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Boris airport plan 'BLOWN AWAY'

PUBLISHED: 15:08 08 October 2008 | UPDATED: 10:09 23 August 2010

HUNDREDS of wind turbines planned for the Thames Estuary could destroy proposals for an off-shore airport. Campaigners at the Kent Green Party claim the London Array windfarm makes London Mayor Boris Johnson s plan a non-starter. In February this year t

HUNDREDS of wind turbines planned for the Thames Estuary could destroy proposals for an off-shore airport.

Campaigners at the Kent Green Party claim the London Array windfarm makes London Mayor Boris Johnson's plan a non-starter.

In February this year the Reporter revealed plans for an airport in north Kent had been put back on the agenda by the Conservative mayor, who is due to carry out a feasibility study.

But this week spokesperson Steve Dawe urged political leaders to focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and highlighted the importance of a new windfarm.

He said: "Does Boris Johnson think jumbo jets with hundreds of passengers are going to slalom down the Thames Estuary through the London Array wind turbines?

"The 341 turbines proposed will be up to 175 metres high, over an area of about 94.6 square miles. We certainly need the electricity for 750,000 homes which the Array will produce - not another airport."

The Green Party, who arranged for Boris Johnson to meet experts from the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), also wants domestic tourism promoted.

Members propose a £100 tax on internal flights to push people to use rail for long journeys within the UK, reducing the amount of internal flights.

Mr Dawe added: "If aviation emissions are shared across households, then each UK household is making about one third of its carbon emissions by the flights its members take. Even more surprising, the UK is top for aviation emissions per adult - far ahead of the USA and other rich countries."

He added: "Domestic tourism and rail travel to the continent can substitute for flights, helping to boost UK tourism revenues.

"Kent Green Party wants Rochester, Manston and Lydd airports converted to other leisure uses to support domestic tourism, not international flights."

Currently, each UK adult averages about 603kg of carbon emissions from aviation use per year whilst the US average is only 275kg per adult per year.

The estuary contains Europe's biggest amount of Special Protected Areas (SPA) and is used by 300,000 migratory birds.

More than 150,000 people objected to an airport on Cliffe Marshes when first mooted in 2002. It was eventually dropped due to risk of a plane crashing due to 'birdstrike'.

A spokesperson for Mr Johnson said: "The mayor is keen to know what the alternatives are to expansion at Heathrow and would like to know whether the idea of a new airport in the Thames Estuary would be viable or not."

What do you think? Write to Letters Editor, Unit 4, The Courtyard, 7A Manor Road, Gravesend, DA12 1AA or e-mail: michael.adkins:@@archant.co.uk

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