Councillors from all political groups on Medway Council have welcomed Prime Minister David Cameron’s confirmation that the government has no plans to build a new airport in Kent despite backing for such a scheme from Mayor of London Boris Johnson.
Since his election in 2008, the Mayor has repeatedly pushed the idea of a new airport in Kent – dubbed ‘Boris Island’ by critics – as an alternative to further expansion at Heathrow despite the objections of local councillors, major airlines using Heathrow Airport and environmental groups.
In November 2008 Mr Johnson commissioned Doug Oakervee to conduct “a preliminary feasibility study” into the idea and, after visit to the potential site of the airport in January 2009, said “a new airport in the Thames estuary has got to be factored in as an option for London’s long-term aviation needs.”
However asked about the prospect of a new airport during Wednesday’s Prime Minister’s Questions, Mr Cameron made clear the government had no plans to support such a project.
A statement issued by Medway council following PMQ’s calls on the Mayor to “publicly abandoned his proposal for a new international airport in Medway or the Thames Estuary and ends the uncertainty and blight that he is causing for thousands of people living in the area.”
Medway Council leader Rodney Chambers, who has previously written for MayorWatch setting out the objections to the scheme, said the PM’s comments “will provide some comfort for the people of Medway whose homes and lives are already being affected by this harebrained scheme.”
Cllr Paul Godwin, ;eader of the council’s Labour group, said Mayor Johnson’s proposed was “no different” to a similar scheme “rejected by the last government as uneconomic and environmentally disastrous.”
Geoff Juby, leader of Medway’s Liberal Democrat group, said: “If Boris is still confident that London needs another airport he should meet the elected representatives of the areas affected and should ensure all discussions about the airport are held transparently in the public domain.”
The Council’s statement has also been endorsed by Cllr Tony Goulden, Leader of the Independent group, who warned: “This is good news but Boris Johnson is a maverick. I’m afraid it needs a much stronger statement than this to stop him.
“We need the Prime Minister to publicly state that he will not support any attempt to build a Medway airport on land or offshore. The Department for Transport may have no plans to build an airport here but Boris certainly does.”