Boris Johnson has slammed the decision by the Airports Commission to reject the "Boris Island" Thames Estuary airport plan.

The London Major says the rejection sets back the debate by “half a century”.

The thumbs-down for the four-runway estuary scheme leaves the government-appointed commission with three shortlisted schemes-  two involving expansion at Heathrow Airport in west London and the other for a new runway at Gatwick in West Sussex.

The estuary scheme was ruled out after the commission said the proposal had "substantial disadvantages that collectively outweigh its potential benefits".

It looked unlikely the option would be chosen as it was not selected for the commission’s interim report published last December.

Mr Johnson said: "In one myopic stroke the commission has set the debate back by half a century and consigned their work to the long list of vertically-filed reports on aviation expansion that are gathering dust on a shelf in Whitehall."

"Gatwick is not a long-term solution and Howard Davies must explain to the people of London how he can possibly envisage that an expansion of Heathrow, which would create unbelievable levels of noise, blight and pollution, is a better idea than a new airport to the east of London. 

"He himself admits the Thames Estuary idea is visionary, and would create the jobs and growth this country needs to remain competitive."

The commission's chairman Sir Howard Davis said: "We are not persuaded that a very large airport in the Thames Estuary is the right answer to London's and the UK's connectivity needs.

"While we recognise the need for a hub airport, we believe this should be a part of an effective system of competing airports to meet the needs of a widely spread and diverse market like London's."