Plans for a London airport backed by Mayor Boris Johnson have been rejected by the UK's Airports Commission, according to a report today from the BBC.
Nicknamed Boris Island, because of Johnson’s fervent support, the Foster and Partners design would have boosted capacity for 150 million passengers annually, with four runways on a platform on the Isle of Grain in the Thames Estuary.
"Airports policy has been stalled for nearly five decades, ricocheting like a billiard ball between Heathrow and Gatwick," said Johnson’s aviation adviser, Daniel Moylan.
"We have only one opportunity to break out of that but it seems the Commission has taken us back to the same old failed choice," he told the BBC.
The FT also reported that Boris Island would not break ground, according to sources inside Whitehall. The airport plan was part of an even wider vision for the Thames Hub, being championed by Lord Foster.
An official announcement is yet to be made, but a confirmed rejection of a new Thames Estuary airport could potentially lead to the addition of a new runway at either Heathrow or Gatwick.
According to a report from the Greater London Authority, Heathrow has been “full” for a decade and the UK's Department for Transport forecasts that all of London’s airports will be at maximum capacity by 2030.
Lord Foster issued a statement on his website earlier this year, prior to the rejection from the commission: “We believe that a new four-runway Thames Estuary airport can best provide the connectivity and future flexibility that Britain desperately needs, while improving the lives of the millions of Londoners blighted by Heathrow’s flight path.”
The plan for Boris Island had been praised by many, since it would have reduced the environmental, noise and security problems of more aircraft flying over London into Heathrow.
The airport would have been connected to London by a link to the existing high-speed rail line, ensuring rapid transit from the airport to the Midlands and North, as well as continental Europe.