Legal challenge against Lydd airport expansion plans at the High Court by RSPB and LAAG this week
A legal challenge to the decision to allow expansion at Lydd in Kent is being heard on 21st and 22nd January, at the Royal Courts of Justice in London. A public inquiry was held into the applications by Lydd Airport in 2011 at which the RSPB raised concerns about the impact an expansion would have on the nearby protected wildlife area of Dungeness. The inspector found in favour of the airport’s proposals – and his report was subsequently endorsed by the Secretaries of State for Communities and Local Government and for Transport. After careful consideration the RSPB issued a legal challenge to the final decision based on the inspector’s report. The RSPB believes the stakes are too high to risk the future of one of the UK’s best and most important places for nature without testing the basis for this decision which they consider to be flawed. Dungeness is one of the most important wildlife sites in the world and it is protected at global, European and UK levels. It is home to many threatened species and is also a crossroads for migrating birds stopping off on migration. The Lydd Airport Action Group (LAAG) have a separate appeal which will be heard after that of the RSPB. They have concerns about the airport’s proximity to the nuclear power station. LAAG did not want to disclose further details of its case until the court hearing.
RSPB legal challenge to Lydd Airport decision on 21st and 22nd January (LAAG’s on 23rd and 24th)
Last modified: 20 January 2014
Venue: Royal Courts of Justice
Date: Tuesday January 21st and Wednesday January 22nd, 2013
A legal challenge to the decision to allow an airport expansion at Lydd in Kent is set to be heard this week.
A public inquiry was held into the applications by Lydd Airport in 2011 at which the RSPB raised concerns about the impact an expansion would have on the nearby protected wildlife area of Dungeness. The inspector found in favour of the airport’s proposals – and his report was subsequently endorsed by the Secretaries of State for Communities and Local Government and for Transport.
After careful consideration the RSPB issued a legal challenge to the final decision based on the inspector’s report. We believe the stakes are too high to risk the future of one of our best and most important places for nature without testing the basis for this decision which we consider to be flawed. This will be heard at the Royal Courts of Justice on Tuesday January 21st and Wednesday January 22nd.
Dungeness is one of the most important wildlife sites in the world and it is protected at global, European and UK levels. It is home to many threatened species and is also a crossroads for migrating birds stopping off on migration.
The RSPB has been protecting birds and the wildlife of Dungeness for over a century. The area includes the RSPB Dungeness Reserve and also a National Nature Reserve managed by Natural England.
High Court challenge by Lydd Airport Action Group and RSPB could halt Lydd Airport expansion
Lydd Airport’s expansion could be scuppered by two attempts through the High Court to stop it.
Hearings triggered by Lydd Airport Action Group and the RSPB take place next week – and if judges find in their favour, it could lead to another public inquiry.
The RSPB’s appeal will be heard at the Royal Courts of Justice in London next Tuesday and Wednesday and LAAG’s will be heard as a separate case on the following two days.
Their case will be over the legal process rather than the merits of the scheme.
An RSPB spokesman said: “Our hearing will be on legal grounds, whether due process was followed in the public inquiry.
“If the court finds in our favour it could mean another public inquiry. If that means time and money, so be it, because we never believed this development was right in the first place.
“We did not feel that the environmental issues were taken fully into consideration.”
LAAG co-ordinator Louise Barton said: “Our issue was different to the RSPB’s as it was on nuclear safety. But this hearing is not looking at the merits of the case for or against expansion but the decision that was reached.
“We want the High Court to quash the decision as null and void.
“If it does lead to another public inquiry it would be on a smaller scale than the last one as there would be a more limited subject range.
“It would just be a question of another inspector reviewing the evidence.”
LAAG did not want to disclose further details of its case until the court hearing.
Lydd Airport won planning permission for the £25 million development last April 10 from both Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin and Communities Secretary Eric Pickles.
It was for two applications – one to build a 294-metre runway extension plus a 150-metre starter extension for aircraft manoeuvres.
The other is for a new terminal for 500,000 passengers a year.
The public inquiry was over seven months from February 2011 at Folkestone’s Civic Centre.
The RSPB had argued about the risk to wildlife, but LAAG argued over dangers because of the closeness of the Dungeness nuclear complex.
A Green MEP said the court action is a fightback against a government “hell-bent” on airport expansion.
Keith Taylor, Green MEP for the South East, said: “Any expansion of Lydd airport, in an area of global importance for wildlife and next door to a nuclear power station, is clearly bad news.
“The government is hell-bent on airport expansion but local people, whose lives will be blighted by increased pollution and noise, are right to stand up against these plans.
“We know that airport expansions will contribute to climate change, and we know that a larger airport at Lydd will threaten both the wildlife in the area and the peace and quiet enjoyed by local people.
“Lydd airport expansion shouldn’t go ahead and I wish campaigners the best of luck in their legal challenge to the government’s ideological obsession with expanding airports at any cost.”
Folkestone and Hythe MP Damian Collins, a supporter of the airport’s expansion said: “I don’t think there are any grounds for appeal.
“The planning inspector upheld the application and went through all the evidence in great detail, finding no grounds not to give permission.
“The point of a High Court hearing would be to whether the decision was flawed and I cannot see any grounds for that.
“Lydd Airport is confident that there are no grounds for appeal and are happy to continue with their plans for the airport.
“There is no point in in continuing a debate that has been heard in great detail.”
Lydd Airport said it did not want to comment at this stage.
Lydd Airport: Legal challenge to expansion plans at High Court on 23rd and 24th January 2014
January 14, 2014
A legal challenge to the government’s decision to allow the expansion of Lydd Airport in Kent is to be heard at the High Court on on 23rd and 24th January. The £25m project includes a runway extension of almost 300m (328yds) and a new terminal building. The airport site is close to the Dungeness nuclear plant, an RSPB nature reserve and a military range. The RSPB and Lydd Airport Action Group (LAAG) have lodged separate appeals against the expansion. After several years going through the planning process, the airport got planning permission in April 2013. LAAG has said the expansion would damage “the unique natural habitats on Romney Marsh and urbanise this important rural area”. LAAG also fear that the introduction of heavy aircraft such as the Boeing 737s “raised the probability of an aircraft accident at the Dungeness nuclear power complex leading to a serious radiological release to unacceptably high levels”. The RSPB said Dungeness was “one of the most important wildlife sites in the world and protected at global, European and UK levels”. Click here to view full story…