Press Release: February 22nd 2011

Lydd Airport: local resident group sends simple message to the Secretary of State: “This is an inappropriate site for a regional airport”

The Lydd Airport Action Airport Group (LAAG) QC, Matthew Horton will tell the Lydd Airport Public Inquiry at the Tuesday 22nd February opening session: “A simple common sense approach would dictate that Lydd Airport is an inappropriate site for a regional airport, direction to this effect should have been given much earlier in the planning and regulatory process. We would like this simple message to be conveyed to the secretary of state.” 

In his opening statement Horton will say that the development is speculative, has failed to make a convincing economic case, and that airport expansion presents an unnecessary and unacceptable risk to public safety due to its close proximity to the nuclear complex at Dungeness. 

In presenting its case LAAG will take an evidence based approach to challenge a number of aspects of the plan using the findings of leading experts who have been engaged during the six year life of the campaign. 

LAAG, an action group made up of local residents, is the only party involved in the inquiry who has shown concern about nuclear safety, believing that large passenger aircraft taking off and landing through key migratory bird routes on a runway next to a nuclear power station, presents an unnecessary and unacceptable risk to the general public. 

Horton will also say that LAAG will demonstrate the increased vulnerability of the nuclear complex at Dungeness to damage via an accident and a terrorist attack. 

 During the inquiry the leading nuclear expert John Large, will present evidence on the consequences of such an event and will challenge the Nuclear Inspectorate’s stated, dismissive position, that the terrorist subject does not need consideration since such an act is “not reasonably foreseeable”. 

 LAAG’s body of evidence during the inquiry will show that the planning application for Lydd Airport’s runway extension and new terminal should be rejected in the interests of public safety, to protect the environment and to safeguard existing employment on Romney Marsh.   


Peter Morris
Lydd Airport Action Group
Mobile: 07766 680990 

Notes to Editors: 

(1) London Ashford Airport (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). 

(3) On March 3rd 2010 Shepway District Council voted in favour of Lydd Airport’s planning application against the recommendation of its planning officers. On June 24th 2010 the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government called-in Lydd Airport’s planning application for a public inquiry.   

(4) The scale of the opposition to this planning application is demonstrated by the record 14,000 pieces of correspondence received by the Government Office of the South East (GOSE) - over 98% were opposed to Lydd Airport’s planning application due to the likely adverse public safety and environmental consequences 

(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.