The government has given approval for a £25 million project that will see the expansion of Lydd Airport in Kent.

Plans for the the facility, also known as London Ashford Airport, were given the go-ahead by ministers. It will see the airport being able to boost its capacity to accommodate around 500,000 passengers a year.

The £25 million will go towards the creation of a new terminal building and the extension of the runway by 300 metres. Managers at the airport believe that the move would help to take the strain off the national airport system. The London area already is highly populated with facilities with Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted and London City handling millions of passengers every year.

There have been objections to these plans with opponents claiming the expansion had not taken into account the near vicinity to the Dungeness nuclear plant. Keith Taylor, the Green Party's MEP for south-east England, claimed that the public inquiry highlighted the increase in pollution for both local residents and important wildlife. He stated that the government's decision to give the green light was "hugely disappointing".

However, Hani Mutlaq, the executive manager of Lydd Airport, refuted these claims highlighting the benefits that the facility would bring to the area in terms of employment and outside investment.

Speaking to ITV News, he said: "All these issues have been discussed in detail within the planning application, with expert professional advisers, and I'm sure when the government made the decision it was based on very, very watertight arguments."

At the moment, the only two destinations that Lydd charters flights to is Ostend in Belgium and Le Touquet in France as well as number of other pleasure flights. However, once the expansion is complete the airport will be able to accommodate Boeing 737, Airbus 319 and Airbus 320 jets as well as creating over 200 jobs in the process.

Officials explained that the airport would be able alleviate the strain on London Gatwick, which sees around 35 million passengers use the facility every year.

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