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Last Updated: Sunday, 28 August 2005, 15:12 GMT 16:12 UK
Airport protesters form coalition
Protester's placard outside Lydd Airport
Protesters campaigned outside the airport at the weekend
Campaigners protesting against the expansion of an airport in Kent have formed a new group to fight the plans.

Managers at Lydd Airport on Romney Marsh want it enlarged to carry about two million passengers a year by 2011.

But protesters have said it will harm the environment, quality of life for local residents and the area's tourism trade, all of which the airport denies.

The formation of the Keep the Marsh Special coalition was marked with a demonstration outside the airport.

Opposition to the expansion scheme in recent months has centred on a variety of points, ranging from safety concerns about large planes flying near Dungeness nuclear power station to fears about the future of a colony of newts in a nearby pond.

'Prospect in the future'

At the weekend, campaigners were suggesting an enlarged airport would damage the area's tourism trade.

Malcolm Dyer, coalition chairman, said: "There's a large coastal tourism and holiday industry here which we will lose.

Ariel view of Lydd airport
Lydd Airport managers say the expansion would create 2,000 jobs

"People don't go on holiday to Gatwick, they go to fly from it, just as with any regional airport.

"It's an exit point and an entrance point, but it's not a holiday point."

Councillor Lynne Beaumont was also at the protest and said: "We need jobs in this area and that's what all this is about.

"But it needs to be in a way which works with the Romney Marsh not against the environment and not against the quality of life for thousands of people."

The airport management have fought off criticism of the proposed expansion scheme and have said it could create 2,000 jobs for the area.

Spokesman Robin Gordon said: "It's going to really boost the local area, particularly in terms of jobs.

"I've lived in the area now for eight years and it's particularly important for the young people, offering them an opportunity, a prospect in the future."


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