Why build a new airport in the Thames estuary when there's already one up for sale?

Politicians attempting to get elected like to razzle dazzle the voters with eye-catching proposals. Newt Gingrich is offering Americans a base on the moon. And London's own Boris Johnson has come up with, um, an idea for a new airport... But it's on an island, giving it overtones of Goldfinger (Gold Fingaaaahhhhh... With apologies to Shirley Bassey :-))

Anyway. I haven't had much respect for this idea since I saw Germaine Greer demolish the proposal on Question Time. She pointed out that the area the mayor wants is in the middle of one of the biggest bird protection areas in Europe and that the risk of bird strike makes it unworkable. You can't simply move birds because they don't speak English.

Slam dunk?

I'm not against the idea of more airports per se. For instance, I'm susceptible to the idea that in order to do business with China we need flights that go there. But it's not clear to me why we can't send these crucial flights from our existing airports - surely it's up to the government to make our economic priorities part of the airport authorities' remit?

Then last week I had my attention drawn to this. It's a story on the BBC's website saying that the airfield closest to central London is up for sale. RAF Northolt occupies hundreds of acres in Hillingdon, just outside the M25, and the MoD is considering selling it.

"All options are on the table" the MoD says.

Has anyone told Boris Johnson?

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