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I do hope so! Boris Island may not contain all the answers - or even end up being practicable at all - but nevertheless it deserves serious consideration.

When people talk about Paris and Amsterdam "overtaking" Heathrow as an international hub, they need to remember that Amsterdam only has one airport with one terminal and Paris has CDG and Orly, whereas London has Heathrow, Gatwick, City, Stanstead and Luton all serving it. There are plenty of better alternatives to Heathrow.

As conservatives, how can we seriously support the state-sanctioned requisition of private property in this way? What the government is proposing to do is no different to the Chinese clearing peoples' homes to build flowerbeds near the Olympic Stadium.

This is a crack-brained idea which will simply not work. Look around the area. There is that sunken munitions ship from WW2 still rotting away in the Thames, and a large Tank Farm for LPG on the Isle of Grain. Not exactly the best place to build an airport! Boris Island may appeal to many at first view but I feel that it would be a white elephant and far more expensive then Heathrow Expansion.

However if Villiers wants to extend an olive branch to the Aviation Industry then why does she also say NO! NO! NO! to a second runway at Gatwick? The objections she and her supporters put forward against Heathrow do not exist there. The impact on housing and the environment would be far less, there is already a good rail link which could be enhanced and a second Terminal with a monorail connecting it to the older Terminal/Gatwick Railway Station.

If narrow political advantage at the polls is the underlying purpose of Villiers' opposition then there is only one marginal seat Crawley in that area and as many of the electors there work in Gatwick Airport of in local industries which serve the airport and a Tory PPC wise enough to support an additional runway could gain rather than lose votes thereby.

There are many people such as myself who work in an aviation related industry who would love to be able to vote Conservative at the next General Election but will not do so if this will harm our employment. Villiers' could meet Aviation halfway and consider Gatwick instead of Heathrow. Perhaps Cameron when performing his Shadow Cabinet Reshuffle could replace Villiers, who has painted herself and the Conservative Party into a corner on this issue, with some more capable and flexible Transport Spokesman and try to find some common ground.

I hope so. Boris Island seems provisionally like an excellent idea, rather than the wretched Heathrow, and I'd like to see Theresa give it full and proper consideration if and when Boris and Kit Malthouse decide the plan is feasible.

@Steve Foley:

I hate to break this news to you, but Theresa Villiers doesn't owe you a living.

In any case, you presumably already have a job. Can you explain exactly how Theresa's or Boris's proposals will somehow take that job away?

Like most industries aviation is vulnerable at present in an unsettled economy. Expansion at London Heathrow, or Gatwick as a second option, would enhance my employment security whereas should major airlines migrate their facilities to France, The Netherlands , Germany etc, the position would be weakened.

Martin Coxall to throw your words back in your face, I do not owe the Conservative Party a vote and whilst until recently I was highly likely to do so at the next General Election (I vote Tory in local elections) I will be unlikely to vote for your and Villiers' party as long as they maintain this current policy. I have already made my mind up how to vote in the Euro Elections and that will not be Conservative either.

I am only one voter and thus of no value or significance to you but just think, how many others who work in aviation may make the same decision as me. In a safe seat this may not matter but I am sure many live in key marginals.

Why does Theresa always look like
she's scared of ghosts?

I've flown out of both Gatwick and Heathrow recently and found LHR to be an absolute nightmare. Gatwick is much better served by the trains and has the monorail system. The immigration control at LHR takes forever and a day to get through. The Gatwick train means passengers are probably in central London quicker than if they'd landed at LHR.

There is also far more space for expansion at LGW.

The third runway question seems to be causing us problems at the moment. I myself know grassroots members who personally support the Government line on the subject.

I myself disagree with them. I can see the economic case for Heathrow expansion, but the fact is that we would be extending a planning error from the 50s, as DC has said. I agree with Theresa, and we do need to explore ALL the options, including 'Boris Island'.

Quite apart from the environmental ramifications, as Cleethorpes Rock said earlier, we cannot allow the state to seize property in this way. Expanding Heathrow would also affect people in the area in other ways. In Bexley, where I live, I am under the flightpaths for both Biggin Hill and London City. The planes are no-where near as big, but they are very low and very noisy Private Jets and Cargo aircraft, so I can sympathise with those living around Heathrow who worry about more noise pollution.

In a final thought, Cleethorpes is also right about the fact that London is served by multiple airports, and these should be looked at, particularly ones that will have room to expand further in the future, and cause as few problems for people as possible, such as the potential of 'Boris Island'.

As a party we need to be supportive of the aviation industry and the expansion of British transport to cope with demand and stay a world leader. But we cannot afford to jump in head first and splurge money on ill-thought out policies.

I would have thought that ghosts would be scared of her with that look!

I can not see the point of opposing a 3rd runway at Heathrow. Sorry!

At the end of the day if we want international connections, trade, flights, holidays etc Heathrow is a good place to fly from. If it is at full capacity, increase the capacity of both the airport and the road system around it. The proposed rail link between Heathrow and points t'North is also a good idea in my opinion.

Certainly other airports also serve the country, as mentioned above, and, unless, as the Green lobby seem to want, we revert back to the horse and quill pens, we are going to need better, and probably increased, facilities.

One thing about a Thames-based island airport - the recent successful landing in the River Hudson by the Airbus illustrates the danger of birdstrike to aircraft (and birds!). The Thames is a good place to find various birds, particularly in flocks. Not a good place to site an airport, I would have thought, unless flying through flocks of birds is someone's idea of reducing the numbers.

Put a high speed magrail between Heathrow and Gatwick. The transfer times will be the same as between terminals in many major airports and the two can then run as one big hub. A second runway at Gatwick will then look after any conceivable growth for the next 30 years.

I expect it will be looked at and then rejected as it has been twice before.

Climate change remains the greatest threat to biodiversity and mankind, and Friends of the North Kent Marshes alongside a broad coalition of over 4 million people including RSPB, Greenpeace, Womens Institute, WWF and many faith groups believe that there should be no further airport expansion.
We are wholly opposed to the construction of an airport anywhere in the Thames Estuary because of the immense damage it would cause to the area’s internationally important wildlife and the wider environment.The whole issue was exhaustively investigated between 2002 and 2005 in the Government’s Aviation White Paper. All the key players, including the aviation industry, contributed. The idea of an airport in the Thames Estuary was conclusively ruled out and upheld by the High Court. In addition to the unprecedented environmental damage and the resulting massive legal implications, the investigation found that an estuary airport did not make sense economically, would not meet the requirements of the aviation industry and presented a significantly higher risk of ‘bird strike’ than at any other major airport in the UK.
Recent statements by London Mayor, Boris Johnson, suggesting that he would like an estuary airport, do nothing to alter any of these findings. The threats and the risks remain the same. An airport in the Thames Estuary is a complete non-starter ecologically, environmentally and economically, and to talk about it is to waste everyone’s time.
It would potentially be the single biggest piece of environmental vandalism ever perpetrated in the UK.
Bird strike
An airport in the Thames Estuary would be unsafe!
Even with an aggressive bird hazard management programme (i.e. shooting or scaring the birds away), the bird strike hazard would be up to 12 times higher than at any other major UK airport.The governments own birdstrike hazard report from the 2003 SERAS study stated that "It is difficult to envisage a more problematic site anywhere in the UK''
Perhaps the London Mayor should arrange a meeting with the RSPB and talk to the real experts

Don Hoyle and Forlornhope. At last some common-sense and practical ideas and not "my party right or wrong" thinking. If we ever meet I will buy you both a pint!

Oh dear! Some Greens don't like "Boris Island" either.

I can recall some years ago now the proposal to build an extra airport for London at Foulness also in the Thames Estuary and this was dropped for similar reasons.

"Boris Island" is a different proposal to any previous one to build a new international airport at Manston or on the Isle of Grain.

The munitions ship doesn't matter and the fuel depots on Grain don't matter, because it would be 5-8 miles east of them out in the estuary, so several miles from any major residential area.

This would allow for 24/7/52 operation, with minimal noise impact on residents, something no London airport can currently offer. So, a pledge to end ALL night flights at any other airport around London once it opens could be given and would be a wisespread vote winner.

No existing airport need close, competition can be enhanced between five competing airports, ideally in separate ownership, but certainly owned by three or four separate companies.

Linking an airport in the estuary to the existing CTRL is straightforward. Linking it to Southend airport for short-haul transfers is straightforward. Road links to the A2/M2 and A127/M25 are also relatively easy and - in the latter case - coincides with planned improvements to support development of the Thames Gateway.

Even building the "island" itself offers some tremendous opportunities for disposing of London's waste by macerating and mixing it with hardcore before dumping it in what could be a huge additonal "land-fill" site for the capital. The Government could even help by exempting it from landfill taxes.

If we accept that London needs additional air capacity and want to provide it in a way which affects existing communities and employment centres the least, then the island deserves a serious investigation alongside expansion at all the other airports.

I also think we should look at whether it is possible to build a proper high-speed rail network to surplant some of the demand for air travel. I suspect that to do this we would need to have a high-speed ring around London, taking in the four existing major airports and linking to the Channel Tunnel, with spurs off to the North East, North West and South West. (Any single route as currently proposed would miss out too much of the country.) though I suspect this is a much more expensive option and the delays would be far, far greater.

I'm hoping that ms. Villiers has received a bit of a 'talking-to' by the men in dark suits, in the light of which she's now pulling back from her previous head-in-the-sand BANANA [Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything] attitude.

Wasn't there once a plan to build another London airport out on the vast, desolate and unpeopled wastes of Foulness? From memory this was/is MoD land, which would make any childish and obstructionist activities from the likes of greenpeace a bit more difficult.

Personally though, I'd prefer the simple, logical option of getting on and building Heathrow #3 as soon as possible (to cope with current needs) and then consider the other options for the future.

A few obvious questions about the Boris Island concept. What takes less time and money. A sixth terminal and third runway at an existing airport or a 'virgin airport'. For a start with LHR you are talking about a planning enquiry into a proposed expansion of an existing facility. Normally with enquiries into expansion of an existing facility you will get P/Permission if you can show the existing facility is fully utilised and their is a clear demand for the expanded facility. An enquiry to prove the need for a 'virgin airport' and that the need for such an airport can be best met by a new airport at that particular location is much longer and more expensive. In addition there will be numerous objections because of bird sanctuaries, wetlands, salt marshes, you name it the environmental groups will object to it.
Turning to transport links. LHR already has existing links some of which may need upgrading. Boris island will need links from scratch. Yes a link to the existing CTRL is possible but once again it is a link to London St Pancras and the SE. How are the rest of the country going to get to it ? Roads from Essex Corridor to Central London are abysmal with many routes being non-motorway. It is much easier into London from the South or West. Finally LHR has a tube link (often forgotten about). Tube and rail track building over the marshes is difficult and expensive. Ask people in NE London who have few tube/rail services because of the Hackney marshes.
Finally the bird hazard has been mentioned. Not all pilots can glide Airbus's down into the Thames like that US pilot did into the Hudson river.

PS : I thought there was a planning restriction stopping a 2nd runway at LGW until 2020 ?

I am minded against Boris's idea. Good to see him coming up with ideas though.

"I thought there was a planning restriction stopping a 2nd runway at LGW until 2020 ?"

That can be rescinded.

A good post ivantheyidfrombradford and thanks for the information, it will be most useful to me. Likewise Tanuki.

I am afraid Boris`s Island airport may seem a good idea in theory but I am afraid its not on.
I also think its out of order for a London Mayor to tell Essex and Kent that should have a new airport to cope with air transport expansion that London doesn`t want.
If the party doesn`t put a stop to this idea they will find there be a good deal of resentment to the party build up in Kent and Essex. Areas where there are lots of winnable seats.

I find it very frustrating that we are just approaching one aspect of the transport sector, in one area of the country, again!!

As I have said on previous posts, why as a party, don't we put together a comprehensive transport policy for the whole of the UK, and abandon the London centric ideas and leave that to New Labour.

I understand that the public finances are in a mess, but capital spending on new transport infastructure could be a good way to stimulate the economy across the whole UK and it also could be a good way to help create a low carbon economy, by putting more eco-friendly buses on the road for example. And I bet if the regional airports are sorted out, and transport into Heathrow is improved, won't the productivity of Heathrow improve? But then I ask myself can BAA and BA be trusted with opening another terminal, anyone remember T5?

None of the respondents above have taken account of technical impovements already happening in new aircraft. Thus the A380 uses 17% less fuel per passenger than other already efficient Airbusses, the new and yet to fly Boeing 787 is even more economical that current Boeings and the A380. The possiblenest generation of Blended Wing Body Aircraft (BWB) as exemplified by the X48B British Built flying scale model and BAE experiments too promise even more efficiency using only three engines to do the job of four direct equivalents and yet take off on considerably shorter runways and have a steeper climb out too. A further bonus is that the engines are on top of the wings at the rear so much of the engine noise is shielded from the ground. The lower noise profile is also aided by fewer flaps and slats making for a cleaner airframe. If the BWB type of aircraft become general, then the lesser runway demands could revolutionise airtravel by reducing the importance of vast hub airports and make more places available for direct flights.

I have just read an article on a link of the frontpage, suggesting Theresa Villiers expressed the wish to leave the shadow cabinet before the last reshuffle due to a lack of confidence in her own abilty. If this is still the case and if people generally don't support her, and with papers rife about Ken Clarke, why not give the shadown transport brief to him. Geoff Hoons a close ally of Gordon Brown, and Clarke could be put to good use to destroy Brown policies, leaving the "popular" Alan Duncan in the brief of shadow business secretary pleasing the Tory Right. Such a move would also push Clarke away from the European views more, as with the business secretary role he could land in the debate over the Euro etc, playing into the hands of Mandelson. Clarke Vs Hoon would be an interesting one to watch, not just because there constituencys are close, but they are two big beasts are either side of the house.

It seems to me that we have several big airports in the UK and indeed around London. The problems seems to be the linkages between them and the rights to routes from them. For example my wife recently flew to and from Canada. She could not get a flight from Manchester she had to go to Heathrow. The person that suggested high speed rail links between airports and cities was absolutely spot on. It would have numerous massive benefits - 1) the airports could then share load like one massive airport, 2) internal flights would be reduced freeing up landing time and helping the environment, 3) the UK would become the most attractive destination in the World for business and visitors, 4) the North would get benefits at last.

To anyone who thinks the sites are too far away I would say not at all. Consider high speed links would be fast and comfortable and people have to wait around and check in early nowadays anyway. If you had to switch between terminals and runways on several airports in the UK it would be no different to sitting on a seat supping coffee or wandering round the shops while in one airport.

Our idea of high speed rail links was the right one. Be bold.

This is a no-brainer. Link the airports with high speed, high quality trains and run the whole system as the biggest airport in the world, sharing load. Benefits would be huge to numerous parts of UK and make us the most attractive destination in the world for business.

Sorry to post twice, thought the first one didn't send.

I personally expect to support the Boris Island plan - subject to seeing the final plans - and certainly support the principle. The fears of bird strike are a bit misguided as these can happen anywhere and - as the recent incident in NYC showed - better a crash over water than over a major city!

As regards costs, Boris Island is only more expensive than other ideas such as LHR R3 because inland expansion utilises enforced property seizure and fails to compensate everyone effected. And as far as infrastructure is concerned, Boris Island is the only long term answer. It's the airport Brunel would build!

Mr Foley, the state does not owe you or your industry a living, just as it does not owe me living, and did not owe the miners a living. We are a free market party. The recession is no excuse to confiscate private property!

Heathrow, Stansted and Gatwic all require an unacceptable use of state compulsory purchase powers, something that is the polar opposite of the free, property owning democracy that should be at the core of everything this party does. We should be standing up for the individual against the state, and that includes those so called businesses that use state powers such as compulsory purchase!

Sorry this wasn't included in my last post:..

Ivantheyidfrombradford; indeed the Boris Island could link into the CTRL perhaps via the existing freight only branch on the Grain/Hoo Penninsular which would be great for London and the SE. But from the CTRL at St Pancras links to the North are good - there's tube, Kings Cross, potentially a new high speed line North.

Steve Foley, Gatwic got planning concent with a requirement that there would be no R2 before 2020. Requirements are a core component of our planning system, if you start rescinding them they become worthless, no one will ever believe them, and so the system will become stuck. Do we want to end up like New Labour with worthless rescinded promises? And for that matter is threre anything else you'd like to rescind in order to.boost your industry besides property rights; the system of planning approval subject to requirements and free speech (with particular reference to inciting violence against cement mixers)?

In fairness to Boris I have to point out at least we are discussing and making inputs into a suggestion he has come up with. That put's him head & shoulders above most of the shadow cabinet. Most of them have not come up with any suggestions. Most of them think 'policy' is replying to whatever Labour are proposing to do !!

To "ivantheyidfrombradford",

"Yid" is seen as a pejorative term by some people and I'd be grateful if you would use a name for posting on this site that cannot be misunderstood.

Like it or not, sometimes Governments, and to a lesser extent Local Councils, have to take actions which will upset some people but benefit many more and are in the National Interest. This is the Utilitarian Principle as espoused by Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill, "The greatest good for the greatest number". Even if I worked in some other industry I would still support an additional runway at Heathrow or Gatwick

Had the NIMBYs and the BANANAs been around in the times of the Industrial Revolution we would never have been the Workshop of the World.

First, let's separate Heathrow and Gatwick.

Heathrow is a transit hub, it is not and never will be a place where travellers come to fly on holiday. Over 60% of Heathrow's travellers arrive on an inbound flight and catch another flight elsewhere. Saying it is denying less-well off travellers from flying is total guff. Uk travellers flying out for leisure purposes only represent 15% of passenger movements.

It has been expanded and it's growth based on a web of lies and deceit from government and private business ever since it was meant to be a 'bomber station' in 1944.

So much so, even its runways are located in the wrong place.

Gatwick is an entirely different proposition, the vast majority of its travellers arrive at the airport to fly out for leisure. Purpose built but there is a restrictive covenant on further development until 2019.

Expansion at Heathrow for a short runway is to merely offer more transit connections as a hub airport to shorter haul destinations.

It's economic worth to the UK is dubious at best, the carrier and airport operator will benefit, the locality will gain additional employment.

However, the local area has very low unemployment and relies on importing workers, hence the strain on the motorway network around Heathrow.

It is a totally fallacious purpose for a short runway and rest assured the next request from BAA will be an 'urgent' need for a runway extension.

So that'll be the end of Harlington and another 1,000 homes.

As to the aviation workers, your industry is a disgrace, it offers atrocious levels of services based on monopolistic practices.

As an exemplar of British industry, it is something to be ashamed of.

In the South-East, BAA have a 96% market share, it cannot be trusted with large-scale civil engineering works, it cannot be trusted to appraise the industry, even its air and noise pollution monitoring is a complete joke.

As for running an airport, it's simple, you are a shambles.

Conservative policy is absolutely spot-on with aviation. It is just like any other industry and should justify its existence by serving its customer well and winning business and the right to expand just like any other business.

Considering the economics...

Aviation is ranked alongside Waste and Sewage disposal at the 23rd largest industry sector.

For every £1 brought in by tourism, aviation flies out £2.77.

It has widespread VAT and duty concessions from aircraft rental and purchases as well as zero-rated fuel. These represent a de-facto subsidy from the Treasury of several billion pounds.

It is exempt for any form of environmental control (like Kyoto) and does not pay for any of the environment stress and damage it creates.

Damage that once EU air quality laws become law, 35,000 residents will have legal redress to seek a prosecution for Heathrow's pollution levels now, let alone with a sixth terminal and runway.

Well put, Mike Thomas.

Steve Foley, I am well aware of the Utilitarian principle and have no time for it. The "greatest happiness for the greatest number" reduces both life quality and human existance to a mathematical formula, seeking to maximise an immeasurable entity - "happiness" - among a fictional group. But as Mrs Thatcher rightly said: "There is no such [physical] thing, there are individuals and there are families." We are all individuals, not numbers in your utilitarian calculator!

Under such a philosophy as utilitarianism any degree of barbarism can be justified by it's supporters and has been by tyrrants from Stalin to Hitler. Besides the greatest happiness it's maxim is "the ends justify the means" but no, Mr Foley, they do not!

It is strange that on one thread you propose "let them be free" as a slogan, yet on this one propose enslaving us all to a numbers game!

As for your argument about the industrial revolution, as far as I recall that was the work of private businesses and not state compulsory purchase powers or intervention. You will note railways often wriggle or have inexplicable tunnels, built as they were to satisfy land owners.

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