Sunday, August 21, 2011

The battle for Lydd airport 's proposed expansion in Kent highlights the conflict in anticipation of the government' s new planning policy framework

Down in the marshes of Kent, are drawn battle lines. In Lydd, a historic gateway town near the promontory of Dungeness - a bleak moonscape of gravel dunes, bungalows and tundra - are the people angry.

They are angry at proposals more houses on the outskirts of the city at a time when younger people are moving away to build. They are angry at plans to develop for a number of quarries, the conveyor continues to run all night. And they are angry about the airport.

Local heritage and environmental groups warn that expanding plans for Lydd 's tiny airport - now of private jets, transport planes and Lydd Air, which flies Le Touquet in France used - will dramatically change the haunting atmosphere of the wetlands, is an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The RSPB claims pollution and the use of bird-strike inspection passenger aircraft carrying between 200,000 and two million people a year, to protect the area to be devastating for 's wildlife.

Orr knows the figures better than most. Last year about 100,000 homes were built in Britain, but most experts agree there is a need to build about 250,000 homes a year to cater for the country's burgeoning population.

So far the government has dismissed the objections, claiming the framework reiterates a commitment to protecting the greenbelt and areas of outstanding natural beauty. Planning minister Bob Neill has gone as far to suggest the objections are the work of a "carefully choreographed smear campaign by leftwingers based in the national headquarters of pressure groups" - a charge rejected by those at whom it was targeted.

Orr has concerns: "This will not result in a concreting the countryside Period \ .." But many Tory backbenchers are aware that the line could interfere with their core support, and it is rumored that the government is looking for an NHS-style "listening practice" in the fall to try to defuse the situation. The government knows it is not the leftwing it needs to be afraid. It's the middle England. And it 's ready for a fight.

Jamie Doward © Guardian News & Media Limited 2011 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms and Conditions | More Feeds


Blog Archive