Letter to The Looker on Lydd Airport:
I am always concerned to see support for the expansion of Lydd Airport, expressed in various media. Kent Green Party takes the view that Lydd, and Manston, should be used for all-weather leisure developments to increase the quality and variety of domestic tourism opportunities in East Kent. This approach is more realistic than airport expansion, especially since regional airports have been doing badly in the recession. Even when we come out of recession, rising oil prices, as the supply of oil can no longer keep pace with demand, will inevitably lead to a rising cost of air travel.
Also we must not forget that the 6% growth a year in aviation emissions in Europe is adding to our greenhouse gas emissions which are changing our climate. This increase must cease if we are to have a chance of halting this catastrophic change. To play our part in combating climate change we need switching from air to rail wherever possible. The Government is fully justified in raising Air Passenger Duty to decrease the propensity to fly, to cut greenhouse gas emissions and to reduce the import of oil. As people may already know, our North Sea Oil peaked back in 1999 and we are steadily importing more oil to the detriment of our balance of payments.
Leisure centre development at Lydd, and increased rail travel to the continent, are both good for sustainable, long-term employment in East Kent. Expanding an airport which lacks a rail station and is very far from any large city is a strategy for failure.