The much-debated decision on whether to build a new airport on the Thames Estuary has concluded with the Airports Commission ruling that the development will not go ahead, spelling relief for some, but leaving tensions high for supporters of the expansion.
The Thames Estuary was seen as a wholly unsuitable location for airport expansion by those opposing the proposal, who called the plans ‘environmental vandalism’. Wildlife organisations RSPB, Kent Wildlife Trust, and Friends of the North Kent Marshes were vocal in their criticism, arguing that the Estuary is an important location for wildlife, and in particular for migratory bird species. The Estuary, they argue is so large and unique that it would be impossible to create it anywhere else in Europe, spelling disaster for migrating birds. In addition, they state that a massive increase in aviation capacity cannot fit within the UK Government targets to reduce emissions.
In light of this, the RSPB called the decision to shelve the plans in the area ‘common sense’, believing that no further expansion of aviation capacity should take place in the UK until the Government can demonstrate that any such plans would fit within the country’s legally binding climate targets.