Cliffe does not affect plans, says Wiggins

THE COMPANY that owns London Manston has hit back at reports it would be forced to close if the Cliffe airport project went ahead.

A leaked Government document last week revealed that it would be impossible to operate two airports in such close proximity, for safety reasons.

As Cliffe would be a major international airport, Manston would have to make way for it.

But owners Wiggins say they are fully committed to the development of the airport and are planning major improvements in the next few months.

A spokesperson said; "London Manston Airport is already the seventh largest freight airport in the UK and discussions are underway with low-cost airlines for scheduled passenger services.

"Wiggins will shortly be announcing plans for a new passenger terminal at the airport capable of handling up to 1.5m passengers a year."

The spokesperson said that if the Cliffe project were approved, it would not just cause problems at Manston, saying: "The development of a major international airport at Cliffe would clearly have significant implications for national air traffic control.

"The Chief Executive of National Air Traffic Services has recently highlighted the possible implications for other London airports. "

The report was not sent to Thanet Council, who only heard about it when they were asked for their reaction by journalists.

The council is already unhappy they were not consulted about the plan to flood a huge area of Thanet.

Another report, by the Department of Transport said that a flood plain on the Wantsum Marshes would be used to re-home wildlife displaced by the Cliffe development.

Thanet Council Leader Richard Nicholson said: ""We still hold the view, together with our other partners in east Kent and with the South East of England Development Agency, that Manston is fundamental to the future of this region.

"We will be making a response as a council to the overall consultation and we will also be responding to the report in general," he said.

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