Essex: MPs Against Plans For Thames Estuary Airport

The Government should reject the ``Boris Island'' Thames Estuary airport plan and expand Heathrow instead, a report by MPs said today (Friday May 10th).

A new hub airport off the Essex coast, favoured by London Mayor Boris Johnson, would be hugely expensive, the report by the House of Commons Transport Committee said.

It would also mean the closure of Heathrow and could harm estuary wildlife, the report said.

Instead, the MPs said that an extra, third, runway at Heathrow was necessary and also suggested that a fourth runway might have merit if the two new runways were located west of the current site.

The committee said adding new runways to expand other existing airports was not a long-term solution to the hub airport capacity problem, although MPs urged the operators of Gatwick to develop a robust business case for their vision of a second runway at the West Sussex airport.

The report called on the Government to establish a national scheme to ensure adequate compensation for people affected by noise from expansion at Heathrow.

The MPs would also like to see the Government ensuring that HS2 high-speed rail line rail network serves Heathrow.

They also called for a study of how far the Air Passenger Duty airport departure tax impacts on the UK economy.

The report said that if this study provided clear evidence that the tax caused harm to the economy or Government revenue, there should be moves to significantly reduce or abolish APD.