Page last updated at 11:59 GMT, Thursday, 21 January 2010

Runway extension given go-ahead

Go-ahead has been given for a runway extension at an Essex airport but planners must now refer proposals to the government before work can start.

Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government John Denham has claimed the right to a final say on the extension at Southend Airport.

He may call for a public inquiry on the decision made by Southend Borough Council planners.

Campaigners are concerned about a rise in passenger numbers to 2m a year.

There will be a lot more noise with more planes flying and more congestion and pollution on the A127...
Denis Walker

The airport managing director Alastair Welch said: "Southend has a target of 8,000 new jobs over the next 20 years and the transport infrastructure has to be improved.

"We are spending £12m on a new railway station and more on junctions on the A127 and other roads in the area to improve accessibility to the airport.

"We anticipate that congestion at a peak hour on a peak day would be no more than what is seen at a major supermarket.

"Concerns over noise and pollution are scaremongering by people to be brutally honest.

"When I talk to people about these concerns their fears are greatly reduced."

Denis Walker, from the campaign group Stop Airport Extension Now, said any expansion will have an adverse impact on the Southend area.

"There will be a lot more noise with more planes flying and more congestion and pollution on the A127 which is the only main road in to the town."

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