“Queen’s Speech does NOT support Lydd Airport’s expansion”

7.6.2010   (Lydd Area Action Group)

Lydd Airport Action Group (LAAG) is delighted that the new coalition government
only supports airport development within the constraints of the existing runway
The Queen’s Speech says the following:

“Having ruled out new runways in the South East, we will engage with all stakeholders
in the sector to develop a new vision for a competitive aviation industry, supporting UK economic growth and designed within the constraint of the existing
runway infrastructure.”

LAAG has long argued that there is no case for a second regional airport in Kent.  
London Ashford Airport’s (Lydd Airport’s) passenger numbers are declining – <1000
passengers in 2009 compared to <3000 in 2005 which means it is operating at
less than 1% of its exiting terminal and runway capacity of 300,000 passengers
per annum (ppa).

 Kent International Airport (Manston Airport) the region’s established regional
airport is also operating at less than 1% of its potential capacity of 6million
passengers per annum. Both airports are heavily loss making (Lydd lost £2m and
Manston Airport £4m) which further demonstrates that there is excess airport capacity
in Kent.  

Shepway District Council voted in favour of Lydd Airport’s development on March
3rd, 2010 but has been subject to a "holding order" – a direction under Article 14 of the Town and Country Planning (General Development Procedure) Order 1995
– preventing the Council from enacting the permission while the need for a public
inquiry is being assessed.

LAAG believes Shepway District’s Council’s decision to grant Lydd Airport planning
permission is wrong in fact, law and process and that there is a strong case for
a public inquiry.   The decision about a public inquiry is expected soon.  The current "holding order" expires on June 11th.     If the decision is not made by this date the "holding order" will be rolled
over for another six weeks.


Louise Barton

01797 361 548



Notes to Editors:

(1) Lydd Airport submitted a planning application in December 2006 (Y06/1647/SH
& Y06/1648/SH) for a 444m extension to its runway and a new terminal to increase
its passenger numbers from <1000 per annum in 2009 to 500,000 passengers per
annum (ppa). This planning application represents Phase 1 of the airport’s Master
Plan objective to increase passenger numbers to 2million passengers per annum
(2mppa). Due to the inaccuracy and omissions in the original planning application
there have been three subsequent submissions of supplementary information sent
to Shepway District Council at their request and one set of supplementary information
sent by the airport after it challenged the first Officer’s Report. There have
been five public consultations in total.

(2) Lydd Airport’s planning application was scheduled to be determined on July
9th, 2009 after the publication of the first Officer’s Report on July 1st 2009.
This was delayed at the behest of Lydd Airport to September 23rd, later changed
to September 24th. On September 8th 2009 Shepway District Council announced that
the determination would again be delayed until February/March 2010 allegedly to
allow Lydd Airport’s new Managing Director Jonathan Gordon to assess the paperwork
associated with the applications. The latest Officer’s Report was published on
February 19th, 2010 with an amendment published on March 1st.

(3) Lydd Airport is located less than three miles from the Dungeness Nuclear
Power Complex with a height restriction of 2000ft and less than two miles and
eight miles respectively from the Lydd (D044) and Hythe (D141) Military Ranges
with respective height restrictions of 4000 ft, and 3200ft. The airport is surrounded
by unique natural habitats protected under European and national laws and is located
under the main bird migratory route in the south of England. All these factors
make the location unsuitable for a regional airport.

(4) The criteria used to assess whether a public inquiry is warranted are (criteria
relevant to this application are in bold):

(i)   May conflict with national policy on important matters

(ii)   Could have significant effects beyond their immediate locality

(iii)   Give rise to substantial regional or national controversy

(iv)   May involve the interests of national security or of foreign governments

(v)   Raise significant architectural and urban design issues


(5) LAAG is an action group formed in late August 2004 to oppose the large scale
development of Lydd Airport.   LAAG has ~3000 active members.




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