Page last updated at 14:33 GMT, Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Lydd Airport plans delayed by environmental concerns

Lydd Airport aerial view
Lydd Airport's 25m development plans could be "called in"

Plans to extend the runway and build a new terminal at Lydd Airport in Kent could be referred to the government.

Natural England is concerned the environmental impact has not been properly considered and has asked for the plans to be "called in".

The Government Office for the South East (GOSE) will now consider the plans and decide whether the decision should be referred to the Secretary of State.

Shepway District Council has already granted planning permission.

Natural England said it was concerned that the development could affect areas including Dungeness, Romney Marsh and the Rye Bay site of special scientific interest .

It would be manifestly unreasonable for the Secretary of State to call-in our applications
Jonathon Gordon, Managing director of Lydd Airport

Rob Cameron, its area manager, said: "We believe the applicant has been unable to demonstrate that the sites of national and international importance for nature conservation would not be adversely affected by the proposed developments.

"The scientific evidence supports the need for the 'call in'."

However, the airport said it did not believe Natural England's case was robust enough.

Managing Director Jonathan Gordon said: "It would be manifestly unreasonable for the Secretary of State to 'call in' our applications.

"Our two applications do not conflict with national policies, they would have no significant effects beyond their immediate locality, they would not give rise to substantial regional or national controversy, they do not raise significant architectural and urban design issues and they do not involve interests of national security or of foreign governments."

Shepway councillors voted 27 to 12 in favour of the plans earlier this month, but the plans will now be delayed until at least 22 April.

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