Environmental campaign groups including the RSPB are warning the Government against adding an airport at the Thames Estuary as part of their upcoming consultation regarding the future of aviation. David Cameron is expected to announce that an official consultation will be taking place, and this will include plans for an airport hub to be located in the Estuary, a haven for thousands of wading birds and wildfowl.
Experts believe that placing an airport here will, as well as destroying vital habitat, would be at a very high risk of bird strikes, which offer extremely serious flight safety issues. Martin Harper is the conservation director of the RPSB, and he says that there can be no economic argument for the destruction of a vital habitat for these thousands of wetland birds and it was no more than an act of vandalism on the environment.
He went on to say that if it went ahead it would be just to suit the Governments short term approach to the chronic economic mess the country was in. By concreting over our environment and pumping even more carbon into the air was not the way to put us on the path to long term sustainability. Mt Harper also said that Mr Cameron’s green promises are ringing very hollow right now, as he seems set to do exactly the opposite of what he promised.
The previous Government produced a white paper that looked at this idea but concluded that it was bad for wildlife, bad for air safety and bad for business. Mr Harper says that this Government seems determined to waste public money just to come to the same conclusions. He said that the Estuary was a jewel in natures crown, and not just a wasteland waiting to be concreted over for the benefit of London.
The Estuary exists in its current form thanks to years of campaigning by both conservationists and local residents. George Osborne has made it clear that he feels that environmental regulation to protect our most valuable wildlife sites for wildlife are simply a brake on business, but Mr Harper believes that if those rules are weakened, it gives environmentally destructive proposals an easy ride to approval.
Andy Atkins is the Executive Director of Friends of the Earth, and he says that a new airport in Thames Estuary will have a devastating impact on both the environment and local communities, and all for the sake of pie in the sky economics that don’t add up in the first place. He added that London simply doesn’t need another airport hub and it already has more flights going to the main business destinations in the world that the rest of Europe.
The WWF have also said that they are gravely concerned about the rumours that the Government are thinking about putting this south east airport expansion back onto the agenda. They said that this is simply not necessary, and that there is already plenty of capacity across the capitals 6 airports and seven runways to meet with demand up until 2050, and there in no need to even considering a seventh airport.