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£50bn Thames Estuary airport plan too expensive, says report
PLANS to build a £50billion airport in the Thames Estuary have been slammed in an independent report.
A report by the South East Local Enterprise Partnership said the airport would not solve short-term air capacity issues and that building it would be too expensive and take too long.
It recommended expanding other airports in the south, including Gatwick and Heathrow, to meet increasing air travel demands.
It was also suggested other airports in the south east could address the capacity problem and claims Stansted is only running at 50 per cent capacity.
The report states: “There must be a short-term solution to develop additional spare capacity over the next decade as a stop gap to enable the planning and construction of significant additional capacity.
“It is essential that spare capacity available in the south east system is used creatively in the short-term to avoid a loss of business and income to the UK.”
A consultation will be launched later this summer by the Government about aviation strategy. Two plans have been put forward for the estuary, including London mayor Boris Johnson’s initial idea for a floating airport off the coast of Kent, and Lord Norman Foster’s proposal for a four-runway airport on the Isle of Grain, in Kent.
Both would have a major impact in south and would be visible from the Southend and Canvey coastlines.
It is also not clear how a new airport would impact on the revived Southend Airport.
Jon Fuller, member of campaign group No Estuary Airport said the air transport problem stemed from capacity issues at Heathrow.
Mr Fuller, 54, from Westcliff, said: “If Heathrow was managed more efficiently and short-haul flights were moved to other airports such as Gatwick, Stansted or Luton, which still have capacity, there would be no need to replace the hub airport.
“There is no need for another airport at all. In fact, there is enough capacity in the south of England until at least 2030.”
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