If recent reports are to be believed, the Chancellor George Osborne has now changed his mind to back Boris Johnson’s proposals for an airport in the Thames Estuary. According to news reports, support for the idea is gaining pace amongst senior Tories.
Despite assurances made by local MP Mark Reckless to the contrary, these developments are very worrying for those, like Medway Labour, who strongly oppose the airport plan.
It is clear that the local Tories, who also purport to be against the airport proposals, do not have any voice at all when it comes to influencing their central party.
As such, we recommend to them that they launch a high profile campaign against the airport, in order to put across loud and clear the multiple reasons why this proposal is such a bad idea.
Cllr Paul Godwin, Leader of the Labour Group, said:
“The Medway Labour Group has consistently opposed the proposal for an airport in the Thames Estuary and will continue to work to ensure any plan to pave over the Peninsula is dropped.
Any new airport would represent a serious threat to the communities on the Peninsula and represent a clear and present danger to our local environment.
Given press reports, it is now clear that plans for an airport in North Kent are becoming more developed and that the current ‘pie-in-the-sky’ campaign being managed by the ruling group is simply underplaying the real potential for plans for an airport.
Over the last six months alone we have seen reported senior members of the Conservative Party open to lobbying, and active proposals for a new airport backed by the Institute for Directors and other leading business forum’s. The aviation industry itself is lobbying for increasing capacity and we know there is pressing demand from 2030 according to the Department for Transport.
Given all mainstream parties are now against Heathrow expansion we need to prepare for likely proposals for an airport on the Peninsula in the form of a government paper. We therefore call on the ruling group to work with us to increase the level of local campaigning efforts to kill off this proposal before it reaches any consultation stage.
Local MPs will be held to account should any airport reach a government paper. We are here today because our local Conservative MPs have consistently failed to make the case in Westminster. It is therefore our responsibility as a Local Authority to step into the space and campaign for our residents.”