29/05/2013
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Lydd Airport extension prompts legal challenge

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Part of Dungeness NNR has been designated an SSSI due to the fragile shingle habitat. The Sea Kale seen here is abundant at the site, but is a rare and protected species. Photo by Adam Hincks (commons.wikimedia.org).
Part of Dungeness NNR has been designated an SSSI due to the fragile shingle habitat. The Sea Kale seen here is abundant at the site, but is a rare and protected species. Photo by Adam Hincks (commons.wikimedia.org).

The RSPB has today (29 May) lodged an appeal against the government’s April decision to go ahead with plans to extend Lydd Airport, Kent, the society has announced.

The society believes that the £25million project, which involves a new terminal building and 294-m runway, will have a huge negative impact on the adjacent Dungeness NNR, which incorporates an RSPB reserve.

Dungeness has been designated a Special Protection Area (SPA), Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). It is of international conservation importance for its geomorphology, plant and invertebrate communities and birdlife. The area provides a home to species found hardly anywhere else in the UK, as well as a stopover for migrating birds.

Chris Corrigan, RSPB South East Regional Director, said: “The RSPB has been protecting birds and the wildlife of Dungeness for more than a century. Our commitment to the area is deep and profound.

“Over recent years, our concerns about the impact of expanding nearby Lydd Airport led to the need to argue our case at a Public Inquiry.

“The inspector found in favour of the airport's proposals – and his report was completely endorsed in the Secretaries of State for Communities and Local Government and for Transport’s Decision. We are profoundly concerned about this decision as it seems perverse.

“After careful consideration we have now issued a legal challenge to the Secretaries of State’s decision. The stakes are too high to risk the future of one of our best and most important places for nature without testing the basis for this decision which we consider to be flawed.”

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Written by: Birdwatch news team