Politicians from across the political spectrum today called for Boris Johnson to finally rule out building an airport in the Thames Estuary.
The calls from Labour, Lib Dem, Green and even Conservative politicians comes after the Mayor appeared to rule out the project.
Speaking on Question Time last night Boris said:
"I don't want to build an airport in the Thames Estuary."
However his aides later backtracked claiming that:
"The mayor was referring to the fact that there are no actual plans in place to build an airport."
Despite these denials, Boris does in fact have plans to spend £5 million on investigating just such an airport.
He also believes that it could be the "biggest" and "bravest" project he could do.
Labour Transport Minister Sadiq Khan MP said today:
"Boris Johnson's comment last night is further proof that the idea of a Thames Estuary airport is in chaos. It cannot be justified on transport grounds and has no serious support from any quarter. It is hard to see how any further public expenditure on this idea can be defended."
Labour Vice Chair of the London Assembly transport Committee Val Shawcross said:
"There is real confusion about the mayor's aviation plans and a multi-million pound, six-runway airport is not something to flip-flop over. We know that he is thinking of spending taxpayers' money on this which would be bizarre if it's not something he wants to do. Going into an election, Londoners deserve to know what the Conservative's plans are. Do they want this environmentally ruinous idea to go ahead or not? For once Boris should give us a straight answer.”
Green Party London Assembly Member Darren Johnson said:
“I want the Mayor to confirm that he will not waste £5m of public money investigating a new airport in the Thames Estuary. Anyone can see that this plan is a non-starter, which is why numerous previous studies have all resulted in its rejection. The threat of birdstrike, the damage to the important ecology of the estuary, the impact on local communities and the lack of public transport links are just a few of the insurmountable problems. It would be inexcusable to spend £5m on completely unnecessary further research”.
Liberal Democrat Assembly Transport Spokesperson Caroline Pidgeon said:
"No attempt at spinning by the Mayor’s office can explain away the totally contradictory statements that the Mayor has made over the Thames Estuary Airport in the last 18 months. The Mayor must now listen to the incredible coalition of people who are opposed to the proposed airport and finally end the sorry saga of this pie in the sky idea.”
And the Conservative Leader of Medway Council Rodney Chambers said:
“It would appear from what the Mayor said on Question Time that he may be backtracking on his airport plan for the Thames Estuary. If this is indeed what he meant we would, of course, welcome this. It comes after myself and other group leaders from Medway Council went to see his deputy mayor, Kit Malthouse, on Tuesday to demand he drops the scheme. And it follows our own survey, which was published in Monday’s Evening Standard, which shows that none of the major airlines using Heathrow want the Thames Estuary airport either. I would now call upon the mayor to clarify exactly what he meant. If he is making moves to drop the estuary airport it would be welcomed by people across Medway and Kent, but he does need to confirm this.“I have said from the outset that this airport is a pie in the sky scheme and that phrase would appear to be getting more and more poignant as this goes on.”
David Cameron is also apparently furious about the plans.
It's time to listen up Boris. Nobody wants you to pour any more money into this scheme.