Adam Afriyie, MP for Windsor, today warned the Airport Commission against dropping the Thames Estuary option from its final report.
The Davies Commission published four studies of the plan to build a new airport in the Thames Estuary on Friday. These studies suggested that the plans for a new airport might face some technical environmental and financial difficulties.
Adam Afriyie said:
“I urge the Airport Commission to include an offshore option in the South East shortlist for its final report. Eliminating this option would be a short-sighted decision, based on technical difficulties that can be overcome if we truly want a long-term solution to our aviation needs.
“In the next 30 to 50 years, the UK may need as many as five extra runways to cope with increased airport demand. There is ample space for this expansion around the Thames Estuary, and a new offshore airport would provide us with the long-term capacity to become a great trading nation again – without imposing noise and pollution on a large number of people living under the flight path.
“So, the Airport Commission now has a prime opportunity to help make an important decision that is in the long-term interests of the country. Sir Howard Davies must not let this opportunity slip through his hands. It is the opportunity of the century for Britain.
“Let us remember, there is simply not space for this type of expansion at Heathrow. We’d need another two or three runways within a few decades or so. Heathrow expansion is a short-term sticking plaster solution that it is not in the local, regional or national interest.
“People, like the shareholders of Heathrow Airport Plc, have always pointed out technical difficulties that face building a new airport in the Thames Estuary. But, if the decision is right for the country we can rise to the challenges.
“The Mayor of London, Sir Norman Foster and others have shown that a large proportion of the necessary funding could be raised from private investors, and that there are many innovative solutions to the other challenges.”
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Notes to Editors
1. Mr Afriyie's website: http://www.adamafriyie.org/
2. Mr. Afriyie's article in The Telegraph arguing in favour of a Thames Estuary airport: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/aviation/9531940/Why-Im-backing-Boris-Island-by-Windsor-MP-Adam-Afriyie.html
3. Copy of consultation documents on Thames Estuary option: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/inner-thames-estuary-airport-studies