LONDON – Unite, the UK’s largest union, is calling on Boris Johnson to stop wasting tax payers’ money on consultants looking at plans to create a new airport on an artificially-created island in the Thames estuary.
Unite believes that the plans for the new airport are flawed and could seriously jeopardize the local economy around West London, along with thousands of Heathrow jobs.
There has already been three major studies into the feasibility of building an airport in the Thames estuary, the latest was thrown out by the government in 2003 as too expensive.
Unite national officer, Brian Boyd, said, “The Mayor’s proposal suggests that Heathrow should close in favor of this new facility. There are 172,000 jobs at Heathrow, which has two runways. Does the Mayor wish to explain to the Heathrow workers what effect closure will have on their community and where the workforce for a four-runway airport is going to come from?”
Unite believes that there are many reasons why the Thames estuary airport should not be built including:
– The area is a bird sanctuary raising the worrying issue of
bird strikes causing aircraft engines and windscreens to fail.
– The Mayor’s proposal to build the island on land-fill waste is a
– The Thames is not the best place to site a man-made island due
to tidal and storm surges which can increase sea level by several
– The infrastructure needed to support the Thames estuary airport
would be too difficult to provide. The Mayor is proposing a linking
line from the high speed rail network as the main method of shipping
– Businesses are complaining that Stansted is too far from the city
to be a viable alternative to Heathrow. Boris Island is even further
– Heathrow handles 56 percent of all UK airfreight which is carried in the
belly hold of passenger aircraft making long-haul flights economical.
Without this, long-haul flights become very expensive and could result
in many more cargo-only flights taking place.
– The noise problem, which the mayor thinks would be solved if the
airport is moved, only shifts the problem to another area. The resort
towns of North Kent and South Essex would suffer from the noise pollution
instead of the population of west London.
Unite is supporting the building of a third runway at Heathrow. “The expansion of the existing facilities at Heathrow far outweighs the impracticalities of a new airport sited on the Thames estuary. Unite supports improved transport infrastructure throughout the UK, and we see greater airport capacity coupled with advanced rail links as essential in making the UK a country that people want to travel to and within,” added Brian Boyd.