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Poll: Boris Island

With plans for “Boris Island” sunk, what is your preferred option for airport expansion in the Southeast?


Estuary airport

Not going to happen

It’s a shame that we can’t break down the geographic location of respondents to our polls, because that would have given us some interesting insights this week. Our result was a virtual deadheat, with less than 1 per cent separating the two leading options. Of the 518 respondents, 30.6 per cent selected a Thames estuary airport as the best option for airport expansion in the Southeast, while 30.3 per cent said that airports outside the Southeast should be expanded instead. The remaining options saw 14 per cent backing a nw runway at Heathrow, 10 per cent saying efforts should focus on reducing reliance on air travel, 9 per cent wanted a new runway at Gatwick and 6 per cent an extension to Heathrow’s west runway.


Please continue to send us your opionions on this subject.

Readers' comments (12)

  • I liked the Boris Island plan, but if it is not to be then we need someone to bite the bullet and take the political flack for doing Heathrow properly, never mind one new runway, it needs two more runways and a new terminal area (terminals 6,7, and 8), and create 'Heathrow 2'. We don't know what will happen about the volume of international air traffic in the longer term, but there is little to loose by making Heathrow really robust.

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  • If Boris had his way every major capital expenditure project planned for the UK would be based around London and the South-East. Building a complete new airport along with all the infra-strucure needed is madness when probably the best and most famous airport in the world (Heathrow) is already in place. A new runway at Heathrow is easily the most sensible and best value for money option

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  • There’s no need for airport expansion. We should be reducing our reliance on air travel

    By the time this comes on stream, the rising cost of hydrocarbon fuel will cause a natural decline in air travel. If the country has £ many billion to spare, it would be better spent on investing in rail infrastructure, energy supply and security and climate change mitigation measures (e.g. flood protection).

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  • Why the South East? There are some other underutilized airports further north, which could take over some trips so people wouldn't need to travel to the South to fly out.
    How about Humberside Airport? They don't even have a decent bus service to Hull yet. THAT's something to think about.

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  • A new airport even further away from the majority of the population than the current ones - TOTAL MADNESS.

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  • Seems to me that this is sending out a signal that any future airport development will only ever mean expansion of those that presenty exist. Risk aversion is the name of this game. Our Victorian engineering heritage came as result of men with vision and enterprise. Two values missing in this instance.

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  • Shame they are not going for Boris Island, We need some mad over the top engineering to keep us all awake!.

    True to say though that there is too much concentration of Infrastructure in the South East. Surely we should look at building a large new airport or enlarging an exisiting one on the line of HS2, it is supposed to increase communications between the South East and the rest of England after all.

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  • The problem is that there is still lots of airport capacity elsewhere in the country (Birmingham is half empty, for example) whereas Heathrow is nearly full. The point of a hub airport is having many onward routes all in one place.

  • Other than the cost frame and to a lesser extent the extended distance from London, every other consideration is in favour of airport in the Thames Estuary. It gives a future-proof growth potential as Heathrow is growth-limited, even if it can squeeze another runway, increasing the traffic congestion already at its limit. The reduction in noise foot print and emission based pollution will not be felt to any appreciable extent with increased traffic. This is not really a robust Heathrow, if at all it will be for a short time.
    Statistics show steady growth in passenger volume. The public is conscious of reducing reliance on air travel which can only slow down the rate of growth but the reality of progress will keep air travel to grow progressively.
    Aircraft size will grow with BWB configuration beyond A380 capacity; along with sizes of smaller sized aircraft will be under the pressure to increase their passenger capacity.
    Thames Estuary airport will necessarily require fast and cheap non-stop transit plus multi-lane motorway to London and other directions by-passing London especially towards eastern England not as developed as the Midlands. This will also allow cheaper housing development along the routes, relieving pressure on London property market. In fact, time wise it will be closer to the denser population as of busy London as fast transit will cut down the travel time or at least, it will be of the same order of time as offered by Heathrow during traffic congestion time.
    The development cost burden of today will be amortized soon enough as growth will bring revenue.
    If we do not think of future today, then we may likely to lose the gains we enjoy now – Europe has challenging hubs.

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  • Regarding the Editor's comment, my understanding was this is partly due to the airlines funnelling a lot of flights to Heathrow from other airports. An example is when my colleague booked a flight to Florida, it cost an extra £200 per person to fly direct from East Mids as opposed to flying East Mids to Heathrow and getting on a connecting flight.

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  • I live in Livingston New Town West Lothian and am an SNP member and yes voter. Heathrow as Boris said is a planning mistake from the 50s and 60s. Taking the airport out of London is in my view the best solution to taking air travel forward

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