The proposal to expand a small Kent airport into a “regional hub”, which has just been approved by the government, has caused great concern for environmental campaigners.
LyddAirport in Romney Marsh has now been granted permission to expand its runway and to build a new terminal building, and about half a million more passengers could potentially be accommodated by this new development. However, although there is a prevailing optimism about the new airport, as it would certainly give the area a higher profile, there is growing anger that the local area – where there is an abundance of wildlife – will be endangered by the encroachment of a much bigger airport. For many species, the “Garden of England” is a natural refuge.
Green Party MEP, Keith Taylor, has commented on the new development, saying that there are “huge concerns about the impact these proposals would have in terms of the increase in pollution for local residents and the threat to important wildlife.”
This development has emerged amid worldwide concerns that the progression of low-carbon energy is not happening quickly enough to offset global warming. The International Energy Agency has reported that there has only been a 25% growth in non-fossil fuel generation, compared to 45% of fossil fuel generation.
New developments that would help offset the still-excessive CO2 emissions, such as carbon capture and storage, while still being developed and built, are simply not appearing fast enough to counteract the growing worldwide damage.
While countries such as the US are pioneering ways to generate environmentally friendly energy (such as shale gas technology), the majority of Europe is still, allegedly, falling far short of targets which need to be met to see a maximum rise in global temperature of 2 degrees celsius by the end of the century.
The new airport development at Romney Marsh will certainly be an economic asset for the region, and will create much-needed jobs, however it is important that it tries to remain environmentally responsible, so that it can help the region to uphold the reputation of being an ecological haven.