I think that the idea of an Estuary Airport is well worth pursuing. For as long as I can remember there has been debate about the extension of Heathrow airport but popular consensus seems to have moved away from it. About a quarter of all homes affected by aircraft noise in Europe are close to Heathrow. Boris Johnson has taken a bold lead pressing the case for an Estuary solution.
Likewise, the prospect of extending Stansted Airport is not a suitable alternative either. No decisions have yet been taken about this project, but as the Chancellor made clear in his Autumn Statement, the Government will explore all the options for maintaining the UK’s aviation hub status with the exception of a third runway at Heathrow and, if found to be appropriate, an Estuary Airport is a much better solution to address the issue of extra flight traffic. I will certainly continue to fight against Stansted’s expansion.
It will be necessary to take into account the wildlife which currently lives in the estuary area, but as we have seen in Washington DC, wildlife can be successfully relocated.
In the meantime, the Government will consult on a sustainable framework for UK aviation this spring and alongside this it will publish a call for evidence on maintaining an effective UK hub airport. I would also like to see the economics effects of building the Estuary Airport modelled, because I believe it would be a big boost to the economy and jobs.