The Mayor's road toll proposals are (we are told) of the long-term, last resort, blue-sky thinking, frankly never-going-to-happen order of Boris ideas.
“Boris Island”, as the £40billion proposed site two miles off Sheerness has been called, could be entirely bankrolled and owned by sheikhs.The Mayor's deputy, Kit Malthouse, said it could be built within 10 years. Plans indicate it would dwarf the capacity of Heathrow's two runways.He added: “We have had an incredible amount of interest from countries such as Kuwait, Qatar and the UAE, which have signalled they would like to fund the airport. It is possible we could build it without taxpayers' money.“Who wouldn't want to own an immovable fixed asset just off the coast? It's extremely valuable and the owners of sovereign wealth funds know they could bequeath it to their children.”
Ooh how exciting. A fantasy airport built by Mystery Sheikhs for the benefit of Mystery Sheikh children. Where's this to be found in the Mayor's Transport Strategy?
Nowhere is where. There is not a single solitary mention of it anywhere within Boris's 356 page report.
So what has happened to this project launched from a dredger last winter, and ceaselessly trailed by failed airline tycoon and Deputy Mayor for Boondoggles Kit Malthouse?
I phoned up City Hall to ask. Where was the now long overdue feasibility study?
"Doug Oakervee's study will be coming out shortly" they told me."Is there a fixed date for his report?" I asked."No there's no fixed date." they replied.
Oh well, I'm sure it will be worth the wait in the end.
-Update- The Kent Messenger reports:
The idea of an island airport has been universally condemned in Kent, with politicians from all parties and local councils and environmental groups saying it is a non-starter...A spokesman for the mayor’s office said: “Kit Malthouse made the comments during the Tory party conference.“There has been interest from all quarters and from different parts of the world but it’s irrelevant at the moment as we are waiting for the feasibility study from Doug Oakervee to come out.“Nothing is definite at the moment. It is not definite that it can be done or that we would want to do it but there’s a lot of interest in the idea. At this stage the most important thing is the feasibility study.”
Hardly a ringing endorsement is it?