17 February 2011

A public inquiry has begun into plans to build a new terminal building and extend the runway at the Lydd airport in Kent. The inquiry at Shepway District Council is timetabled to last for up to 40 days.

The owners of the airport, London Ashford Airport Ltd, want to replace the existing 1950s building and build a modern regional airport including a 300-metre runway extension. Shepway District Council approved the £25 million expansion plan in March 2010.

Opponents, including the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), Protect Kent and Natural England, say it will bring noise pollution and damage wildlife. But business leaders, including the Channel Chamber of Commerce, back the plans, which they say will bring jobs to an area desperately needing regeneration.