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KCC: New airport would pose huge problems

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BUILDING a new airport at Cliffe, near Strood, could have a bigger impact on Kent than the Channel Tunnel Rail Link, council leaders have warned.

Kent County Council is to conduct a study examining the possible repercussions if the Government decides to build a new four-runway airport on land at Cliffe marshes.

The option is said to be under consideration by the Government to ease the pressure on London’s existing five airports and to cope with a doubling of air traffic over the next 20 years. It has already brought protests from people living in the area and environmentalists.

Outside experts are to be brought in by KCC to weigh up the impact won the county’s environment, economy and existing transport system.

The study will also consider what investment would be needed to make the necessary transport links to serve the airport. However, the county council’s Conservative administration has already predicted that Kent would change beyond recognition.

Cllr Alex King, cabinet member for economic regeneration, said: “There is a clear danger that a proposal on this scale will have an impact beyond anything we have seen before in both north and east Kent. We will have to be very clear about the implications for Kent - such an airport would change the face of north Kent forever.”

County council leader Sandy Bruce-Lockhart said Kent would be involved in a project more “far-reaching” than the Channel Tunnel.

Analysts have suggested that an airport would create as many as 60,000 jobs - a figure likely to lead to many more people coming into the county to work and possibly live.

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