LYDD Airport bosses say they are taking special measures to protect the area’s wildlife ahead of the £25 million expansion work.
Executive manager Hani Mutlaq said excellent progress was being made in organising a range of studies and surveys as part of the 54 pre-commencement conditions set, and he remained confident that runway construction would commence early in 2014.
“Strict environmental controls will ensure that the special bird populations, flora and fauna of Dungeness will continue to be safeguarded, and noise levels, aircraft numbers and flying times will be capped,” he adds.
Experts are currently on site carrying out detailed geological and archaeological monitoring and recording.
This will be followed by a water vole survey, surface water drainage studies, an examination of aquatic and amphibious invertebrates, and an updated bat foraging and commuting behaviour study.
A moth study will also be undertaken, in consultation with Kent Wildlife Trust, Butterfly Conservation and Natural England. Other studies will cover grass snakes, the common lizard, medicinal leeches and great crested newts.
Once these have been completed, Lydd Airport will submit a protection, construction and mitigation plan for these species to Shepway District Council’s planning department for approval, in consultation with Natural England.
Airport bosses have also commissioned a ground water quality monitoring programme, a review of facilities required for storage of oils, fuels and chemicals.
A Construction Environmental Management Plan will be submitted to Shepway District Council’s planning department for approval.
Hani Mutlaq says: “Having already spent millions of pounds on getting planning approval for our runway extension and new terminal building, these surveys and studies represent a further heavy investment by the airport.