnson

The RSPB has praised Medway Council for its decision to unanimously oppose Boris Joyhnson's Thames Estuary airport plan.

The London Mayor proposal was rejected at a full meeting of Medway Council

Councillors of all parties pledged to oppose any future plans on grounds that include the project’s damaging environmental impact.

Chris Corrigan, RSPB South East’s regional director, said: “Medway Council should be applauded for the strong stance it is taking against Mayor Johnson’s ludicrous ideas.

“We worked closely with Medway Council seven years ago, when the idea of a Thames Estuary airport was last raised then comprehensively ruled out.

"Nothing has changed from then until now – to build an airport in one of the UK’s most precious wildlife sites is utter madness. Let’s hope decisions like this one will help sink Boris Island once and for all.”

The Thames Estuary is used by 300,000 migratory birds and is home to one of the biggest array of internationally protected habitats in Europe.

The RS{B is firmly opposed to the airport because of the massive environmental damage it would cause.

The campaign against Cliffe airport generated the biggest response to a government consultation, with the RSPB and local communities collecting 150,000 letters of protest.

Medway Council intends to send a deputation to Mr Johnson to stress their opposition to the proposal.

Leader, Cllr Rodney Chambers, said: “The arguments we put forward in 2002 which successfully resulted in an airport at Cliffe being defeated apply equally to any potential proposals that might be drawn up now.

"We are led to believe that a feasibility study will be published at the end of this month, which could lead to a floating airport being put forward.

"This is why I wanted to seek the support of the whole council to unite so that we are ready to fight any plans as and when they are published.”

Leader of the Labour Group, Cllr Paul Godwin added: “We have gathered a vast amount of information following the Cliffe proposals seven years ago which we believe we will be able to use as compelling evidence to demonstrate why these plans for an estuary airport are flawed.”

Leader of the Liberal Democrats Cllr Geoff Juby said: “It is important that once again the political groups join forces to fight any proposals for an estuary airport."

The council's grounds for objecting to an airport in the estuary are:

1 It is unnecessary and not wanted

2 Costs would be prohibitive

3 Current infrastructure could not cope with huge increases in traffic

4 Environmental damage would be catastrophic

5 Noise, light and air pollution would be intolerable

6 Risk of air strike from migrating and nesting wildfowl would be high (this is an internationally important site for wildfowl)

7 The airport would be disproportionately affected by fog and high winds

8 The airport would blight the surrounding area including falling property prices, and uncertainty for many years about inward investment into Medway Council

9 Kent County Council is promoting Manston as an airport destination and this provides a viable alternative.

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