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Boris Johnson refuses to rule out further public spending on discredited Estuary Airport

BI

The Mayor of London admitted “I can’t rule out that I won’t spend more public money” on his Estuary Airport project, despite the proposal being dropped as an option by the Airports Commission.

Under questioning from Labour London Assembly Member Val Shawcross today, the Mayor of London Boris Johnson stated “I can’t rule out that I won’t spend more public money” on his Estuary Airport project, despite the proposal being dropped as an option by the Airports Commission.

Refusing to be drawn after Ms Shawcross challenged him to confirm no more public money would be spent, the Mayor argued that despite the Airports Commission’s ruling, this was “by no means the end of this story.”

Following further questioning, the Mayor conceded that he would “possibly” commit to further funding for the doomed project. Continuing the Mayor added “let’s see what happens. We need to see where we get to on all this.”

Earlier this month the Airports Commission, led by Sir Howard Davies, ruled out the Estuary Airport as a potential option after the widespread views of aviation, financial and environmental experts deemed the scheme undeliverable. The Mayor has since stated that he intends to continue fighting for the proposal.

London Assembly Labour Group Transport Spokesperson, Val Shawcross AM, said:

“It is totally indefensible that Boris seems intent on throwing more good public money after bad trying to revive the fortunes of a project which everyone except him knows is dead. We’ve already seen £5.2m spent on this project. Taxpayers cannot continue to pick up the bill for what is now little more than an exercise in political posturing.

“Whilst most politicians are sensibly awaiting the outcome of the Davis Commission, Boris has consistently pushed for the Estuary Airport. Not only has his proposal cost over £5.2m of taxpayer money, it would mean closing Heathrow, leaving the 114,000 people working there or in related jobs unemployed. How much of our money is Boris willing to waste before he gives up the ghost on this folly?”

ENDS

Notes

-       Val Shawcross is a Labour London Assembly Member for Lambeth and Southwark.

-       Quotes from Boris Johnson we’re taken from today’s (Wednesday 10th September) London Assembly Transport Plenary meeting. A webcast of the meeting is available here.

-          Mayoral Decision 1334 on 9 April 2014 - “Approval is being sought for the Direction to TfL to undertake additional work in relation to aviation issues to be extended to 30 September 2015 following similar approvals in MD806, MD1037 and MD1080. There will be no financial implications for the GLA arising from the proposal, the full costs of which will be borne by TfL. It is anticipated that the financial implications for TfL undertaking the work, pursuant to the Amended Direction and delegation will be up to £2,000,000. This would bring the total budget for work on aviation to £5,200,000 to date.”

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