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BORIS STOKES UP A FRESH AIRPORT ROW

PUBLISHED: 16:54 20 August 2008 | UPDATED: 10:02 23 August 2010

CONTROVERSIAL plans to build an airport on the Thames Estuary are back on the agenda after the Mayor of London called for a reinvestigation into the plan. Despite the plan being scrapped five years ago, Boris Johnson wrote a column last week for a nation

CONTROVERSIAL plans to build an airport on the Thames Estuary are back on the agenda after the Mayor of London called for a reinvestigation into the plan.

Despite the plan being scrapped five years ago, Boris Johnson wrote a column last week for a national newspaper headed: "Fly into Gatwick and See Why London Needs Another Airport."

He warned residents of north Kent that they "will be hearing a lot more" about plans to build a floating airport in the Thames Estuary in the coming months.

Your campaigning Reporter revealed Johnson's intentions in February this year when he suggested a need for an airport outside London.

Now, he has gone one step further and singled out the site in north Kent as his primary target despite the abundance of wildlife and its designation as an EU Special Protection Area.

George Crozer, of Friends of North Kent Marshes, said: "There are 74 conservation areas in the country and north Kent Marshes has four of them dotted around where they were proposing to put the airport last time.

"It's a very special area and home to a great number of birds and other wildlife.

"I really just wish that people like Boris Johnson would come down here and see what's there before they spout out ridiculous ideas like putting an airport in Cliffe."

The proposal was met with stiff opposition when it was first mooted in 2002 and was eventually dropped after relentless campaigning 18 months later.

Paul Carter, leader of Kent County Council, has slammed plans for an airport at Cliffe, favouring an extension of the Kent International Airport at Manston, near Ramsgate.

It has one of the few long haul runways in the UK and currently has the capacity to cater for 700,000 passengers a year.

He said: "An airport on the Thames Estuary is never going to be viable or popular.

"But we don't need it when we have a perfectly-positioned, ready-for-action airport in Manson.

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