LYDD Airport’s expansion plans have been approved by the Government amid a storm of controversy.
The long-awaited enquiry decision finally came late on Wednesday afternoon and was immediately greeted with a strong reaction.
Objectors, including the RSPB, the Council for the Protection of Rural England and Lydd Airport Action Group repeated concerns over nuclear safety and the impact on the Romney Marsh environment.
But airport executive manager Hani Mutlaq said the decision was “a victory for common sense and for local people” which would create jobs and boost tourism.”
The £25 million plans include the construction of a 294 metre runway extension and a new terminal building capable of handling up to 500,000 passengers a year. Owners say they have already spent £35 million in the last decade in modernising the airport, which dates back to 1958.
But Lydd Airport Action Group have vowed legal actions wil’ follow. The Group’s Louise Barton said: “This approval is despite the development infringing at least two European Directives: the Habitats Directive and the Nuclear Safety Directive - opening the government to legal challenge.
“Infringement proceedings under the Pilot Mechanism for the Nuclear Safety Directive are already underway.
The RSPB conservation group labelled the decision “shocking”. It’s Conservation Director, Martin Harper said: “This is the wrong decision as it opens the door to real damage to Dungeness, to its wildlife and the quality of life for many of its residents.”