BBC News: Election 2010 BBC News

Page last updated at 15:06 GMT, Tuesday, 4 May 2010 16:06 UK

Focus on Lydd Airport in Folkestone and Hythe seat

Lydd Airport
The Government Office for the South East is reviewing the plans

Plans to extend the runway and build a new terminal at Lydd Airport in Kent have been on the agenda in the constituency of Folkestone and Hythe.

A decision on whether to refer the plans to the government is due in June.

Labour's candidate Donald Worsley and Damian Collins, for the Conservatives, both said the expansion was an opportunity to bring jobs to the area.

Lib Dem Lynne Beaumont, who opposes the plans and wants a public inquiry, said: "We need jobs, but not at any price."

The Government Office for the South East is reviewing the plans for the airport and is to decide whether the Secretary of State should make the final decision, with the deadline set for 11 June.

It's an opportunity to create new jobs in a highly skilled industry
Damian Collins, Conservative candidate

Ms Beaumont said the issue of the airport's future was evenly split, with people wanting the jobs it will bring, and others not wanting "the pollution, the noise, the extra million car movements on the A259".

"I launched a campaign to relaunch Romney Marsh as an eco- tourism destination... one of its main beauties is its tranquillity.

"Dymchurch and St Mary's Bay's entire economy is based on summer trade.

"You are not going to do that under a flight path of a 737. A lot of people come to Dymchurch but they won't if that happens," she said.

Conservative hopeful Damian Collins said although Lydd Airport had been part of the community for 50 years, it should be allowed "to develop in a controlled way".

'Moving away'

"It's an opportunity to create new jobs in a highly skilled industry.

"We are not so wealthy in Romney Marsh that we can turn away jobs and investment," he said.

Labour's prospective parliamentary candidate, Donald Worsley, said his priority was to bring jobs to the area and reverse the decline overseen by former Conservative MP Michael Howard.

"We need a new power station at Dungeness, the expansion of Lydd Airport and to change our council that believes in frightening away any investors that come near.

"The real problem in the constituency is people leaving it - there is high unemployment in areas of Folkestone, there is no affordable housing and people are moving away."

Candidates announced for Folkestone and Hythe are:

Liberal Democrat: Lynne Beaumont; Conservative: Damian Collins; Green: Penny Kemp; UK Independence Party: Frank McKenna; Independent: David Plumstead; British National Party: Harry Williams; Labour: Donald Worsley

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