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Wildlife costs blow for Estuary airport

Creating a site for a new airport in the Thames Estuary could cost £2bn just in relocating wildlife, a key study has found.

Consultants Jacobs told the Airports Commission that up to 20,400ha could be needed for habitat compensation at a cost of up to £100,000 per ha.

London Mayor Boris Johnson submitted 1,000 pages of evidence to the commission in May to support his view that it is commercially and logistically viable to build a hub airport in the Thames Estuary.

The Sir Howard Davies-led panel is considering this as one possible answer to a looming airspace crisis, alongside options to expand Heathrow or Gatwick.

The Jacobs report concluded: “While it is technically possible to create large scale habitats, there is… a high level of uncertainty in achieving this.”

It added: “In order to demonstrate deliverability, further extensive studies would be needed over a large area and over many years, including the affected area and the possible compensation sites.”

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