Lydd Airport inquiry to last 13 weeks

Lydd Airport aerial view
Image caption The airport expansion scheme was approved by the Tory-run council in March

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.

The £25m expansion plan was approved by Shepway District Council in March 2010 but the government ordered an inquiry must be held.

It will open on 15 February at Shepway Civic Centre in Folkestone, then be adjourned for the rest of the week.

Site visits will be carried out before the inquiry reopens on 22 February.

Lydd Airport's plans to build a new terminal and extend its runway by almost 300m (328yds) were approved after a seven-hour meeting of the council.

The new terminal will be able to handle up to 500,000 passengers a year.

The council also approved a 150m (164yds) starter apron, for aircraft to be parked, loaded and boarded.

There were more than 12,000 objections to the planning application, including from Greenpeace, the RSPB, British Energy, the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England, Kent Wildlife Trust and the British Hedgehog Preservation Society.

The inquiry will look at the issues on a topic-by-topic basis, touching on ornithology, noise, ecology, nuclear safety and socio-economic considerations.

Members of the public will be able to speak on 1, 5 and 6 July.

A final decision on the application is not expected until late 2011 at the earliest.

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