THE “Boris Island” Thames Estuary airport plan has been officially rejected by the Government-appointed Airports Commission.
The scheme, championed by London Mayor Boris Johnson, was ruled out after the commission said the proposal had “substantial disadvantages that collectively outweigh its potential benefits”.
Commission chairman Sir Howard Davies said: “We are not persuaded that a very large airport in the Thames Estuary is the right answer to London’s and the UK’s connectivity needs.
“While we recognise the need for a hub airport, we believe this should be a part of an effective system of competing airports to meet the needs of a widely spread and diverse market like London’s.”
The decision was greeted with fury by Mr Johnson, who said: “In one myopic stroke the commission has set the debate back by half a century and consigned their work to the long list of vertically filed reports on aviation expansion that are gathering dust on a shelf in Whitehall.”
The commission is tasked with recommending to the Government where airports expansion should come.
Having ruled out the Thames Estuary option, the commission is left with three shortlisted schemes - two involving expansion at Heathrow Airport in west London and the other for a new runway at Gatwick in West Sussex.
The commission is due to make its final report to ministers in summer 2015 - after the general election.