AIRPORT bosses at Lydd have vowed to waste no time in pressing ahead with the £25 million extension following last week’s Government decision.
And they have said they will use a local workforce wherever possible.
This is despite Lydd Airport Action Group insisting legal challenges will follow. The group is claiming the development infringes at least two European Directives: the Habitats Directive and the Nuclear Safety Directive - opening the government to legal challenge.
Lydd Airport Executive Manager Hani Mutlaq said: “Mr Mutlaq said: “We submitted our planning applications in December 2006 and it has been a long road to get to where we are today.
“We put forward a compelling case for allowing the controlled development of the airport, and first the local planning authority and now the Government has agreed with the overwhelming body of evidence in front of them. The right choice has been made for the future of our community.”
The airport will now seek an early meeting with Shepway District Council planners to begin the process of ensuring that the pre-commencement conditions are discharged, including environmental, noise, traffic and other conditions already agreed as part of the approval.
“Once all these have been addressed, we hope to begin the runway construction work as soon as possible,” added Mr Mutlaq.
Lydd was once one of the busiest airports in the UK – in 1958 it handled 223,000 passengers, which was 37,000 more than Gatwick.
The RSPB is against the decision, describing it as “shocking”.
It’s Conservation Director, Martin Harper said: “it opens the door to real damage to Dungeness and its wildlife and risks destroying a unique asset that is enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of people. Dungeness is a special place for nature, recognised globally. This decision means nowhere is safe and signals that nature is in trouble.”