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Roger Gale with Cole Barnard at the door of Number Ten

Manston in Kent - London's Olympic Airport  

January 28th 2009

Manston Airport in Kent could and should become "London’s Olympic Airport" and at the same time help to alleviate the pressure on Heathrow and obviate the need for a third Heathrow runway, says North Thanet’s MP, Roger Gale.

Speaking during the debate on the future of Heathrow in the House today (Wednesday) the MP said:

"I recognise the need for the UK to remain competitive in the aviation industry and I recognise Heathrow as the World’s Number One hub airport.

Gatwick, Stansted, Luton and Manston are not and will not be hub airports but taken together they can release capacity at Heathrow and that, coupled with the Conservatives` policy for the development of high-speed rail as an alternative to domestic flights could well release the necessary and needed capacity at Heathrow.

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Manston

Manston Airport in Kent could and should become "London’s Olympic Airport" and at the same time help to alleviate the pressure on Heathrow and obviate the need for a third Heathrow runway, says North Thanet’s MP, Roger Gale.

Speaking during the debate on the future of Heathrow in the House today (Wednesday) the MP said:

"I recognise the need for the UK to remain competitive in the aviation industry and I recognise Heathrow as the World’s Number One hub airport.

Manston has one of the longest runways in the country. Its take-off and landing flight paths are over the sea.  Given good rail services via the fast link it is an hour from Central London. It can be made, for the coming and going of Olympic teams and visitors, completely secure."

Commenting on the Mayor of London's proposals for a Thames Estuary Island airport Roger Gale added:

"I am not a fan or a supporter of Boris` Island and I do not believe that it is a realistic option.  Setting aside the fact that it would be necessary to remove a recently-constructed wind farm to build it, that it would be necessary to persuade tens of thousands of migratory birds to change their habits and that it would be necessary to restructure the traffic of shipping using the Thames, I am sure that it is an idea that should be considered - and then dismissed!

In the meantime the development of Manston is achievable, if we start immediately, in time for the Olympic Games.  It will require the investment of a fraction of the cost of a third runway in the fast rail link from Ashford to a Thanet Parkway Station at Manston and the upgrading of the security provision - but it can be done and I urge the Government to do it."

During the debate Roger Gale made it plain that he was not calling for the development of an alternative London airport but of a good regional airport that could take some traffic from Gatwick to, in turn, allow Gatwick to receive current Heathrow traffic.

Speaking after the debate Roger Gale added:

"Manston has the capacity to provide, for 2012, a one-stop shop for the reception, processing and accreditation of incoming athletes from around the World.  Laura Sandys (Conservative spokesman, South Thanet) and I have discussed this with the Mayor's office. We recognise the environmental concerns and constraints associated with any development of aviation but given increasingly quieter and more environmentally friendly aircraft we believe that the Olympic Airport proposal is compatible with a "Green Isle of Thanet" policy."

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