Friday, 20 February 2009

Boris Island(s) and the sound of the Listening Mayor

Say what you like about Boris, he certainly knows how to unite people across party lines:

"SOUTHEND councillors are being asked to unite in condemning London mayor Boris Johnson’s suggestion of major new airport in the Thames Estuary."

That would be staunchly Conservative Southend-on-Sea of course. Must be the local Labour lot causing trouble?

"Labour group leader David Norman and his deputy, Judith McMahon, have put forward a motion to the council, expressing their concern about Mr Johnson’s suggested alternative to expansion at Heathrow.

Thought so. Surely the Conservative leader will deliver a slap-down?

"Council leader Nigel Holdcroft said: “I have said it before in the past and I will say it again I simply do not believe a scheme like this would be feasible. I am certainly not going to get worked up about it until I see some concrete plans which could actually work.”

I wouldn't hold your breath on that one Nigel.

Working against the boroughs

Now the fact that a Council within the Thames Gateway opposes the airport is not big news. 

In fact you have to go a long way up the river (Greenwich as it happens) before you can find anybody who will speak up for the plans.

But with the sound of cross-party, local and county-wide opposition continuing to grow, just for how much longer can Boris Johnson pose as the listening Mayor.


Tom said...

Adam - I've been doing some digging around this and you need to look at the LGA and in particular a group called SASIG. This is the local authority aviation special interest group, and has amongst its louder members Wandsworth and Hillingdon.

Medway (hung council at the time) withdrew from it in protest at their Boris airport plans nearly four years ago. There's even a court case where they tried to force the government to look at something very like Boris Airport (it also confirms the Marinair link I spotted a while back).

In other words, the scheme has a history of being pushed by Conservative local government people via the LGA.

Letters From A Tory said...

Given our track record with major engineering projects, I can't help but be nervous at the idea of an airport in the Thames Estuary!

AdamB said...

Tom- the court case makes for fascinating reading and further confirms Malthouseair as the NIMBY fingers-in-ears total non-starter as I had thought it to be.

In case you missed it here is a great related exchange from last months MQT:

"Kit Malthouse (AM): Also, on two of the schemes that were mentioned by Val Shawcross, is it the case that for an estuary airport and a Park Lane underpass it is perfectly possible for both to be self-financing?"

"Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Kit, if you say so. I am not going to quibble today."

Yes Kit, whatever you say KIt.

Anonymous said...

What has happened to the Evening Standard?

Tom said...

"Given our track record with major engineering projects"

High Speed 1, DLR extensions, Emirates Stadium, Twickenham Stadium, St. Pancras International...

Yes, we're useless, aren't we?

infinitylies said...

....Jubilee line extension.....Channel tunnel....Dartford Bridge.............millenium bridge....ok maybe not the last one

barry rochford said...

Having a Hong Kong style airport on reclaimed land isn't in irtself stupid if it took the air traffic away from London and the South East.
However, the disruption to wildlife in the area (let alone increased likelihood of Hudson River type disasters because of trapped birds) is one major concern that Boris and Malthouse wouldn't have a clue about.
That aside, the main problem that will cause major problems is access. Assuming that Boris Island will be linked to the mainland by Malthouse Causeway, the transport infrastructure of getting international guests in and out of London is inadequate and the prospect of there being a M13 being the logical step is hardly likely to provide assuarnces to anyone, being in an Essex village or by the Blackwall tunnel.
That's before you look at budgets.
I think no one has told Boris that he doesn't have jurisdiction over Essex, either.