Lydd Airport expansion given go-ahead

Lydd Airport terminal design Lydd Airport bosses want the airport to take up to half a million passengers a year

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Plans to expand a Kent airport have been given the go-ahead by the government following a public inquiry.

Lydd Airport bosses want a new terminal building and an extended runway to take up to half a million passengers a year.

Opponents said safety fears about the nearby Dungeness nuclear plant had not been addressed.

Shepway District Council gave permission for the expansion plans in 2010 but the government called for a public inquiry.

The £25m project, also known as London Ashford Airport, includes a runway extension of almost 300m (328yds).

Hani Mutlaq, the airport's executive manager, said the government's decision was "a victory for common sense and for the people of Romney Marsh".

The approval is subject to environmental, noise and traffic conditions.

"Once all these have been addressed, we hope to begin the runway construction work as soon as possible," Mr Mutlaq said.

'Over 200 jobs'

Andrew Ogden, from the Kent branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, said: "The issue of nuclear safety has always been raised.

"This was not examined fully or properly at the inquiry."

Following the runway and terminal extensions, more than 200 people will be employed, the airport said.

Yvette Austin, the BBC South East's environment correspondent, said: "The decision can still be challenged.

"The people who are opposed to the development such as the RSPB and CPRE Protect Kent, could go to the High Court.

"They have to do it within six weeks, so we may see more debate and more waiting."

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