Thames Estuary Airport plan survey slams delays

A SURVEY on proposals for a Thames Estuary Airport has accused the Government of “unnecessary procrastination”.

The Key Influencer Survey, by Gateway Associates, brought together the views of 67 of the most influencial public, private national and international parties, and was published on Thursday in front of the aviation all-party parliamentary group.

The scheme has been met with strong oppostion from Thurrock’s Conservative MP Jackie Doyle-Price, and the leader of Thrurock Council, Labour’s John Kent, who are worried about noise from flight paths causing misery for the borough’s residents, and increased pollution.

People who responded to the survey said Heathrow must be included in the equation when the Davies Commission examines options for airport expansion in the UK.

The six-strong expert committee, chaired by Sir Howard Davies, is due to complete a report by the end of this year looking at how existing runways can be used to help Britain keep at the forefront of international aviation.

It will produce a more detailed report by 2015, which will be presented to the Government after the next election.

A spokesman for Gateway Associates said: “Respondents to the survey believe that if Heathrow is not included in the Davies Commission’s analysis then the work will need to be redone in future to rectify the omission, by which time the UK will have lost its aviation advantage to newer and larger hub airports in Europe.

“This frustration is further reflected with the call to ‘Get on with it’ since most believe the timescale for reaching a decision could be significantly reduced.”

He added: “In fact, the current plan to deliver the Davies Commission’s report and Government’s response after the 2015 general election is thought by some to be timed for political rather than economic or social advantage.

“This unnecessary procrastination will have a significantly negative impact on communities in the Thames Estuary, and those around London and regional UK airports, while they are left waiting on tenterhooks.”

Key schemes put forward for a new airport include a proposal by Lord Foster for the Isle of Grain, and London Mayor Boris Johnson’s idea for an island in the Thames Estuary.

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