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Boris Island north Kent airport plans dealt a blow
8:35am Tuesday 17th December 2013 in News
A computer generated image of how a new airport in the Isle of Grain could look (image by Foster and Partners).
AIRPORT plans for north Kent have been knocked back in a report published this morning.
The independent Airports Commission’s Interim Report said the south east would need one new runway by 2030 and is likely to need a second by 2050.
None of the ideas for a Thames Estuary hub – including 'Boris Island', championed by London Mayor Boris Johnson – were included in the three-strong shortlist, though more analysis will be made into an Isle of Grain airport option early next year.
The three options being pursued by the commission, led by aviation tsar Sir Howard Davies, include one proposal at Gatwick and two at Heathrow.
The report said: “The Thames Estuary airport options were not at this stage shortlisted.
“While the potential they offered to reduce aviation noise impacts in the South East of England and to support economic development on the eastern side of London was attractive, they presented many challenges and uncertainties.”
The commission noted the estuary options would be the most expensive with the cost of an Isle of Grain airport around five times that of the other three shortlisted at up to £112 billion.
The report also acknowledged the "major environmental issues" a north Kent airport would present and the substantial infrastructure that would be required should it go ahead.
An Estuary airport would also have knock-on effects for other airports, the report said, forcing the closure of Heathrow for commercial reasons and London City of airspace reasons.
Further analysis will be carried out at the Isle of Grain in the first half of next year to see whether it is a credible proposal to be pursued with the other three.
Sir Howard Davies said the commission hopes to deliver a final recommendation to the government in 2015.
The Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin, will make an oral statement to Parliament today.
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