The closing of Heathrow Airport in favour of a new hub airport in the Thames estuary could cost 72,000 jobs according to the pro-expansion group Future Heathrow.
The spectre of massive job cuts was raised by Future Heathrow’s Lord Soley, the former Labour MP, in an article in yesterday’s Sunday Times which reported that Conservative Mayoral candidate Boris Johnson is backing plans for a new airport located in artificial islands located in the estuary.
Mr Johnson is quoted by the paper as saying the authorities shouldn’t “entrench a planning error of the 1960s by further expansion at Heathrow. We should look at whether there’s a solution to the east, in the Thames estuary.”
A spokesman for Ken Livingstone’s campaign said Johnson’s support for the scheme “blows out of the water his aim of being seen as a green candidate in this election.”
Speaking later Mr Livingstone said his own plans for the area were to “create Europe’s largest new park…including a major new wildlife habitat at Rainham”.
In November Mr Johnson called for “a full review of all potential capacity in London’s airports before we even contemplate such a massive increase of air traffic over West London.”
Last month the two rivals, along with LibDem candidate Brian Paddick and the Green Party’s Sian Berry appeared in an advert paid for by Greenpeace, Airportwatch and enoughsenough.org opposing further expansion at Heathrow.