A PROTEST group has been set up to fight against plans for an airport in the Thames Estuary.

No Estuary Airport has organised a public meeting to gather support for their campaign against the huge airport which it says will cause “immense disruption” to people in Southend and south Essex.

Environmental campaigners in Kent and Essex have joined forces to lobby the Government before the public consultation begins in March this year.

Jon Fuller, from South East Essex Friends of the Earth, said the plans should not go ahead.

He said: “We want to kill the scheme before Government contemplates wasting millions of pounds on hugely expensive feasibility studies by private consultants.

“I think it would impose a huge burden on the people currently living on Canvey and along the entire seafront, in Southend, and Leigh – visually and in terms of noise.

“People visiting the town will be severely affected by it.”

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, and architect Lord Foster have promoted separate options for a new South East airport in the estuary.

Mr Johnson’s idea is for a base in the estuary on reclaimed land at Shivering Sands, off the Kent coast near Whitstable.

Mr Foster’s £50billion, four-runway airport off the Isle of Grain, Kent, would cater for about 150 million passengers a year.

Mr Fuller, who lives in Chalkwell, added: “Some people enjoy looking at planes, but very few people go and stand at Heathrow.

“It would have a terrible impact on tourism.”

Residents are invited to the meeting at Southend Adult Community College in Elm Road, Leigh, this Friday, February 10.

It starts at 7.45pm and there will be speakers from the RSPB, and fishing and environmental groups. Southend West MP David Amess will attend, along with Leigh councillor Peter Wexham.