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Crossrail top brass 'encouraged' by Boris Island plan

Crossrail executive chairman Doug Oakervee said today that he was 'encouraged' by the idea of an island in the Thames Estuary to replace Heathrow, and said its construction would be a simpler than either Hong Kong's Chek Lap Kok airport or Osaka's Kansai airport.

Oakervee is conducting a feasibility study into an airport in the Thames Estuary, to report to the Mayor of London in March.

He said: "I'm encouraged - from an engineering perspective it is quite clear that the Mayor's ambitions could be realised and the construction would be easier than other airports such as Chek Lap Kok in Hong Kong and Kansai in Japan."

"We have learned that there is a remote site where an airport could be built with minimal disruption to people of Essex and Kent. There are technical issues to be addressed but I see no overwhelming obstacle. We now need to work with other experts to address the challenges."

Oakervee and Crossrail board member Dr Graham Plant joined London Mayor Boris Johnson on a 122m dredger north of Sheerness to examine possible sites for the 'Boris Island' airport idea.

"Today's trip has reaffirmed in my mind that a new airport in the Thames estuary has got to be factored in as an option for London’s long-term aviation needs. I am reassured by a number of aspects of this visit and will now eagerly await Doug Oakervee’s initial feasibility study," said the Mayor.

Johnson took Labour MP for Greenwich and Woolwich Nick Raynsford, who chairs the cross-party parliamentary group on Boris Island, along for the ride.

"I have always believed that the estuary was a potential site for London's main airport and today’s visit has reinforced that view.

"This will give the prospect of meeting airport capacity for south East England in the most environmentally responsible way," he said.

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