THURROCK MP Jackie Doyle-Price has told Boris Johnson the Thames is “for ships not planes” after the Mayor of London reiterated his desire to build an airport hub on the river.
Mr Johnson put forward three options - whittled down from 20 - to increase London’s airport capacity. One is a three-runway expansion to Stansted Airport in north Essex while the other two would see huge airports built on the River Thames.
One of those possibilities is a four-runway airport on the Isle of Grain on the Hoo Peninsula in Kent, while the other is a four-runway hub which would be built on an artificial island on the Thames Estaury, dubbed “Boris Island”.
Announcing the preferred options on Monday, the mayor claimed a new airport would support more than 375,000 new jobs by 2050 and add £742billion to the value of goods and services that are produced in the UK.
But Ms Doyle-Price slammed the ideas and said Mr Johnson would be better off looking at Heathrow. She said: “As I have told Boris before, the Thames is for ships not planes. An estuary airport would disrupt the shipping lanes and cost jobs in Thurrock. I am a firm believer in Heathrow expansion. The infrastructure is there to support it already.
“Boris needs to get the message that decisions regarding airport capacity need to be driven by economic considerations not because the west London glitterati object to the overhead noise as they sip their gins and tonics.”
Labour’s parliamentary candidate for East Thurrock, Mike LeSurf, said: “It is incredibly worrying that Boris Johnson now has a new “preferred” option for increasing airport capacity. Having gone cold on "Boris Island" in favour of expansion at Stansted earlier this year, he now favours a new airport in Kent.
“This indecision could have serious effects on the lives and jobs of Thurrock residents. As the consultation closes on options for a Lower Thames Crossing is it too much to expect some joined up thinking from the coalition government?”