Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Boris Island is a really stupid idea and would be an obscene waste of money


OK so I’ve a little interest in the subject – my parents live on Sheppey and my sister lives in Rochester (or is it Strood – these places blend into one glorious Medway mush). Why on Earth are we even considering spending something like £50 billion on building an airport in the Thames estuary?

Last year, Mr Johnson published a report claiming that an airport in the Thames Estuary would lead to billions of pounds of investment from countries such as Brazil and China. It stated that the additional hub airport would radically increase foreign direct investment into Britain from fast – growing developing countries.

So let’s have a think about this then. London needs new airport capacity – I’m not one of the greeny-greeny, lentil-knitters who think air travel is an unalloyed evil. But why on earth don’t you put it at Heathrow? You know, where there’s already an airport, where the public transport and road networks exist and where the big airlines want to go?

Surely, if we want to increase capacity we should do so at the most economics rate – so here’s the comparison:

Building Boris Island:   £50 billion
Building a third runway at Heathrow:  £8 billion

The idea of a floating airport in the Thames estuary is beyond stupid, it would be (rather like High Speed 2) a scandalous waste of public money. And comparing the situation in London to massively land-poor places like Hong Kong or Singapore is utterly misleading.



SadButMadLad said...

Building Boris Island: £50b
Building a 3rd runway at Heathrow plus the appeals, judicial enquiries, newts, treehuggers, etc: £100b

Simon Cooke said...

...and there won't be such appeals @SadButmadlad in the wonderful place that is North Kent? Think on - Sheppey has two exceptional migratory bird reserves, the Hoo Peninsula is a SSSI... and that's just from memory!

adwelly said...

The big problem with Heathrow is that because of the prevailing wind over London, from west to east, planes generally line up over London in order to land there.

The costs of an accident over London would be very severe indeed, and given the air traffic and nature of random events it seems that it will happen sooner or later.

An airport located east of London avoids the danger to London itself because aircraft line up over the channel. As an artificial island it can be expanded pretty much at will.

The big problem with the idea is bird strike. It's hard to see how this can be sorted out - we can hardly ask the birds to migrate in a different pattern can we ?

Perhaps the best solution is a much expanded Stanstead with better transport links. Boring but effective.