Friday, 10 February 2012



The spectacular coastal wetland that is the Thames Estuary is globally recognised, and protected, because it is vital for hundreds of thousands of wildfowl and wading birds.
Over the past few decades we have tirelessly campaigned alongside local communities and have saved this world-class coastal wetland from a series of ill-thought out airport proposals. All were rejected on a combination of business, aviation, safety and environmental grounds. As time has moved on our knowledge has increased and we can add climate change to the list of dangers presented by airport expansion in the Thames Estuary (or indeed anywhere else).
So you can imagine our disappointment now that it looks like we are going to have to start campaigning all over again.
The idea of an airport in the Thames Estuary has been catapulted back to prominence by the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, who has his own proposal – referred to as ‘Boris Island’. And more recently by Norman Foster unveiling his vision for a four runway airport on the Isle of Grain in North Kent.
Any Thames Estuary airport would cause immense damage to the wildlife and environment in the area, which includes some wonderful RSPB Nature Reserves including: Cliffe Pools, Northward Hill, Rainham Marshes, West Canvey Marshes, Vange Marshes, and Shorne Marshes.
Advocates of a Thames Estuary airport were encouraged by the Chancellor’s portrayal of the environment as a barrier to economic growth in his autumn statement last November. This gave them the confidence to propose any development, no matter how damaging, as now it could be dressed up as the answer to our economic woes.
Fortunately the reality is that we don’t have to choose between the economy and the environment. Far from being a barrier, the environment actually underpins economic growth – and we’ve got the research to prove it.
Tell him we don’t need damaging developments like a Thames Estuary airport – instead he should use his upcoming Budget to put the environment at the heart of the UK's economic recovery.
Yours sincerely
Chris CorriganRegional Director
RSPB South East England

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