Snipe - The Scoop

Monday, 25 October 2010

Tories rally against Boris Johnson's "obscene" airport plans

Boris Johnson has angered his Conservative neighbours in Kent once again after reports that he is considering resurrecting a project to build an airport on the Hoo Peninsula.

Plans for an airport at Cliffe were dropped by the last Labour government following strong opposition in the local area.

And earlier this month the coalition government appeared to rule out Boris's preferred alternative, an island airport in the Thames Estuary:


Boris Johnson's plan for an airport in the Thames Estuary suffered a fresh blow today after senior ministers ruled it out on cost grounds.

Senior sources at the Department for Transport suggested that unless an “innovative model” to finance the £40 billion scheme was found it was “unlikely” to go ahead.

I think "unlikely" is being a little generous to this total non-starter of a scheme. 

However, the slightly more feasible option of building an airport on the Hoo Peninsula is now being pushed by some airline tycoon or other, and the Mayor is happy to let it be known he's interested.

However the Conservative leader of Medway Council, is not so happy:


"I am furious that this unwelcome proposal to concrete over the Hoo Peninsula to create an international airport is back on the table....

The pie in the sky idea of building an airport in the Thames Estuary, being pushed by Boris Johnson to deflect the debate away from Heathrow expansion, is virtually dead.

Yet still Boris persists by resurrecting unacceptable proposals to build an airport in Medway that would cause massive environmental damage and be potentially dangerous to passengers and aircraft through the risk of bird strike...

This is an obscene proposal that must never be allowed to get off the ground."

The press release goes on in similarly annoyed terms for another few paragraphs, which leaves me wondering:

Why does Boris continue to pursue these schemes that have no backing amongst his own party and which aren't even within his jurisdiction? 

8 comments:

realfoodlover said...

Can this be the very same Boris Johnson who claims to be green with his London's Cycle Hire scheme?

(A cycle project that was begun by Labour's Ken Livingstone but gets credited to Boris...).

AdamB said...

Vote Blue get... greenfield concreted over and ancient woodlands sold off to developers?

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/huge-areas-of-woodland-to-be-sold-by-government-2115153.html

Appealing of Ealing said...

"Why does Boris continue to pursue these schemes that have no backing amongst his own party and which aren't even within his jurisdiction?"

No idea. And even if I was minded to flog a dead horse, it wouldn't be this one.

Appealing of Ealing said...

"(A cycle project that was begun by Labour's Ken Livingstone but gets credited to Boris...)."

It's insufferably tedious remarks like this one that give you lot a bad name.

Are you suggesting that without Red Ken the bike scheme wouldn't have happened?

...

In any case it was a French idea, arguably Bertrand Delanoe's, certainly not Livingstone's.

AdamB said...

You're not really in a position to criticise "insufferably tedious remarks" though are you AofE? It's your speciality.

Appealing of Ealing said...

"You're not really in a position to criticise "insufferably tedious remarks" though are you AofE? It's your speciality."

Just fighting fire with fire.

Tristan Osborne said...

There is a very real risk here that Boris is an outrider for government on this scheme. If government were to even consult on this programme, like Stephen Byers did in 2002/03, it would kill the Conservatives in several marginal seats. Certainly in local elections.

Government has made it clear that whilst it has 'no plans' there is ambiguity. No plans can change. Albeit probably not in the near future

Your blog may also be interested to know that No 10 and No 11 are receiving representations on an airport in North Kent according to the Sunday Times.

The proof is in the pudding. Will the Parliamentary Thames Estuary Group continue to receive Tory support and will Boris, as Conservative Party candidate, immediately reject the idea. I doubt we will see any substantive change in direction.

So back to square one, or not quite, the idea for Cliffe airport is now out there and up for discussion.

What the opposition will focus on is the fact that London & Kent Conservatives are now playing political football with a very unpopular airport locally. Residents dont like being kicked around.

AdamB said...

You're right that there is that risk Tristan. Cameron said there were "no plans" for either airport at Prime Minister's Questions today, but that is a very diplomatic choice of words. It doesn't rule it out in the future.

That said, the Sunday Times is a known conduit for dodgy stories pushed by the Mayor's office (especially Kit Malthouse)

I wouldn't be surprised if that was also the case here.

Your wider point about "playing political football" is right. It isn't fair on people in the area and the uncertainty it causes them.