New Tory Mayor Boris Johnson could blow the debate over Heathrow expansion wide open by launching a study into an alternative airport 'very soon', it was claimed this week.
The new Conservative mayor, who beat incumbent Ken Livingstone with 53 per cent of the vote last week, is a fierce critic of the airport - branding it 'a 1960's planning error'.
Mr Johnson favours scrapping the unpopular proposals for a third runway and sixth terminal at Heathrow and instead backs plans for a new airport in the Thames estuary.
He has called on the Government to reexamine the idea, first mooted more than 40 years ago, for the new hub to be built on artificial islands near the Kent coast.
And it emerged this week that one of his earliest acts as Mayor may be to investigate the feasibility of the idea himself.
Tony Arbour, newly re-elected London Assembly member for Hounslow, Kingston and Richmond, added: "The airport is undoubtedly the biggest issue for residents in Hounslow and Boris Johnson was the only candidate to propose an alter-native to expanding Heathrow.
"I have no doubt he will be initiating a feasibility study into the possibility of building a new airport in the Thames Estuary.
"I expect that to happen very soon because there's considerable urgency."
During campaigning Mr Johnson branded current airport expansion plans 'unacceptable' and promised a full review alongside a feasibility study into the socalled 'Heathrow-On-Sea' if elected to City Hall.
He said: "The plans are unacceptable as they stand. We need a full review of all potential capacity in London's airports before we even contemplate such a massive increase of air traffic over west London."
Advocates of the project argue planes could take off and land round the clock without disrupting residents.
They also point out the new high speed Channel tunnel rail link could provide fast transport to the airport.
Mr Johnson added: "What we don't want to do is entrench a planning error of the 1960s by further expansion at Heathrow. We should look at whether there's a solution to the east, in the Thames estuary."
A spokesman for the mayor said his new team would not confirm any policy announcements this week.