AN AIRPORT could be closer to landing in the Thames Estuary as Chancellor George Osborne pledged to explore “all the options” for maintaining the South’s status as an airport hub.

In his Autumn Statement to the House of Commons this afternoon, Mr Osborne ruled out a third runway at Heathrow but said all other options would be looked into.

These could include architect Lord Norman Foster’s £50billion Thames Hub, with its plan for an airport at the Isle of Grain, and Mayor of London Boris Johnson’s proposal for an airport built on reclaimed land in the Thames – nicknamed Boris Island.

The Treasury also published its National Infrastructure Plan today, which identified a long-term “airport capacity challenge in the South East” with London’s largest three airports set to be at capacity by 2030.

The Government will publish its consultation on aviation strategy next March. The report said: “This will explore all options for maintaining the UK’s aviation hub status, with the exception of a third runway at Heathrow.”

Thames Estuary airport schemes have gathered to opposition of councils and environmental groups in North Kent, including the Campaign to Protect Rural England.

Kent County Council has joined forces with Medway Council and the RSPB in the Stop the Estuary Airport campaign, which encourages people to email Mr Johnson stating their opposition.

Lord Foster, of Foster and Partners, is also due to reveal further developments to his dramatic proposals to shake up Britain’s infrastructure - including an airport capable of flying 150million passengers a year, £6billion Thames Barrier and crossing and a £20billion high-speed orbital rail line around London.

The Wembley stadium designer said studies had been conducted into wildlife habitats in the Thames Estuary, the potential for a new nature reserve, the settlements and buildings in Grain and the wreck of the potentially volatile SS Richard Montgomery which sank off the Isle of Sheppey in 1944 carrying 14,000 tonnes of explosives on board.

Foster and Partners said studies into the possible increased risk of bird strikes in the Thames Estuary revealed the problem is not unique to the site and there are many ways of dealing with it.

The firm said it had met private and public sector infrastructure companies in the last few weeks and received strong support of its proposals.

Last week, Mayor of London Boris Johnson published a report reiterating his belief that such an airport was necessary.

Mr Johnson said: “There is no doubt that doing nothing will lead to economic stagnation. The government must now grasp the nettle and begin serious plans for the multi-runway solution that can keep London and our great nation in the premier league of the global economy.”

To e-mail your opposition to Mr Johnson, go to