Published: 12:01, 22 May 2014
Anti-expansion campaigners in Lydd have joined the wave of condemnation over the closure of Manston Airport.
Lydd Airport Action Group says it is “ludicrous” for the Thanet airport to shut when it has a longer runway and no flying height restrictions like Lydd.
It says it also it does not have the complications of neighbouring a nuclear power complex, nature reserve and two firing ranges.
Manston finally shut down last Thursday, the day before, in a separate move, the High Court in London backed plans to expand Lydd.
LAAG co-ordinator Louise Barton said: “It is ludicrous to close one airport, which has superior operational characteristics and expand another, which is operationally inferior.
“This is before taking into account the fact that Lydd is located beside a nuclear complex, under one of the major bird migratory routes in the south of England and surrounded by one of the most ecologically sensitive areas in the UK.”
Mrs Barton argues that Lydd is operationally inferior because of the scale of restricted airspace in the direct vicinity to Lydd.
There is a 4,000ft height restriction above Lydd Ranges less than two miles away, a 3,200ft one above Hythe Ranges eight miles away and a 2,000ft one above the Dungeness A and B stations less than three miles away.
LAAG also argues that Manston’s runway is 2,748 metres, while an extended one for Lydd would still only go up to 1,944.
LAAG adds that the airport can have complications with plane landings.
It is the only civil one in the UK with a five-degree Instrument Landing System (ILS). This guides the aircraft to the centre line of the runway but in the case of Lydd the pilots must make a manual adjustment to do this.
Furthermore when the wind favours an aeroplane coming in over Lydd Ranges towards Greatstone, and the Ranges are being used for firing, large aircraft must land in the opposite direction towards Lydd.
This would be with a tailwind when aircraft normally land into the wind.
In addition when there are tailwind landings and the wind speed exceeds 10 knots, large aircraft must divert to another airport.
Manston has none of these problems, the protesters say.
Both LAAG and the RSPB had gone to the High Court to stop Lydd expanding, LAAG arguing on nuclear safety and the RSPB on the effect of wildlife at its Dungeness bird sanctuary.
Both lost their respective cases last Friday.
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