A new and novel idea Boris and friends, I think not! This site or close to it on the North Kent Marshes was suggested, in 1947, and again in 1963 and 1974 then in 2003 every time it was rejected.

Looking back in 1963 the government at the time, realised that another airport was needed to increase the capacity of air travel into the 1980’s and looked at the issue taking into account amongst other issues the volume of air traffic already on different routes around London. Amongst the sites suggested was Cliffe but it was rejected as if operated as a twin running runway it would deprive Heathrow of the ability to serve regularly the routes to the east and northeast of London. In a comparison of the travelling time from Grosvenor Square the travelling time on the east of London was greater due to traffic in built up areas. The same problems that needs to be considered today, it would seem. Thinking of getting here by train? Well not really a new railway passenger line and a new road capable of coping with a huge increase in traffic will need to be built as well. Not to mention a new River Crossing! As a huge hub airport will need services like police, fire and medical not to mention food outlets and shops as well as hotels and car parks etc.

In short it’s just not just an airport it’s the huge supporting infrastructure that is needed to support the airport as well. In fact the whole of the North Kent Coast would be covered in concrete whether the airport is offshore or not.

The decision in 1964 not to build at Cliffe and then the battle won so very recently in 2003 makes it this present threat the fifth since 1947. Therefore isn’t it about time that this airport issue was rejected once and for all, and the coastal marsh land from the edge of Gravesend to Whitstable or even beyond that made into a new coastal park. We must treasure this unique environment so close to London for the same reason that the earliest man made it his home thousands of years ago it is a truly unique place with superb natural resources.

As a local amateur history group we want to record the history of this area for the generations that follow us. It is said we only borrow the earth we do not own it so show your poster to protect the Thames Estuary from any more threats. And help make the government address the issue of the economy and unemployment by much more inventive means.

History has already shown us this is the fifth time an airport has been suggested for North Kent it will not provide more jobs as Heathrow will be forced to curtail its operations and flights, Southend with its new terminal may also be affected as well as Stansted. These marshes are ancient and wonderful, with a complex natural environment the result of thousands of years of natural events with little human impact. Follow us on www.cliffe-history.org.uk to read about the history of the village and how the village has had an impact on the history of Britain.

copyright Janet Keates

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