Once again the nightmare of a Thames estuary airport has reared its ugly head! Communities in the Thames estuary have been here before and every time it has been rejected. There is massive opposition to the construction of an airport anywhere in the Thames Estuary because of the immense damage it would cause to the area’s internationally important wildlife and the wider environment.The whole issue was exhaustively investigated in the run up to the publication of the previous Government’s Aviation White Paper (2003). All the key players, including the aviation industry, contributed, and the idea of an airport in the Thames Estuary was ruled out. In addition to the unprecedented environmental damage and the resulting legal implications, the investigation found that an estuary airport did not make economic sense, would not meet the requirements of the aviation industry and presented a significantly higher (up to 12 times greater) risk of ‘bird strike’ than at any other major airport in the UK. Recent statements and proposals by London Mayor, Boris Johnson, Norman Foster and others in favour of an estuary airport, do nothing to alter these findings. The threats and the risks remain the same. An airport in the Thames Estuary is unrealistic due to the ecological, environmental and economic impacts it would cause. As well as being hugely expensive, an airport in the Thames Estuary would cause massive environmental damage, and there would be a significantly increased risk of birdstrike as the Thames Estuary is a hub for hundreds of thousands of migrant birds. Furthermore, a new hub airport in the Thames Estuary could have a very high carbon cost.
The RSPB fought its largest ever campaign against a proposal to site a new airport on Cliffe Marshes in 2003. These proposals, which were part of a Government review of airport capacity in the South East ahead of the White Paper, were eventually rejected.
To read the RSPB position statement please click here