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Mayor puts final 'Boris Island' submission to Airports Commission

A promotional picture of so-called 'Boris Island'

Boris Johnson has put in a final submission for a new airport to the Airports Commission - the body deciding how to expand air capacity in the South East - in a bid to get a new airport built in the Thames Estuary.

The Mayor claims a new airport on the Isle of Grain would boost the economy by £7 billion each year and create thousands of jobs, but his plans have attracted criticism in the past.

Yesterday, Medway and Kent Councils, who both oppose the Mayor's plans, published the results of a survey they commissioned that apparently showed five out of six adults would oppose the new airport.

Rival bids include Heathrow and Gatwick airports, each campaigning for a new runway. The Commission is due to make a final recommendation by 2015.

Additional analysis needed on Estuary airport proposals

The challenges remain, but the potential benefits, especially in relation to noise and regeneration, appear stronger than for other new hub sites.

We have therefore stated that we will carry out additional analysis of these options, looking not just at the proposal from the Mayor but also those from private sector promoters, to properly understand some of the implications of a new hub airport at those sites.

– Sir Howard Davies, Airports Commission

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Airports Commission boss sees benefits in Estuary scheme

The Thames Estuary Credit: Steve Parsons/PA Archive

The head of the Whitehall-appointed Airports Commission has indicated that the idea of a "Boris Island" new Thames Estuary airport is still very much under consideration.

Last December, the commission chairman Sir Howard Davies described the estuary plan, supported by London Mayor Boris Johnson, as "imaginative" with the cost possibly as high as £112 billion.

The estuary option did not make the commission's new-runway shortlist published in December, although the commission said it would further study the estuary plan.

But in an interview with the Business Travel News publication due out on Monday, Sir Howard speaks of the possible benefits of an estuary scheme.

Boris: new plans show expanding Heathrow would be 'folly'

London Mayor Boris Johnson has given his blessing to the new six-runway option for a Thames Estuary airport, saying:

“This is further welcome argument in favour of the feasibility of having a new hub airport in the Thames estuary.

With so many options available for a multi-runway hub airport in a new location, it would be folly for the Airports Commission to give countenance to the prospect of expanding Heathrow, the most noise-polluting airport in Europe.”

– Boris Johnson, Mayor of London

Rival airport plan unveiled for 'Boris Island'

A new plan for an airport on the Thames Estuary has been unveiled - with six runways instead of the four originally proposed.

Plans for a Thames Estuary solution to London's airport capacity problems have been dubbed 'Boris Island' after the Mayor expressed his support for them.

The plans have been drawn up by Testrad - the consortium set up by the Mayor to look at Thames Estuary proposals. The new airport would be called 'London Britannia' and sit on a purpose build island off the Isle of Sheppey in Kent.

How 'London Britannia' airport would look from above Credit: Testrad
A view of the proposed terminals and runways Credit: Testrad
How the airport would be set out on the inside Credit: Testrad
How the inside of the airport would look Credit: Testrad
Ideas for how the airport could be accessed from different areas of the capital Credit: Testrad

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Seal numbers can 'help with conservation'

There are around 500 harbour seals and 200 of the larger grey seals in the Thames Estuary, according to the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) said.

ZSL's conservation scientist Joanna Barker said:

We knew there were a lot of seals in the Thames but 708 is pretty incredible.

In previous results there's been a good few hundred in the Thames, but it's great to have a figure we can use as a baseline.

Now we know the numbers and where they are, it can help with conservation.

It's a really good indicator because the seals are the top predators in the marine food chain, and it shows that the marine environment is relatively good and is producing enough food for the seals to eat.

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