Kent airport may end Heathrow night flights

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The Independent Online

Night flights to Heathrow could be ended with the creation of a new airport on mud flats by the Thames in Kent.

Proposals to build an airport at Cliffe in Kent, an area of marshland immortalised by Charles Dickens in Great Expectations are on Transport Secretary Stephen Byers' desk. Ministers are attracted to the scheme because the site could offer 24-hour operation.

But residents around Cliffe are not prepared to accept more noise to ease the sleep of Londoners.

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds is also opposed because of the impact on important reserves for birds attracted to the mud flats on the windswept estuary.