Top judge rules in favour of the Lydd expansion

mixed aircraft at Lydd SUS-140521-122752001
mixed aircraft at Lydd SUS-140521-122752001

A HIGH Court decision to refuse an appeal against Lydd Airport’s expansion plans will increase the risk of a nuclear incident say protestors.

One of the country’s top judges rejected claims that expansion of an airport at Lydd could pose the threat of a nuclear disaster in the south east.

Mr Justice Ousley dismissed a two pronged challenge at London’s High Court to plans to expand the Lydd operation.

Local campaigners had argued that, with the close proximity of Dungeness nuclear power station, the airport expansion poses the threat of nuclear disaster in the event of a crash.

And the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds put forward the alternative claim that extra flights will harm birdlife in nearby protected sites.

But, announcing his decision to dismiss both cases, Mr Justice Duncan Ouseley roundly rejected all arguments against expansion saying: “None of the grounds succeed.”

Louise Barton, from Lydd Airport Action Group, said campaigners were ‘disappointed’ and added: “This development will lead to the introduction of large aircraft, such as the Boeing 737, taking off and landing within 60 seconds flight time of the Dungeness Nuclear power complex. No other regional airport in Europe, and possibly the world, will be located as close to a nuclear power complex.

“LAAG contends this development will result in the probability of an aircraft accident at the Dungeness Nuclear power complex being outside the threshold which the nuclear regulator regards as acceptable.

“Lydd Airport’s expansion is not in the public interest.

Lydd Airport executive manager Hani Mutlaq said: “The judge has confirmed what we all knew: there was no legal basis for an appeal against the Government’s decision to back our exciting plans for the redevelopment of Lydd Airport.

“With this distraction behind us we can press ahead with delivering a project which will help regenerate this part of Kent, create jobs and bring hope to families throughout the area.

“The airport is now nearing completion of a number of pre-commencement conditions required to enable planning permission for the runway extension to be implemented.

“We hope to invite contractors to tender for the runway construction project in late summer and anticipate that work will begin before the end of the year.”

The Judge said the Inspector had reached a ‘perfectly sensible’ conclusion in recommending approval.