Millionaire expansion plans for Kent airport slammed by environmentalists

by Alfie FEATHERSTONE on February 17, 2011

Environmental groups from around the UK have condemned the plans of a millionaire Arab businessman to turn a quite Kent airstrip into a bustling international hub. Lydd Airport, which sits next to two of the most environmentally significant sights in the country, is earmarked for massive expansion if plans go ahead.

Wildlife agency for the government, Natural England, was among the first to speak out against the scheme, claiming that lawful permission cannot be given for such a project near the Romney Marsh and Dugeness peninsula. Both areas are protected under EU wildlife laws and directives.

The plans include expanding the current runway at the site so it is able to handle huge commercial carriers to ship leisure and business travellers to and from Europe. Currently, the small facility only handles a tiny number and local and private light aircraft flights.

A public consultation on the controversial proposals has begun today, with environmental groups arguing that the internationally protected wildlife sites would be significantly damaged by any expansion at the airfield. The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) also slammed the plans as “completely unacceptable”.

Finally, the residents of Romney Marsh, which was recently named as Kent’s quietest area, say their peace would be greatly ruined by increased overhead noise from aircraft. They added that such a large-scale project would also undoubtedly bring a high level of industrialisation to the area.

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