Thames Estuary "Not Practical"

A new report says plans for an airport off the Kent coast aren't practical and there should be a four-runway airport either at Heathrow or Luton instead.

The study by a think tank called CentreForum says an international hub in the Thames Estuary, as backed by Boris Johnson and architect Lord Foster, would been too difficult to get to for too many.

It also says the environmental and construction challenges it would present would be greater than expansion at Heathrow.

The report was written by Tim Leunig, chief economist at the liberal think tank CentreForum.

He said today: "We can and should expand aviation capacity in south east England. Doing so will send a much needed signal to people that Britain is open for business.

"It is possible to expand Heathrow in such a way that it cements itself as Europe's number one hub, while significantly reducing the noise nuisance over west London. A four-runway airport would be straightforward to construct and relatively low cost by the standards of hub airports. It causes the lowest level of disruption to the wider economy of any likely airport expansion scenario.''

It comes a day after London Mayor, Boris Johnson gave a speech attacking the government's aviation policy as 'economic catastrophe' and called again for a four runway hub in the Thames or at Stansted.

A government commission is due to report in 2015, Mr Johnson says that will be too late

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