Page last updated at 12:54 GMT, Friday, 19 March 2010

Minister gives Southend airport the go-ahead

The government has approved plans for a runway extension at Southend Airport in Essex.

Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government John Denham claimed the right to a final say on the extension earlier this year.

He could have called for a public inquiry on the decision made by Southend Borough Council planners.

But he has now told the council he is happy for the council to progress with the plans.

Anna Waite, executive councillor for planning and transport, said: "I am extremely pleased the Secretary of State has vindicated the careful consideration given to this application by the development control committee.

"It took a great deal of time and effort to produce the balanced report presented to the committee which reflected the views expressed by the various interested parties.

"The airport expansion will bring not only travel opportunities but much needed jobs."

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

Denis Walker, from the campaign group Stop Airport Extension Now, had previously 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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