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Airport is just pie in the sky’

PUBLISHED: 10:48 07 January 2010 | UPDATED: 17:29 25 August 2010

HEAD IN THE CLOUDS?:

HEAD IN THE CLOUDS?:

AN airport in the Thames Estuary would be too close to a major gas port and could require a new rail station in the capital, a report has found. A report into The Thames Estuary Airport Feasibility Review was agreed by Medway Council s cabinet on Tuesday

AN airport in the Thames Estuary would be too close to a major gas port and could require a new rail station in the capital, a report has found.

A report into The Thames Estuary Airport Feasibility Review was agreed by Medway Council's cabinet on Tuesday.

Implemented to look into the original feasibility study, it was published in October last year, which was ordered by Mayor of London Boris Johnson to look into building an island airport as an alternative to expanding Heathrow.

Among the issues highlighted by the report is the proximity of the proposed airport to Thamesport, a container port in the River Medway, where ships from the North Sea unload cargoes of natural gas.

It also concludes that a new high speed rail service would need to be built to ferry passengers to the airport.

It states that this would mean a new train station in central London would need to be built, because St Pancras station does not have the space to serve a second high speed train line.

Rodney Chambers, leader of Medway Council, said: "This report to cabinet shows exactly what we already knew - that the Mayor of London's plans for an estuary airport are complete pie in the sky.

"His feasibility study has not taken into account so many things such as the distance it would be from London and whether passengers or airlines would actually want this.

"It has ignored the fact that there is a port importing a huge quantity of liquid natural gas every day and has made only a very arbitrary study of the transport links needed."

Other issues raised by the council report include how the airport would be built 60 miles away from London, which it says would be the equivalent of having Birmingham's runway built in Milton Keynes, and the threat of bird-strike, which it claims would be 12 times more likely from an area so close to marshland popular with migrating birds.

The report also points out that Kent International Airport at Manston could be utilised and connected to the existing high speed train service.

It says the Mayor's original feasibility study did not show how people in Medway would get to the airport without going by train via Ebbsfleet.

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