UK’s Lydd Airport to go ahead with runway expansion

18 May 2014 (Last Updated May 18th, 2014 18:30)

Lydd Airport in Kent, UK, plans to go ahead with its £25m expansion project after the High Court dismissed a legal challenge against the UK Government's approval.

Lydd Airport in Kent, UK, plans to go ahead with its £25m expansion project after the High Court dismissed a legal challenge against the UK Government's approval.

The project includes a 300m extension of the runway and a new terminal block, which is expected to help boost passenger numbers from 200,000 to 500,000 each year.

Following the project, the airport will become a regional hub capable of handling passenger jets, such as Boeing 737s and Airbus A319s.

"There was no legal basis for an appeal against the government's decision to back our plans for the redevelopment of Lydd Airport."

A legal challenge was filed by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and the Lydd Airport Action Group (LAAG) against the government's approval of the airport's expansion.

According to the RSPB, the land around the airport was of exceptional importance to birds and the expansion would damage unique habitats on Romney Marsh.

LAAG also claimed that the project would raise the probability of an aircraft accident involving the Dungeness nuclear power station complex to unacceptably high levels.

Mr Justice Ouseley, sitting at the High Court in London, dismissed the challenge saying that none of the grounds of challenge succeed.

Ouseley noted that the airport had been described as being 'in a sensitive location' by a planning inspector.

"No error of law in his acceptance of the safety evidence," the judge said in his ruling.

The High Court also refused the permission to appeal, but campaigners can seek the Court of Appeal itself to hear their case.

The ruling followed a 42-day public inquiry presided over by Justice Ouseley.

Lydd Airport executive manager Hani Mutlaq said: "The judge has today confirmed what we all knew. There was no legal basis for an appeal against the government's decision to back our plans for the redevelopment of Lydd Airport.

"We hope to invite contractors to tender for the runway construction project soon and anticipate that work will begin before the end of the year."

With the judgement in its favour, the airport expects to begin work on the runway will before the end of this year.

Lydd Airport had obtained planning permission for runway extension from the UK Communities Secretary and Transport Secretary in April 2013.