18 November 2002
Councils back plan for airport in Kent
By Charles Arthur
Local councils are calling for the Government to build an airport as big as Heathrow in Kent to cope with the growing demand for flights.
A report published today by 70 local authorities says Alistair Darling, the Secretary of State for Transport, "must be bold" when deciding how to accommodate the expected rise in the number of British air passengers from 180 million now to 500 million by 2030.
James Bailey, author of the
report for the Strategic
Aviation Special Interest Group (Sasig) at the Local Government Association,
said he had been contacted by commercial organisations keen to begin building
at Cliffe in north Kent. "They are ready to submit their
Ministers are considering
a new airport in Kent or new runways at Heathrow and Stansted. Building
at Cliffe would bring them into conflict with residents and environmentalists,
who would probably appeal to the EU under the Habitats Directive because
Sasig says it would be cheaper to make a new protected habitat in north Kent than to make a "compulsory purchase of many thousands of homes around Heathrow".