Newsletter 2 - February 2005
Latest Feature: Instrument Landing System
Lydd Airport is now installing an Instrument Landing System (ILS) which when combined with the 300m proposed runway extension will add an all weather capability to the airport and enable Boeing 737 and Airbus 320 jet aircraft to use the runway. The residents of Greatstone and Littlestone will be most affected as they will be directly under the flight path and closest to the runway. We have shown below an estimate of the height in feet of aircraft based on the 3 degree glide path, for various roads in Greatstone and Littlestone.
The proposed flight path is still subject to MOD and CAA clearance. The centre line of the flight path will be on the seaward side of St Mary’s Bay and Dymchurch and broadly follow the A259 approach to Hythe. Aircraft can join the ILS 16 miles out.
We believe properties adjacent and under the flight path will become difficult to sell and houses prices will fall. Since the planning application for the large scale development at Lydd airport has yet to be filed, prospective property buyers are not currently alerted to the problem when undertaking local planning searches before exchanging contracts. This will change when the formal planning application is filed. One prospective buyer said “I intended to move to Romney Marsh to enjoy my retirement, but who wants to live under a flight path. I have no intention of coming even if I were offered a substantial discount”.
Lydd Airport Action Group (LAAG) was revived in September 2004 to represent the interests of residents of Romney Marsh affected by the proposed large scale development at Lydd Airport. Membership is steadily increasing and includes supporters from across Romney Marsh and surrounding districts. Our team members include, David Scott- Treasurer, Mark Skilbeck - Legal and Peter Faulkner – Web Master. We have 50 street/area coordinators and many other active members who are helping to raise awareness. LAAG is not against Lydd Airport but is strongly opposed to the planned ~ 300m extension of the runway as this will enable it to become a large regional airport operating commercial jets. This will degrade the living standards of local residents through increased noise and air pollution and deplete the green tourist credentials of the area as a result of increased urbanisation due to the scale of the supporting airport infrastructure.
Lydd Airport’s Ambitions
Lydd Airport’s Management is investing to accommodate 2 million passengers by 2011/2014 and 6million by 2021 (compared to 4500 in 2003), making it comparable to Luton Airport today. Charter holiday flights are scheduled to commence in 2008/2009 and will represent some 80% of the airport passenger traffic. The charter operation will operate 100-140 seat aircraft, implying the use of Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 series, the workhorses of the low cost tour/schedule operators. Management has appointed Parsons Brinckerhoff, one of the world’s leading transport engineering consultants to design and manage the project.
Progress to Date and Planning Considerations
Considerable progress has been made already at the airport - the resurfacing and strengthening of the existing runway, the creation of 13 acres of aprons, the resurfacing of the approach road and the demolition of some parts of the old terminal. The second phase of the development consists of the construction of a new terminal and the 300 metre extension of the runway. This will require a formal planning application. The Environmental Impact Assessment which must accompany this planning application commenced in December following the completion of the scoping opinion (sets parameters for the study) by Shepway District Council. LAAG has taken independent professional advice on the efficacy of the scoping document and the shortcomings detected will be used in opposing the planning application.
What is LAAG Doing?
Currently our prime focus remains raising awareness and canvassing membership. We have circulated 6000 leaflets since Christmas, advertised in the local press and presented at council meetings on Romney Marsh and beyond (Lydd Town Council and the parish councils of Ivychurch, Camber and Brenzett). Further meetings are planned, subject to confirmation, with Dymchurch, Rye, Hamstreet, Aldington, Brookland, Newchurch and New Romney councils. In these presentations we demonstrate that the environmental costs of this development are too high, the economic gains which are cast in employment opportunities are dramatically overstated and that there is no case for a second regional airport in Kent. We also continue to lobby for the application to extend the runway to be called in by the Secretary of State for a Public Inquiry.
What can members do now?
Do not underestimate the power of a letter. Write to Michael Howard, prospective parliamentary candidates, and to councilors (see here for names and addresses or ring Louise 01797 361 548). The letter does not need to be sophisticated. Voice your opposition to the scale of the development. Point out that your quality of life will be eroded by the increase in noise and air pollution as a result of the build up in traffic both in the air and on the ground. When the planning application is lodged a more structured approach is required and we will assist with responses. In the meantime help us canvas for new members/ leaflet/petition.