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Last Updated: Tuesday, 19 July, 2005, 12:38 GMT 13:38 UK
Fear at planes near power station
Dungeness B power station
Dungeness' power stations are just five miles from Lydd Airport
A no-fly zone around two nuclear power stations in Kent should be extended, according to campaigners opposing the expansion of a nearby airport.

Aircraft arriving at or leaving Lydd Airport cannot fly within a mile and a half of Dungeness A and B.

Planes near the power stations en route elsewhere must be two miles away.

Campaigners want the same limit applied to planes heading for or leaving Lydd but airport bosses said there is no need to change the restrictions.

The planned expansion of Lydd Airport, five miles from the power stations, would see larger planes such as Boeing 737s able to land there for the first time.

Obviously with the increased activity the risk of an accident happening will increase
Louise Barton, Lydd Airport Action Group

The Lydd Airport Action Group, which opposes the plans, has claimed the prospect of planes of that size flying so near to nuclear power stations makes the expansion dangerous.

Spokeswoman Louise Barton said: "We're talking about an airport that has very low activity levels at this point in time, but is gearing up, if their plans come to fruition, to ultimately be almost as large as Luton Airport.

"This airport has operated with light aircraft, basically aircraft under six tons, and they are proposing to increase the activity quite aggressively and they will be bringing in the 737s, which are over 40 tons.

Lydd airport protesters
Protests against expansion at Lydd have been going on for some time

"Obviously with the increased activity the risk of an accident happening will increase.

"What we want is to maximise safety in the area and one way to do this is to increase the restrictions to the standard two miles."

Lydd Airport management said monitoring had shown that no "incursion incidents" by aircraft had been reported.

The statement went on to say: "The imminent upgrade to full air traffic control will improve safety considerably, enabling the airport to ensure a safe flight path away from the restricted Dungeness area.

"Equipment is also being installed that will help controllers to monitor the flight paths of aircraft."


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