Page last updated at 18:57 GMT, Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Runway expansion plans approved

East Midlands Airport
Some residents fear the airport will be used by older, noisier cargo aircraft

An extension to East Midlands Airport's runway to allow more freight traffic has been approved.

The airport at Castle Donington first applied to add 190m (623ft) to its 2.9 km (1.8 mile) airstrip nine years ago.

The £4m plans, which will allow more long-haul flights, have provoked opposition from nearby residents who fear increased noise and pollution.

But a report to North West Leicestershire District Council said the increases would be small.

Managers at the airport want to make it more attractive to long-haul cargo carriers, especially across the Atlantic.

Old aircraft

The scheme received a boost earlier in the year when a Leicestershire County Council report found the environmental impact would be marginal given the growth in flights predicted in the future.

But Peter Beddoe, who lives nearby, is not convinced.

He said: "A longer runway will mean the same old, superannuated cargo aircraft - former passenger aircraft - will take on more fuel and more cargo.

"They will be longer on the runway and generate more noise as they come up to take off speed."

Night flights

But Brian Conway, head of external affairs at East Midlands Airport, said: "A runway can only hold one plane at a time, so there will be no increase in the number of aircraft as a result of the extension.

He added: "In many respects, nothing is going to change because the noise increases, as the council's own noise experts agree, will be imperceptible."

North West Leicestershire district councillors were advised by officers to approve the move, but with some conditions attached to limit night-time flying between 2300 and 0700 GMT.

The airport said it had spent £1.5m insulating 502 nearby homes to keep out jet noise.

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