Thursday, October 6, 2022

MP’s Airport Campaign Takes Off

Over 200 residents have now signed up for Angela Smith’s campaign against the Mayor of London’s plans to build an airport in the Thames Estuary.

Angela said, “I have now written back personally to all those who have told me they are opposed to the plans to build the airport, but I am sure there are many more who would be shocked if they knew about these plans, and I will continue to pressure the Mayor of London to withdraw these environmentally-damaging proposals.”

In her letter Angela wrote,
“Plans for a new airport in the Thames Estuary have been given their biggest push yet by Tory London Mayor Boris Johnson. According to BBC News, in a new document for senior leaders at the Greater London Authority (GLA), he says the airport could be the “single biggest… and bravest project we do”.

Over recent weeks, I have been campaigning to raise awareness of the serious possibility of the proposed airport going ahead. You may have seen the articles in the local press, where I highlighted that the Mayor had sought funding from the Gulf States to finance the project. As I told the newspapers, “this is turning from a fantasy island into a nightmare for residents of South Essex and North Kent. I would urge people to protest strongly to the Mayor who has opposed the expansion of London airports in order to ship the noise and environmental damage out into the Thames estuary where he should have no jurisdiction.”

I found the comments from the London Mayor’s Deputy, Kit Malthouse, alarming. He said, “we have had an incredible amount of interest from countries such as Kuwait, Qatar and the UAE, which have signalled they would like to fund the airport…Who wouldn’t want to own an immovable fixed asset just off the coast? It’s extremely valuable and the owners of sovereign wealth funds know they could bequeath it to their children.”
Now the feasibility study has been published.

In its own words, the report, “identifies the potential benefits and effects that off-shore airport options would have in this complex area..” It notes that, “the Thames estuary does not present any insoluble issues regarding weather, geology, hydrography, shipping lanes, fishing activities, leisure services or other physical obstructions.” It goes on to call for a Thames Estuary Development Study to commence no later than next summer.

Research and Development Company

If anyone is still in doubt about the seriousness of these proposals, I have discovered that a new company has been set up, ‘The Thames Research and Development Company’, one of whose founders is the Chief Economic Adviser to the Greater London Authority. One of the aims of the company is to investigate the need for “more crossings of the Estuary by road and rail, for shipping and potentially for airport facilities.” I understand that the other company founder is the author of the feasibility study itself, who concludes, “Finally, I cannot emphasise enough the importance of progressing this work.”

I remain convinced that there are numerous reasons to object. The environmental damage of building such an airport, including the damage to our quality of life in South Essex, far outweighs the commercial benefits of proceeding. There also remains the question of the explosives on the sunken ship, the SS Richard Montgomerie, which have never been removed due to the potential dangers involved!”


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