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Opponents clip wings of new airport plans
POLITICIANS in South Oxfordshire have shot down a second plan to build an international airport south of Abingdon.
But a chartered engineer has warned people not to write-off the plans when the alternative could be even more absurd.
The Progressive Aviation Group (PAG) submitted plans for a £30bn, three-runway airport between Marcham and East Hanney to the Government’s Airports Commission which is looking into the future of UK airports.
That plan follows on the heels of another submission by Bristol architect firm Pleiade Associates earlier this year for an £18.2bn airport in the same location.
The commission will publish a report in December stating which plans it considers worth taking forward.
County councillor for Abingdon South Neil Fawcett said: “I can’t see how a road system already creaking at the seams and backed up could cope with an airport.
“However many people come up with proposals, I can’t see how any of them is going to fly.”
The Mayor of Wantage and Conservative district councillor for the Vale of White Horse Fiona Roper said she would prefer to see the long-discussed Thames Water plan to build a reservoir for South Oxfordshire on the same site.
She said: “I quite like the idea of a reservoir, it would be great to have water sports locally. It would be a good leisure facility, which we need.”
She added: “I don’t think the villagers would notice.”
Jim Petts, a chartered engineer from Steventon, has warned that the airport plans might not be as ridiculous as they first appear.
He said: “It all sounds quite fanciful at first sight. The Airports Commission will doubtless assess general scheme practicality to filter out the more absurd schemes such as building an airport in the Severn estuary and to establish the relative costs of the various schemes.
“This is where the Vale will start to look attractive. Not only will the cost of building on a flat, if somewhat soggy, site look extremely attractive compared with reclaimed land, there will be a greater confidence in the accuracy of the figures.
“Even turning the A34 into a motorway and moving the railway may be easier to digest than complete new access routes into the Thames estuary.”
“We need to take these proposals seriously and not dismiss them as nonsensical. We may have a battle on our hands and it is time to start preparing the ammunition.”
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