Thames Estuary airport plans to be thoroughly examined, okay?
Have you heard about the plans for a new airport in the Thames Estuary? As you can imagine, there's a lot of people tutting and swearing about it while others look at it as a good thing to generate revenue and jobs.
And, because of that, the government is going to hold a formal consultation about it all, which will be undertaken in March. Of course, no decisions on anything at all have been made as yet, but London Mayor Boris Johnson backs the Thames airport idea. That's not particularly surprising is it? The news that Nick Clegg opposes it, is neither here nor there because he has to do what he's told by David Cameron.
Labour meanwhile are trying to work out if they can argue against the 'for' AND 'against' parties because they don't have the vaguest notion of what to do with themselves at the minute.
The airport itself would be built, in part, on reclaimed land and could be on either an island or a peninsula, however, there's a whole bunch of environmental concerns. Campaigners are worried about wintering birds who use that particular bit of the estuary and they must be protected apparently.
The BBC report that passenger demand for London's airports is forecast to increase from 140 million passengers a year in 2010 to 400 million passengers a year by 2050, so something is going to have to give. Colin Matthews, chief executive of airport operator BAA, which runs Heathrow, said he was pleased the government was recognising the need for more airport capacity, however, he warned that London "can't have two hubs" and all a new airport would mean is that Heathrow would become much smaller,
He says: "The consequences of closing Heathrow wouldn't just be big for my company. It would be big for 100,000 jobs in this part of London. It's a huge issue economically, a huge issue politically." Boris Johnson meanwhile, is worried that the UK isn't moving quickly enough in the aviation field, noting: "We can't go on expecting Britain to compete with France, Germany and other European countries when we simply can't supply the flights to these growth destinations - China, Latin America. We are being badly left behind."