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Boris Island Hub Plan Killed by Environmental Study, Labour Says

July 8 (Bloomberg) -- London Mayor Boris Johnson’s plan for a hub airport in the River Thames estuary has been fatally undermined by the results of an environmental-impact study into the proposal, the Labour Group on the city’s assembly said.

The assessment, ordered by the state-appointed Airport Commission into runway capacity in southeast England and compiled by consultants Jacobs, is a “final nail in the coffin” of the so-called Boris Island project, according to Val Shawcross, Labour transport spokeswoman on the London Assembly.

“Boris has wasted millions of pounds on this vanity project,” she said in a statement. “With this latest report in mind, he needs to accept that the evidence is now totally against him and that no more public money should be spent.”

Construction of an airport in north Kent, east of London, would have such an impact on land with nature-conservation status that the project would need to show that a hub could not be built elsewhere, the Jacobs study says. Even if the plan did pass that test, land costing as much as 2.04 billion pounds ($3.5 billion) dollars would need to be found in the wider Thames estuary to create equivalent natural habits, something that might prove impossible, it said.

Airport Commission Chairman Howard Davies suggested in preliminary findings in December that Britain’s travel needs would be best-served by expanding the existing London Heathrow hub or adding a runway at Gatwick, south of the capital. While the estuary option was dismissed as unsuitable, Davies agreed to order further studies into the viability of the proposal.

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To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Jasper at cjasper@bloomberg.net

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