UK Commission rejects London estuary plan

The UK’s government-appointed Airports Commission announced its decision in early September not to add the inner Thames estuary airport proposal to its shortlist of options for providing new airport capacity by 2030.


UK Commission rejects London estuary plan


The UK’s government-appointed Airports Commission announced its decision in early September not to add the inner Thames estuary airport proposal to its shortlist of options for providing new airport capacity by 2030. Following what it called “detailed further study into the feasibility of an inner Thames estuary airport”, the commission has concluded that the proposal “has substantial disadvantages that collectively outweigh its potential benefits”.

“We are not persuaded that a very large airport in the Thames estuary is the right answer to London’s and the UK’s connectivity needs,” said Airports Commission chairman Howard Davies. “While we recognise the need for a hub airport, we believe this should be a part of an effective system of competing airports to meet the needs of a widely spread and diverse market like London’s.”

He also said there were serious doubts about the delivery and operation of a very large hub airport in the estuary. “The economic disruption would be huge and there are environmental hurdles which it may prove impossible, or very timeconsuming to surmount. Even the least ambitious version of the scheme would cost £70-90 billion (US$113-145 billion) with much greater public expenditure involved than in other options – probably some £30 to £60 billion in total. “The need for additional capacity is urgent. We need to focus on solutions that are deliverable, affordable, and set the right balance for the future of aviation in the UK.”