I mused yesterday on the scale of public support for an airport in the Thames estuary.  While no direct indication of public reaction, it is always instructive to observe the media response and here it is...

The Times is generally taking the stance that Britain needs a new airport, whatever the consequences.  It suggests that Heathrow’s 3rd terminal was only avoided as an election ploy for west London voters.  Now it seems, the Tories can’t turn back on it.  Many are now warming to the idea.  The headline ‘Olympic call for airfields to help avoid ignominy of ‘Third World’ Heathrow’ implies that embarrassment of overcrowding is the main problem.  They talk about the temporary terminal but imply it won’t help our economics for long.  The conservation side was very much an afterthought on the 2 page spread.  However, an opinion piece by Willie Walsh, Chief Executive of International Airline Group gives an entirely different perspective suggesting that the scheme is likely to be politically unacceptable and passengers and airlines will only move if Heathrow is closed.

The Guardian seems fairly sure that Boris’s leaking of info to the Telegraph has killed off his plans with the Lib Dems opposition to any expansion in South East.  There are two full articles in guardian online. Juliette Jowitt has a kinder introduction into the birds it will impact and the significance of the protected areas involved.  Damian Carrington’s environmental blog is calling the government’s claims to be green, cynical.  He points out that if a cavalier attitude to carbon emissions doesn’t worry you, it should.

The Daily Mail seems positive about the Thames options being explored.

The Daily Telegraph " href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/travelnews/9023815/Nick-Clegg-threatens-to-veto-unviable-vision-of-a-new-airport-in-the-Thames-Estuary.html">The Daily Telegraph blames Nick Clegg for threatening to ‘sink’ Boris Island airport. They have a pro and con box of Boris Island, Lord Foster’s proposal, Stansted, Gatwick and Birmingham.  Boris Island comes off pretty well, followed closely by Gatwick.

The Independent provides a much more balance two page spread introducing the environmental argument early on.  It highlights the conflicts of local people as well as the wider environmental impact.  A for and against box from Simon Calder, Travel Editor and Michael McCarthy, Environment editor discusses the possibility of cutting emissions and increasing flying.  Again, Gatwick is mentioned as least objectionable proposal.

And as for the broadcast media, our man Rolf Williams, appeared on the 6 o'clock and 10 o'clock news as well as Newsight (about 30 minutes in).  The latter is worth a watch.  Rolf is great and I think that there are enough arguments in this clip to kill off the idea.

It seems that there is going to be a consultation, that the Thames Airport will feature as an option and my best guess is that it will be dropped.  It is a huge distraction and will generate great unease for the communities in the Thames.  But we will not be complacent.  We will fight this.

What is your assessment of the public mood about new airports and what do you think we should do to manage demand for flying?

It would be great to hear your views.

  • Why build another airport in the Thames Estuary where there is wildlife nearby?

  • Think I go along almost completely agreeing with redkite.These type of projects are in my opinion being driven by the need to politically keep the unemployed figures below 3 million.

    Think it inevitable we will need another airport but surely better places to have one,unless we all become much poorer as even now we in this country enjoy a lifestyle that I think the majority in the world envy,otherwise why do so many want to come here and if you see some of the scenes from some countries it makes me wonder why so many complain about how badly off they are.proof is obesity is the biggest problem in UK.

  • This is neither a "for", or "against", comment, but more of an observation!

    In the middle of the Thames Estuary, and might I add, directly under the flight path of the proposed new airport, lies the wreck of the S.S. Richard Montgomery, sunk there in WWII. It has on board 1400 tons of High Explosive in the shape of munitions.


    There have been many attempts in the past to clear, and defuse, the ticking "Time-Bomb", all have failed due to the unstable nature of the cargo. The best advice was to stay clear, until it blew up! The resultant detonation, according to an expert, would see wreckage falling as far away as Canterbury, in Kent, and Billericay in Essex.

    This is an experts conclusion. So! What price the North Kent Marshes?

    If it should detonate when several aircraft, are stacked in the "Approach"...

    Yet, none of the "interested " parties, "Pro" or "Con", have mentioned this distressing fact, it just seems to have slipped their minds.

    But there it lies!


  • An airport in the Thames Estuary is total madness and would be so environmentally destructive it is hard to contemplate. Of course the RSPB is right to say that, should it become a firm option it will be fought all the way. (In cluding the European Court I am sure.). The RSPB would have my fullest and active support in the matter. Hopefully the idea will be buried deep in the Thames Estuary,

    However I think we have to keep in mind two points, firstly given the over population of south east England and the Government's apparent intent to increase airport capacity, we need to be constructive in the criticism however much we loath airports, in order to try to channel this politica/ business pressure into the least destructive solution. To me, a third run way at Heathrow never seemed too bad an option (and I live not too far from Heathrow) one other option might be to expand an old war time airport where a rail link is reasonably available, possibly Manston on the tip of east Kent if that does not mean planes over the Thames Estuary or one of the many old wartime airports in East Anglia, but certainly not Lydd airport near Dungeness. I know this may sound heresy but we need to be practical and not say no to everything. My second point is that I was very pleased to see a report that Nick Clegg is firmly opposed to the to the idea of an airport in the Thames Estuary. We need to encourage him and other Lib Dems to speak out against these "mad" ideas. (for goodness sake I think the Lib Dems need to speak out much more).

    Regarding managing flying demand I think the only practical way of doing this is through the pocket, ie tax wise.