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Thames airport plan bad for business, people and wildlife

Last modified: 18 January 2012

Curlew feeding in estuary mud

The RSPB has warned the Government against including a Thames Estuary airport in an upcoming consultation on the future of aviation.

David Cameron is set to announce an official consultation which will include plans for an airport hub in the Estuary, a haven for hundreds of thousands of wildfowl and wading birds.

As well as destroying this vital habitat, experts believe an airport here would be at high risk of bird strike, with very serious flight-safety implications.

No economic argument

RSPB Conservation Director Martin Harper, said: “There is no economic argument for destroying a vital habitat for thousands of wetland birds. We would be horrified if this act of environmental vandalism goes ahead simply to suit a short-termist approach to the economic mess we are in.

“We cannot build our way out of recession in this way. Concreting over our natural environment and pumping more carbon into our atmosphere is no way to invest in the long term sustainable future of our country.

“The last Government produced a white paper which looked at this idea and it concluded that it would be bad for business, bad for wildlife and bad for air safety. This Government now risks wasting public money in order to reach the same conclusion.

Jewell in our natural crown

“The Estuary is not a wasteland waiting to be developed for the benefit of London, it is a jewel in our natural crown and is only there as a result of years of campaigning from local residents and conservationists.

“George Osborne has already made it clear that he feels environmental regulation protecting our most valuable wildlife sites is a brake on business. Weakening those rules would give environmentally destructive proposals like this an easy ride. After facing huge public opposition in response to proposed forestry sell-offs and the reform of England’s planning system, is the Government ready for a third major public uproar?”

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