7 February 2011

A public inquiry into plans to expand Lydd Airport in Kent is scheduled to last 13 weeks and will include a week of site visits. Shepway District Council approved the £25 million expansion plan after a seven-hour Council meeting in March 2010 after which the Government ordered an inquiry. The site visits took place ofrom 15 February 2011 at the airport, and the public inquiry will be held at Shepway Civic Centre in Folkestone from 22 February 2011.

The operator of Lydd Airport plans to build a new terminal and extend the runway by almost 300 metres. The new terminal will be able to handle up to 500,000 passengers a year. The Council also approved a 150-metre starter apron, for aircraft to be parked, loaded and boarded.

There were more than 12,000 objections, including from Greenpeace, the RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds), British Energy, the Council for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE), Kent Wildlife Trust and the British Hedgehog Preservation Society. The inquiry will look at the issues on a topic-by-topic basis, including ornithology, noise, ecology, nuclear safety and socio-economic considerations. Members of the public will be able to speak on 1, 5 and 6 July 2011. A final decision on the application is not expected until late 2011 at the earliest.