Inner Thames Estuary Airport Proposal ‘Not Shortlisted’

The Airports Commission has announced its decision not to add the inner Thames estuary airport proposal to its shortlist of options for providing new airport capacity by 2030.

Following detailed further study into the feasibility of an inner Thames estuary airport the commission has concluded that the proposal has substantial disadvantages that collectively outweigh its potential benefits.

Airports Commission Chair Sir Howard Davies said: “We are not persuaded that a very large airport in the Thames estuary is the right answer to London’s and the UK’s connectivity needs. While we recognize the need for a hub airport, we believe this should be a part of an effective system of competing airports to meet the needs of a widely spread and diverse market like London’s.

There are serious doubts about the delivery and operation of a very large hub airport in the estuary. The economic disruption would be huge and there are environmental hurdles which it may prove impossible, or very time-consuming to surmount. Even the least ambitious version of the scheme would cost £70 to £90 billion with much greater public expenditure involved than in other options – probably some £30 to £60 billion in total.”

There will be those who argue that the commission lacks ambition and imagination. We are ambitious for the right solution. The need for additional capacity is urgent. We need to focus on solutions which are deliverable, affordable, and set the right balance for the future of aviation in the UK,” added Sir Howard Davies.

The commission received and developed a substantial body of evidence that it considered very carefully over a number of months before reaching this decision.

Alongside today’s announcement the commission has published a paper in which it sets out in more detail the reasoning behind its decision.

The commission will now continue its appraisal of the 3 shortlisted proposals for additional capacity and will publish the appraisal for public consultation in the autumn.

Press Release, September 2, 2014

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