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Thames Estuary Airport proposal: AEF position paper

3rd December, 2009

The London Mayor has suggested that the development of an estuary airport may provide an alternative to Heathrow expansion and commissioned Doug Oakervee, the engineer who masterminded Hong Kong’s island airport, to conduct a feasibility study.

Having reviewed this study, AEF  is concerned about the environmental impacts of a new airport in the Thames Estuary in terms of biodiversity loss and likely increases in greenhouse gas emissions as a result of increased aviation activity. Purported environmental benefits of in terms of noise, air pollution and risk, meanwhile, remain uncertain.

AEF believes that all UK aviation expansion plans should be put on hold pending a review of the fundamental evidence underpinning Government policy on airports. In the meantime, we are opposed to the building of a new airport in the Thames Estuary and consider that rather than investing further public money into consideration of new airports, investment should instead focus on provision and promotion of low-carbon alternatives to aviation.

The attached briefing paper takes a historical look at estuary airport proposals and the issues that have arisen, assesses the recent report from Douglas Oakervee, and sets out more fully AEF’s view on the proposal to construct a new airport in the Thames Estuary.