Deal With IT's Secretary Victoria Nicholls writes a regular column in the East Kent Mercury:
Airport expansion is always controversial; the expansion of Kent’s Lydd Airport is no exception and is causing major concern for environmentalists, wildlife groups and conservationists.
Lydd Airport is very close to the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) reserve at Dungeness and there is great disquiet about the impact of expansion on the local environment and its wildlife. The Special Protection Area (SPA) of Pett Levels has internationally important bird populations and the Dungeness Special Area of Conservation (SAC) has great crested newts and a rare shingle habitat. The proposed runway extension would see the loss of part of the Dungeness SAC and the destruction of part of the Dungeness Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) which is geologically important.
Dungeness is the site of the RSPB’s oldest reserve and is home to some 120,000 birds. Birds and aeroplanes sharing the same air space is a recipe for disaster both for the birds and the planes as bird strikes have caused the loss of at least 55 civil aircraft worldwide.
The need for jobs and an increase in tourism in the Lydd area are usually trotted out as justifications for expansion but are invalid when journey times to London via Ashford and the High Speed Rail Link are boasted about. Just who is going to benefit if these plans go ahead? Not the local population, it would seem. Maybe the Saudi businessman who owns Lydd Airport – proposed to be known as London Ashford Airport – means to increase his personal fortune.
The increased greenhouse gas emissions resulting from growth in air travel will have a negative effect on climate change and wipe out all the emissions reductions achieved through our expanded use of renewable energy.
It is difficult to imagine why anyone could possibly consider damage to such environmentally sensitive sites an acceptable way forward in this day and age.