Did you see KCC Leader Paul Carter on today’s ‘Politics Show’ on the BBC? He was setting out the opposition to Mayor of London Boris Johnson’s plan for a £40,000,000,000 airport in the Thames Estuary, off the coast of Whitstable. I thought this idea had been long since dropped, but it appears that Boris has once again revived it and it’s doing the rounds.
The piece showed Shadow Transport Secretary Theresa Villiers MP telling the House of Commons in January this year that “…this is not an option which we’re looking at at the moment”. In the very next interview Conservative Bernard Jenkin MP admitted that it was not totally ruled out, adding “…if we could prove that this was fundable, financiable, if it reduces the carbon footprint, if it doesn’t threaten the birdlife, if we can win hearts and minds in North Kent and South Essex constituencies … I think this idea will then be properly in play”.
But that’s just it. Whilst it might be possible to put together a compelling business case for Boris’ Island, it seems unlikely that even the strongest presentation will convert Kent’s residents to support it. It was only a few years ago that most of the county was seemingly galvanised against plans for an airport at Cliffe in North Kent. How will this proposal be any different?
Paul Carter talked of the “vociferous opposition” of Kent Conservatives to this plan. Whichever view our national colleagues take – whether for or against – for the people of Kent this is one issue on which there can be no obfuscation.