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Boris's island airport dreams sunk, as Labour claims '£millions lost'

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Boris's island airport dreams sunk, as Labour claims '£millions lost'

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Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Local Government and also in Central Government, Development

Boris's island airport dreams sunk, as Labour claims 'millions lost' Boris's island airport dreams sunk, as Labour claims 'millions lost'

London Mayor Boris Johnson's dream of building a new airport in the Thames Estuary is over, after a commission rejected the plan.

And the mayor has been slammed by Labour for "wasting more than £5 million of taxpayers' money" on a "pie-in-the sky vanity project".

However, despite the Davies Commission's rejection of the scheme on the grounds of its costs and environmental impact, Johnson has insisted his vision is not dead.

The mayor, who will stand as a Conservative party candidate in next year's general election in Uxbridge and South Ruislip, said: "In one myopic stroke, the Airports Commission has set the debate back by half a century and consigned their work to the long list of vertically filed reports on aviation expansion that are gathering dust on a shelf in Whitehall."

Johnson insisted that plans to expand either Gatwick or Heathrow airports to cope with increased air traffic into London would be blocked by overwhelming public opposition and no government would back them.

The proposed four-runway airport on the Isle of Grain in the Thames Estuary has been projected to cost £70-90 billion to develop.

By scotching 'Boris Island', the Davies Commission must decide to either lengthen a runway at Heathrow, or build a new one at either Heathrow or Gatwick.

London Assembly Labour Group transport spokesperson Val Shawcross AM said: "Boris Johnson has long known that an estuary airport option was simply not viable, but has ploughed on regardless and wasted more than £5m of taxpayer money pursuing this pie-in-the-sky vanity project.

“If anything, Londoners now deserve an apology from their mayor. He has wasted valuable public money promoting an estuary airport to raise his profile, when the expert evidence all along suggested the idea was environmentally and financially doomed."

However, Richard Tracey, GLA Conservative London Assembly Member, condemned the commission's decision, claiming that the capital needs a "globally competitive hub airport".

Tracey said: "In ruling out the Thames Estuary plans, the commission has just ruled out the only remaining option that fits the bill.

"In reality it is the commission itself that should be scrapped. Building a new runway at Gatwick will simply just mean a bigger Gatwick. A third runway at Heathrow would cause misery for millions of Londoners without solving the problem.

"The Davies Commission, with a budget of £20m, is heading down a blind alley, whilst wasting time and taxpayer cash. The government must pull the plug and adopt the Mayor of London’s Estuary airport solution."

Reacting to the commission's verdict, London Assembly Green Party member Darren Johnson said: “The commission has finally sunk Boris Island once and for all. The Mayor, has already squandered three million pounds of his five million budget on this non-starter. He must stop wasting any more money on it.

“Expanding Heathrow is not the solution either. For anyone who genuinely cares about the future, the only sensible solution is no expansion at all. London is already served by five airports and six commercial runways. Further aviation expansion would be madness, causing further noise misery and undermining efforts to tackle climate change.”

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