British government is to hold a formal consultation on United Kingdom aviation for a new airport in the Thames Estuary.
United Kingdom government is looking for some options to maintain London’s aviation hub status.
Boris Johnson, mayor of London, backs the idea and also David Cameron, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, has ruled out expanding Heathrow, but Nick Clegg, leader of government’s partner party, stressed his opposition to the estuary idea.
According to the idea, the airport would be built partly on reclaimed land and could be on either an island or a peninsula. Concerns have been raised about damage to the environment.
Environmental campaigners said the place must be protected as it is renowned for its population of wintering birds and is an important breeding ground for avocets and marsh harriers in summer.
David Cameron stated he could support the alternative of expanding Heathrow in west London, but he will await the outcome of the consultation.
Greater London Authority forecasted a passenger demand around 400 million passengers a year by 2050 from 140 million a year in 2010.
Colin Matthews, CEO at BAA, said he is pleased the government is recognizing the need for more airport capacity. But he also added that London can’t have two hubs, so in his opinion a new airport would inevitably mean Heathrow getting much smaller.
However, Johnson told to a radio programme there would be plenty of sovereign wealth funds willing to invest in the project. And added the difficulty would not be the financing of the airport but would be in the connectivity infrastructure between airport and central London.
The mayor also warned that Britain can’t go on expecting to compete with France, Germany and other European countries when United Kingdom can’t supply the flights to these growth destinations such as China or Latin America.
Labor opposition pointed out an airport in the Thames threatens a huge increase in noise, congestion and pollution for millions of people in the east and south east of London, and also threatens hundreds of thousands of the jobs in west London who rely on Heathrow airport.
And also said in its opinion it’s a complete fantasy, because all the local authorities and the airlines are against the idea.
A spokesperson of London’s Department for Transport said no decisions have been taken yet. And added the government will consult on a sustainable framework for United Kingdom aviation during this spring, at which time they will set out their long-term plans for the sector.