‘Boris Island’ remains utterly absurd
18 January 2011
London Communications Manager
The RSPB is dismissing, yet again, the expensive campaign for an International Airport hub in the Thames Estuary, being led by Mayor of London, Boris Johnson.
The Mayor addressed business leaders in the Capital, but completely failed to address the considerable environmental issues.
Much of the estuary has International environmental protection, safeguarding its immense importance for native and migratory birds, rare plants and habitats. Hundreds of thousands of birds use the estuary as a major migratory route, posing a considerable threat to planes from bird strike.
Chris Corrigan, the RSPB’s Director for South East England said: “Boris continues to pursue this pipe dream, but no amount of wishful thinking on his behalf changes the fact that the Thames Estuary is not dead space waiting for development. It is home to an immense number of birds and other wildlife. You can not recreate the estuary nor move the native or migratory wildlife that relies on it for food and shelter.
"I'm sure the Mayor doesn't want to go down in history as the man who decimated not just birds in the Thames, but global species too, while putting air passengers lives at risk due to bird strike. I'd urge him to drop this costly pursuit now and look to further strengthening, greening and improving London's public transport systems."
Prime Minister David Cameron, speaking in October last year, ruled out a Thames Estuary airport and the idea was exhaustively investigated by the government between 2002-2005, concluding it was not a viable option. It reported that an estuary airport did not make sense economically, would not meet the requirements of the aviation industry, and presented a significantly higher risk of ‘bird strike’ than at any other major airport in the UK.
The Thames Estuary is used by 300,000 migratory birds and is home to one of Europe’s largest groups of internationally protected habitats. The massive environmental damage that building an airport in the Estuary would cause means the RSPB is firmly opposed to the move.
- On 27 October 2010, the Prime Minister responded to a question about plans for an airport in the estuary by stating that: “The Department for Transport has no plans for a new airport in the Thames estuary or in any other part of Medway or Kent.” You can read the question and answer recorded in Hansard by clicking on the link below: www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201011/cmhansrd/cm101027/debtext/101027-0001.htm#10102752001082
- To keep up to date with the work of the RSPB in London, please visit our blog page: http://blogs.rspb.org.uk/london