Kent Wildlife Trust has expressed its disappointment that the opportunity to rule out the ‘Thames Estuary Airport’ idea once and for all has been delayed.
A Government consultation on airport capacity, expected this summer, has been delayed until the autumn.
It is expected that some individuals will be using this consultation to push for a new airport in the Estuary.
The idea has already been ruled out many times since the 1940s, but was resurrected by London Mayor, Boris Johnson, a few years ago. Architect Norman Foster, a fan of building airports, jumped on the bandwagon with his own variation, located on the North Kent Coast.
The Thames Estuary is internationally important for wildlife. In addition to the hundreds of thousands of resident, wintering and passage migrant birds that rely on the area, it is also vital for lots of other wildlife. The Estuary contains important fish breeding areas that play a major role in supporting North Sea fish populations, and it is one of the few UK locations where seahorses have been found. Harbour porpoises, bottlenose dolphins, harbour and grey seals feed and/or breed in the Estuary. The marshes surrounding the Estuary are also home to some of our rarest mammals like the water vole, and rare bumblebees, such as the shrill carder bee.
John Bennett, Chief Executive of Kent Wildlife Trust, said: “We are vigorously opposed to the idea of an airport in or near the Thames Estuary. As the voice for all wildlife in Kent, we will be ensuring that that voice is heard in any airport debate, and we are prepared to stand up for our natural heritage, together with the communities of North Kent and other environmental organisations.”