THE environment is being overlooked in the rush to expand airport services, a campaigner claims.
A new £1 million terminal is due to be opened at Chester Hawarden Airport next to the Airbus factory in Broughton this summer.
Proposals include a North-South Wales route and there are claims the service could generate more investment in the area.
Colin Hughes, who lives in nearby Penyffordd said: “Everybody’s just asleep.”
Mr Hughes, who edits the Penyffordd District blog which addresses local issues, said he fears the planned changes will be the first of many.
“It’s just the thin end of the wedge,” he said. “There’s only one way it will go.
“We don’t want to become like Liverpool or Manchester. North Wales is reasonably peaceful. Hawarden needs to be kept as a small regional airport.
“I know there’s lots of commercial pressure but we don’t want a Ryanair or easyJet flying from Hawarden.”
He said the convenience of travelling abroad from closer to home was likely to encourage further expansion.
“I think a lot of people who live in this area would prefer to fly from Harwarden than have to travel to Liverpool.
“And I know there’s a lot of pressure to expand regional airports. Planning needs to be controlled,” he said.
He added house prices would be affected if there was a big increase in flights from the airport.
“It will be a nightmare,” he said. “Who wants to live at the bottom of a runway?"
Mr Hughes said he understood the changes would bring jobs but felt other considerations were being ignored.
“When do you stop? Do you stop when you’ve concreted over the last green space? They’re gobbling it up.”
With a new business park between Broughton and Penyffordd having recently been given planning permission, Mr Hughes said the area was in danger of becoming over-industrialised.
“We’re becoming one big urban sprawl from Broughton to Mold,” he said. “There needs to be a balance between considerations of employment and environment.”
Caroline Craft, director of Chester Hawarden Airport, said there was no proposal for a north-south link.
“We have explored this route,” she said, “but no firm plans have been made.”
She said the terminal building was built and no further expansion was due to take place.
“We have not been in talks with easyJet or Ryanair as our terminal is not adequate for their needs. We are looking at 20 to 30-seater aircrafts only.
“The terminal is to add to our existing business, which has been running since the early 1990s.”
Penyffordd councillor Colin Bithell said an expanded airport would help industry and open up the area.
“We have one of the biggest aircraft manufacturers here and we need to support them,” he said. “And it’s not as if it’s something we’re not used to. We’ve had an airport here since the war.”
Flintshire councillor for Broughton South, Derek Butler, said he was unaware of any public concerns.
“We don’t have issues here at Broughton,” he said. “We have made some representations in the past about noise and so on but that’s all.”