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NEWS Last modified on August 26, 2014

London Mayor report hails benefits of building Estuary Airport

London Mayor, Boris Johnson, has continued his fight to have the ambitious Thames Estuary Airport proposal shortlisted by the Airports Commission by publishing a report he says shows the benefits of it being built.

The Mayor was speaking today after releasing ‘Gateway to our Future: Why the UK needs a new hub airport’, which was compiled by Oxford Economics.

He says construction of the Isle of Grain gateway, estimated to cost anywhere between £20-100 million, would provide thousands more jobs than the other options at Heathrow and Gatwick that were shortlisted.

The report claims a new airport in the Thames Estuary would support 336,000 jobs around the UK in 2050, around a third more than an expanded Heathrow and more than five times as many jobs as an expanded Gatwick Airport would provide.

The new figures were released the same day a survey by Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce found the proposal to build a new gateway in the Estuary is strongly supported by members of the Kent business community.

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The Airports Commission, who have been charged with recommending a strategy for providing new aviation capacity, are expected to announce within a matter of weeks whether building a new gateway in the Thames Estuary should be added to their formal shortlist of options.

The Mayor says there are compelling benefits for an estuary airport to the schemes already shortlisted and explains it would be the only option that can fully address the economic and social challenges facing the country.

Figures released today, are the first time that a like-for-like comparison of each of the options being considered by the Airports Commission has been attempted.

They represent the number of jobs that will be supported by the operation of each airport, and its supply chains, and do not account for the additional jobs that would result from the development of new business activity in East London and transport corridors in Kent and Essex.

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Mayor Johnson, explains: “There is no better example of the stark choice between planning for the future and depressing short-termism. A new hub airport, properly planned, has the potential to reshape the economic geography of London and the whole of the southeast for decades to come.

“It would be a project of a scale we are no longer accustomed to in this country, though it has become commonplace elsewhere. We simply cannot afford to miss out on the opportunities a new airport would give us.”

The Mayor adds business groups from around the UK are also expressing their support for the Thames Estuary Airport being shortlisted, and says hundreds of businesses have responded to a survey carried out by Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce.

He adds they gave strong support for a new airport in the estuary and endorsed it as the "best option for providing new aviation capacity", while other chambers of commerce in the UK have also backed the proposal.

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And the report also says support for a new airport in the Isle of Grain was three times the level of that for an expanded Heathrow and it recorded around a third more support than plans for a new runway at Gatwick.

The Oxford Economics report also claims if the Thames Estuary Airport was built it would have the most positive affect on the UK's economy.

It claims in 2050, the air service connectivity available at a new four-runway hub airport in the Thames Estuary would underpin £92.1 billion of national GDP each year.

By comparison, it claims the inferior connectivity on offer at a three-runway Heathrow would generate £59.1 billion, and a two-runway Gatwick £22.6 billion. All the figures represent the impact each would have in facilitating trade, foreign direct investment and tourism.

The Airports Commission, which is led by Sir Howard Davies will give its final recommendations to the UK government on where aviation capacity should be expanded after next May’s general election.

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