Lydd – bad news

Earlier today the Secretaries of State for Local Government and Transport approved the planning application for an airport at Lydd.

The Secretaries of the State have found that there is development plan support for the proposals from LP policy TR15 and that, in an area where the prospects of significant regeneration remain precarious, the proposals would have a positive effect. In line with NPPF paragraph 19, they attach significant weight to the need to support economic growth through the planning system. After careful consideration, they are satisfied that there would be no likely significant effects on any designated conversation sites and also that the proposals would not have a significant effect on nuclear safety, landscape or tranquillity. The Secretaries of State conclude that the airport would be safe from flooding to 2115 and that the proposals would not have any significant effect on highway safety. Whilst they have identified limited harm to the wider population in respect of noise, there would not be significant harm at Greatstone School. Overall, the Secretaries of State conclude that there are no material considerations of sufficient weight which count against the proposal to determine the application other than in accordance with the development plan.

It’s the economy stupid!

CPRE described this as ‘crazy paving over the Garden of England’.

The RSPB won’t be thrilled.



11 Replies to “Lydd – bad news”

  1. Joy of joys…NOT !!! Where’s next for the concrete treatment? Boris Island, Severn barrage anyone…

  2. “…the proposals would not have a significant effect on … landscape or tranquillity”. Is this an airport for paper planes, or do I need to complain to OED about their definitions of landscape and tranquility? Good to see that airports are nowadays justified on the grounds of ‘economic growth’ and ‘regeneration’ of the countryside, whatever that is.

    Sorry, Mark, I’m not adding anything constructive here – it’s purely cathartic, but when the Secretaries of State’s line of reasoning makes as much sense as a James Delingpole article, you start to despair. Feeling a lot of sympathy for all those campaigning against this. All credit to the teams that fight such nonsense day in day out.

  3. This is surely one for the lawyers? The Waddenzee Judgement (WJ) ( for one stands out. It’s late and I’ve been up since before 6am and EU case-law is not the easiest of instruments to digest at the best of times, but I really feel that there is scope to question the decision by the SoS on this basis alone.

    Briefly, I would draw attention to the following text from the WJ:

    “Where the site concerned hosts a priority natural habitat type and/or a priority
    species, the only considerations which may be raised are those relating to human
    health or public safety, to beneficial consequences of primary importance for the
    environment or, further to an opinion from the Commission, to other imperative
    reasons of overriding public interest” (IROPI – my abbreviation)

    My understanding of this is, if a European Protected Site supports a priority habitat and/ or species, then there are restrictive reasons for which permission can be granted, and I don’t think a construction of an airport constitutes public health and safety. Presumably the SoS has gone cap in hand to the Commission to get an opinion for IROPI?

    Note that the WJ has been quoted by the Planning Inspectorate in similar circumstances (i.e. a proposed development, housing) in the UK to refuse a planning permission (see for the transcript). If a small housing development can be refused on the basis that the European Protected Site’s integrity cannot be certainly maintained then I would wonder how certainty can be attributed to a much larger development where the sources of impact (air pollution, i.e. nitrogen dioxide deposition as I understand) are not so easily predicted.

    That’s all for now, but I am sure this won’t be the end of the road (or runway); at least I hope not.

  4. Well I remember this story was reported locally and made me feel uncomfortable when they featured this news story and people did ask “how will this regenerate the local rural economy” quickly followed up by someone pointing out that the nearby RSPB reserve had promised extra jobs (failed to deliver according to locals), also extra money generated by visitors to the reserve, one shopkeeper pointed out that most that visited the reserve would arrive before his shop was open and very rarely stopped to spend I sat there watching the TV shaking my head in despair, you just knew the RSPB was never going to succede. According to the reporter a lot of locals were employed at Dungeness power station and as it closed were facing unemployment and a local councillor reckoned the new airport terminal/construction would create sufficent jobs etc so to me it was a inevitable this was going to get the nod.
    Odlly though it seems both the local and national government have seem to have ignored those who’s profession is the “aviation sector” who had described the plans for Lydd airport as “nonsensical and a non-starter” simply because of it’s location and the already crowded airspace in the area restricting routes/destinations airline can fly to…perhaps it’s time for the Kent tourist board to drop the tag of “Garden of England” and change it to “London’s overspill”.

  5. I despair!
    Why did the Tories change their logo to a tree? Is it a green one? No it’s a concrete one!
    They really do not care about the environment, people’s quality of life, pollution, noise, etc.
    I could go on, but what’s the point…………..

  6. I too despair! I don’t think, though, that we should underestimate the pressure on the coalition to create economic activity; this, from what little I have been able to learn about it, looks like a “shovel-ready” project and one that doesn’t involve taxpayers’ money (which, I guess, are pretty big plus points). On the other hand, the amount involved (£25m?) is a rounding error at the national scale, but, of course, not trivial at the local scale, and we should certainly not underestimate our representatives’ inability to tell us that the evidence points to recessions caused by financial crashes taking a lot longer to recover from than those caused by capacity and demand mismatches.
    I think we might have to concede, however, that, as reported above, it might just be true that there “would be no likely significant effects on any designated conversation sites” (sic). I had no idea there were any! Are they derived from George Orwell, or Monty Python? Should I now give myself up to the police as having had a conversation outside such a designated site?

    1. Peter can you whisper outside these conversation sites though?
      One of the curious things about this project was how opponents to the plan were smeared, for example the Lydd Airport Action Group were accused by the local media as being “nimbys” this is quite a new trend I hope conservationist pick up, because the moment you mention the word “nimby” who get two reactions, 1) Eyes roll-how many of you rolled your eyes as soon as I said Nimby?2) People turn against the “nimbys”. What happened at Lydd was a cheap test case for Boris Island simple as. Lydd airport (and Boris Island) will fail as a comercial concern because they won’t be able to get profitable routes, for example off the coast of Kent is a “holding pattern” for an international Northern European airport, as such planes gaining/descending in height can’t fly through it, Boris Islands proposal will not be able to emulate Frankfurts commercial success as it will be not be able to fly to more the one location (bejing) in China this because the planes taking off from Boris island will be in the flightpath of Frankfurt..airspce regs’ etc, Frankfurt flies to four locations in China, business men/women hence it success, airports biggest consumer have remarked if they can only fly to one location in China, they won’t use Boris Island and would rather fly from Frankfurt even though it means flying from the UK to Germany first (many already do this), in terms of Lydd if you ask frequent flyers about Lydd they will say “Where?” it’s remote location will be it’s downfall

  7. Hello Mark, it,s the effect on Designated CONVERSATION sites that should also be of concern!

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