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STATEMENT ON LORD FOSTER'S THAMES ESTUARY AIRPORT ANNOUNCEMENT

Date: 01/11/2011           Category: Members Services / Chief Executive Office

Following Lord Foster’s announcement today (set for release at 6.00 am on 2 November 2011) on his proposals to build an airport on the Isle of Grain, Medway Council has today stated that this is one of the worst places for anyone to build a new airport.

Not only is it on the wrong side of London, with the capital in the way for most UK air travelers, but also plans released by the architect appear to place it on top of Europe’s largest Liquefied Natural Gas containers, where 20 per cent of Britain’s gas supplies are delivered by super tanker annually.

In addition, the site would also be where a major UK power station is based.

Leader of Medway Council, in Kent, Cllr Rodney Chambers, said: “The plan to build an airport on the Isle of Grain is, quite possibly, the daftest in a long list of pie in the sky schemes that have been put forward for an airport.

“The Isle of Grain is home to one of the world’s largest Liquefied Natural Gas terminals, with a fifth of the UK’s gas supply offloaded by container ships and stored there. It is plainly obvious that aircraft and huge gas containers are a potentially lethal mix.

“In addition to this, the sunken American warship the SS Richard Montgomery is submerged just a few miles from the location and laden with high explosives, the London Array wind farm is being built nearby and the airport cuts through an area that is home to hundreds of thousands of migrating birds.

“We have looked at Lord Foster’s plan and he appears to want to place his fantasy Isle of Grain airport on top of the LNG plant and a power station. It beggars belief.

“I can only assume he has not actually left his offices and traveled from London to Medway to have a look before releasing this."

Cllr Chambers added: “A huge new airport on or near the Thames Estuary is both unaffordable and unnecessary and the government and many airline industry giants have already said they do not support such a plan.

“In addition, a poll by ICM for Medway Council recently showed that 76 per cent of people across the country, and even 67 per cent of Londoners, are against a Thames estuary airport.

“An airport on or near the Thames Estuary is unnecessary and unaffordable and would cause a devastating impact to the hundreds of thousands of migrating birds there as well as the local environment.”

“Instead, we should look to using up capacity at existing airports, which is already government policy.

“For instance, Manston, in Kent, already has one of the longest runways in Europe and is close to the high speed rail link to London while Birmingham is near the proposed site for a second high speed train and says it aims to double capacity.”