Lydd Airport (London Ashford Airport) is located in the United Kingdom, (LYDD, 2010, pp.1), and in 2003, the government proposed its expansion to ease congestion in the South East. The airport currently offers services to the regional market and its expansion is seen as a sure way of increasing air transport demand in the UK.
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Since it serves locally, the Lydd Airport has the potential of meeting the needs of the local market through the provision of domestic and business flights. In addition, the expansion of this airport will contribute towards the creation of employment as the airline will need more staff to cater for its growing market.
It is also seen as a way to promote tourism in the East Sussex and Kent due to the stimulation of Romney Marsh. Other than this, the expansion of the Lydd Airport is seen as the perfect way to rid the Southeast of airspace and runway congestion which has for the longest time plagued the industry (LYDD, 2010, pp.1). The aim of this assessment is to evaluate the role of different stakeholders and the policy and planning issues associated with the development of Lydd airport.
Stakeholders views on the potential development of the Lydd Airport
The potential development of the Lydd Airport has attracted many stakeholders from various organisations according to a report done by London Ashford Airport (2010, pp. 13-15). These organisations include the county councils, the district councils, the parish councils, and a number of members of parliament, non governmental organisations, business partners and statutory bodies. The Lydd Airport’s expansion proposal has brought about many issues which are tabled by most of the stakeholders.
To begin with, the Shepway Councillors who are key stakeholders in the project have endorsed it citing the many benefits that this expansion will offer to the people of Shepway according to the report presented by LAA News (2010).
The chief councillor, Mr. Gordon feels that this will be a call for investors to Shepway and by doing so; there will be many employment opportunities for the residents. He also sees it as a developmental project that will take Shepway to a new level owing to the facilities that will be set up courtesy of the expansion. He cites that this will lead to the development of this area and others as well.
This will contribute to the well being of the local communities and the young people in this area will have the opportunity of benefiting from this expansion. This move is also seen as prime in the empowerment of the local people as it will seek to shift power from the government and put it directly into the people’s hands (LAA News, 2010). Environmentalists are also among the stakeholders and their major concern is that this area, which is a wildlife site will be destroyed and that is why the expansion must stop.
Known as the Dungeness, in England’s south east corner, this area plays habitat to water birds, invertebrates and unique plants which definitely act as a tourist attraction. The views that the stakeholders have on this proposed expansion is that the natural tranquillity of this site will be destroyed massively.
This is occasioned by the fact that the airport looks at increasing its market base from 4,000 passengers to 500,000 passengers a year according to Fact Files (2010, pp. 1-2). The stakeholders feel that this idea will be hazardous in the sense that the beautiful wildlife will disappear due to noise pollution as well as other pollutants that would come with an airport of such magnitude.
This area has not only been declared a National Nature Reserve (NNR) but also a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and thus allowing the mentioned expansion activities would cause humongous harm to the tranquillity of this haven. Some of the stakeholders feel that such intended destruction is uncalled for as this site holds a lot of meaning to the wildlife. This move will also reflect negatively on the tourism industry since there will be nothing to view in a few years to come.
The rich wildlife will have succumbed to the pollution and other disturbances and will be forced to migrate to more habitable areas. In addition, this move will harm the environment in the sense that there will be huge gas emissions which will contribute highly to global warming.
If anything, the government should be working harder to avert the destructive climate changes. The Queen is not party to this and has even contributed to the Airport Economic Regulation Bill which rules out expansion to create new runways (Fact File, 2010, pp. 1-2).
Another concern that has been brought about by stakeholders about the expansion of this airport is that other than it being next to a bird sanctuary, it has close proximity to the Dungeness Nuclear Power Station according to the study done by Richard (2010, pp.3). This is a potential danger as the safety of the people has been overlooked. The questions being asked include what would happen if the planes hit a reactor. This would cause deaths and destruction and that is why many stakeholders argue that this expansion is doomed.
On the other hand, some stakeholders feel that the expansion of the Lydd Airport will be a blessing in disguise. First of all, this expansion will create employment opportunities as a result of the numerous posts it will come with according to a study done by Sshafi (2009, pp. 1-4).
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This is seen as a prime project that will bring investors to London and this will translate to a rich economy. It is seen as potential to opening up new businesses since the interactions by travellers will lead to partnerships. The town of Shepway is seen as a major beneficially of the expansion program due to its proximity to the airport.
Other concerns that have come up as a result of this expansion are that Romney Marsh is the only countryside that the people of UK can boast of according to (Aslet, 2010, pp. 1-20). Allowing the expansion is synonymous to destroying this beautiful land due to the air and noise pollution bound to come with this venture.
This move is therefore seen as selfish and hypocritical for people only interested in fattening their bank accounts. They may see this as the only option to ease air and runway congestion but on the other hand, they must never overlook the environmental dangers this expansion will pose to the people of Romney Marsh.
The choice of the name, ‘London Ashford Airport’ is also disturbing in the sense that the airport is neither in Ashford or London, (pp. 9-10), and the Saudi Arabian businessman behind this project is just after killing many birds with ones tone. Romney Marsh has rich soils that supply most of the UK with apples and this will soon be a thing of the past since they will be cut down. The rewarding qualities of this therapeutic land will be lost if this expansion sees the light of day.
The famous breed of sheep, Romney Marsh, originated form this beautiful countryside and the expansion will definitely make them extinct due to pollution. The prospects on employment could be there if the expansion was successful but these are not seen to benefit the local people. If anything, the better paying jobs will go to the highly skilled people and the locals may end up getting low paying jobs like being baggage handlers (Aslet, 2010, pp. 1-20).
The Friends of the Earth environmental group challenges the expansion of the Lydd airport citing carbon emissions which will lead to environmental degradation. The Britain government is for this expansion and there are doubts if it will release the true figures on carbon dioxide emissions.
As a result, it is viewed by the Friends of the Earth group as insensitive about an issue that it is supposed to spearhead by limiting carbon emissions. This can only be achieved by limiting airport expansions and in fact discouraging the expansion of the Lydd Airport (KMSA, 2008, pp. 2).
It is a fact according to the Full News Archive (2010, pp.7) that most of the carbon emissions are attributed to aviation industries and it is disturbing that the Climate Change Bill has conveniently decided not to include aviation emissions. This group is therefore advocating for the inclusion of aviation emissions in the Climate Change Bill, a move that is being supported by key figures like the Environmental Audit Committee, scientist, campaigners and a section of members of parliament.
Natural England is another stakeholder that is voicing its concerns on the ills of developing the Lydd Airport according to Brede Community (2010, pp. 1-11). This body had advised against the expansion of this airport but the Shepway DC went ahead to endorse it. It is therefore challenging this decision with the intention of revoking it citing the various harms that will come with this project.
This body works closely with planning and developing authorities on where new developments would be best established. They ensure that these locations are not potentially harmful and that the project to be developed does not pose any direct or indirect threat to the inhabitants.
This body also ensures that the project is helpful to the people and that its benefits are sustainable. They also look into environmental issues whereby they advice against the initiating the project if it has the potential of polluting the environment.
In this case, the expansion of the Lydd Airport poses a great danger to nature in the sense that it will harm the site which is regarded highly due t o its many attractions. This site has been declared a conservation site and is applauded both nationally and internationally by the many visitors who frequent it.
The reasons why Natural England is against this expansion are that the developer has not satisfied the board that he will ensure that the project poses no danger to the environment. The developer has also not put down clear measures on the protection of birds in this area. He has also not met the required air quality requirements and it is a fact that the pollution brought about by the airplanes will affect the habitat as well as the ecosystem (Brede Community, 2010, pp. 1-11).
The role of different stakeholders and the policy and planning issues associated with the development of Lydd airport take prominence in this paper.
According to the research, there are various issues that have been brought about by the various stakeholders involved in the potential development of the Lydd Airport. There are both positive and negative benefits that are highlighted by the stakeholders and the negatives seem to take prominence. The various environmental bodies highlighted in this paper are discouraging the expansion of this airport.
They have presented strong cases which mostly lie in environment related issues. The aviation industry is among the highest carbon emitting industries and this expansion will lead to climate issues. The whole world is at the moment engaged in a fight against air pollution through carbon emissions which lead to global warming. The Lydd management is not seen to have the right measures in place on how to deal with this sensitive issue.
In addition, the Lydd Airport is in a neighbourhood that acts as a habitat to unique flora and fauna that attracts both local and international tourists. The noise and air pollution that will emanate from this project will lead to their decline.
Some of the benefits associated with this expansion include creation of employment opportunities, opening up scopes for investors, as well as developing this part of the United Kingdom. With the bad outweighing the good, the mood is heavy with anticipation on whether the expansion will kick off. It is only time that will tell if the interested parties weigh the merits against the demerits and reach a sound decision.
Aslet, C., 2010. Romney Marsh and keeping the Lydd on aviation pressures. The Telegraph, 8 July. P. 4.
Brede Community. (2010). Lydd Airport Decision: Natural England writes to GOSE. Brede Parish Council. Web.
Fact File. (2010). Lydd Airport: What are we fighting for? The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. Web.
Full News Archive. (2010). Keep the Marsh special Alliance. Carbon emissions higher than government admits. Web.
KMSA. (2008). A challenge to Gordon Brown on Airport Expansions. No expansion Group. Web.
LAA News. (2010). Stakeholders views on the development of the Lydd Airport. Web.
London Ashford Airport. (2010). Stakeholder consultation strategy. London Ashford Airport. Web.
LYDD. (2010). Expansion at Lydd Airport. London Ashford airport. Web.
Richard, A. (2010). Craven council approves expansion of Lydd Airport. Bringing the aviation industry back down to earth. Web.
Sshafi, B. (2009). Shepway’s top cop welcomes benefits of airport expansion plans. Lydd Airport Expansion. Web.