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Lydd Airport on course with expansion plans.

Lydd Airport's Hani Mutlaq
Lydd Airport's Hani Mutlaq

Lydd Airport chiefs are confident that construction of a runway extension will go ahead early next year after working on strict environmental pre-conditions.

Following the Government’s decision to approve the airport’s £25 million expansion plans, airport bosses say they are on schedule to meet all the conditions required to enable planning permission for the runway extension to be implemented.

Strict environmental conditions were imposed on the airport, and executive manager Hani Mutlaq said excellent progress was being made. The airport has organised studies and surveys as part of 54 conditions, and he remained confident that runway construction would commence early in 2014.

“Strict environmental controls will ensure that the special bird populations, flora and fauna of Dungeness will continue to be safeguarded, and noise levels, aircraft numbers and flying times will be capped,” he said.

Experts are carrying out detailed geological and archaeological monitoring and recording. This will be followed by a water vole survey, surface water drainage studies, an examination of aquatic and amphibious invertebrates, and an updated bat foraging and commuting behaviour study.

A moth study will also be undertaken, in consultation with Kent Wildlife Trust, Butterfly Conservation and Natural England. Other studies will cover grass snakes, the common lizard, medicinal leeches and great crested newts.

Once these have been completed, Lydd Airport will submit a protection, construction and mitigation plan for these species to Shepway council’s planning department for approval, in consultation with Natural England.

Lydd has also commissioned a ground water quality monitoring programme, a review of facilities required for storage of oils, fuels and chemicals ahead of the submission of a construction environmental management plan to the council.

Mr Mutlaq added: “Having already spent millions of pounds on getting planning approval for our runway extension and new terminal building, these surveys and studies represent a further heavy investment by the airport. If all goes according to plan, we will have complied with all the pre-commencement conditions by early next year and can then put the construction of the runway extension out to tender.”

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