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Medway Council calls for meeting to protest airport plans

Mon 23 January 2012, 8:57 pm

Medway councillors have called for an urgent meeting with transport minister Justine Greening, after the government announced it would later this year consult on building a Thames Estuary airport.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson has backed plans for an airport built in the Estuary, and has also expressed interest in a separate plan for the Isle of Grain, forwarded by architect Norman Foster.

Following the announcement of plans for the consultation, Medway Council wrote to Greening asking to be allowed to put forward representations against the airport scheme.

The letter said: “It would appear to us that the Mayor of London’s office have been privately briefing the government on its plan and we think a meeting with yourself at the earliest opportunity would provide a good, and much needed, opportunity to discuss face to face the ramifications of such proposals for Medway, the historic county of Kent and all communities near the Thames estuary.”

The letter said that the plan would cost up to £70 billion, would require huge highways and infrastructure and would cut into great swathes of green belt and countryside. 

It said: “We strongly urge you to keep to government policy and continue looking at fully utilising the capacity of existing airports – such as the five London already has (which is two more than New York) and others such as Manston and Birmingham – which could both be joined to London by high speed rail.”

The letter was signed by Rodney Chambers, leader of the council, Paul Godwin, leader of the council’s Labour Group, Sheila Kearney, deputy leader of the council’s Liberal Democrat Group, along with Andy Stamp, leader of the independent group.

In a separate development, the local enterprise for Kent and Essex has announced plans to produce a study into how existing infrastructure could be used to increase airport capacity.

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