Thames estuary too vulnerable for international airport hub
A report supporting a new London international airport was released by the Mayor’s Office, which is seeing great opposition from environmental groups.
If approved, the Thames estuary airport or ‘Boris Island’, named after its fervent champion Mayor Boris Johnson, will affect five separate Special Protection Areas and a Special Area of Conservation.
The area is an important site to rare and vulnerable migrating birds. It is said that the construction of a new airport would “cause tidal shifts and various kinds of pollution”.
It is hard to assess the full environmental impact on the estuary and river by this potential aviation hub, but an initial draft by architect Norman Foster included four 4km (nearly 2.5 miles) runways to accommodate up to 150 million passengers a year on the Isle of Grain – double the number of visitors who pass through Heathrow.
“For London to retain its position as the heartbeat of global business we need aviation links that will allow us to compete with our rivals,” said Mayor Boris in a statement. “No other city even approaches the volume of passengers handled at London’s airports but we need to start planning for a brand new airport that can help meet the ever increasing demand for aviation and act as a hub, particularly to the rest of the UK.”
But there is increased worry that the building of the facility will make the government’s efforts in curbing greenhouse gases by 2050 an impracticable one.
The Guardian reported: “[…] the UK’s independent Committee on Climate Change report on aviation emissions in 2009 estimated that, […] ministers needed to limit demand increases to 60% – or 138 million more passengers. By itself, then, without any growth at other (…) UK airports, a new Thames Hub would increase capacity beyond what is recommended.”