Airport in extension bid - because it is too small for government-prescribed scanners

Norwich Airport needs to build an extension because it is too small for new government-prescribed sc

Norwich Airport needs to build an extension because it is too small for new government-prescribed scanners . Pic: Archant - Credit: Archant

Norwich Airport has been forced into seeking an expansion because it is too small for new equipment the government has ordered it to use.

The Department for Transport recently unveiled plans for all airports in the country to be equipped with new 3D cabin baggage screening equipment, designed to make it quicker and easier for people to get through security.

The scanners are designed to speed along the boarding process and could see the end of passengers having to take liquids and electronic devices out of hand luggage before going through.

The government has ordered all airports to have the new technology in place by December 1, 2022, at the very latest, but wants the majority to have them by December 1, 2020.

However, as it stands the baggage handling area of Norwich Airport, which recently served the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, is not large enough to accommodate the equipment, forcing bosses to seek to expand.

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As a result, an application has been submitted to Norwich City Council to build an extension on the existing terminal building.

Papers submitted with the application say: "The proposed development is necessary to provide sufficient space for the new equipment and is a simple extension to the existing baggage handling facility."

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However, while the DfT has only recently publicised the requirements, an airport spokesman said the need had not been sprung upon it.

The spokesman said: "The requirement is to have the new equipment installed by April 1, 2020.

"This is a planning project and the requirement has been known since December 2016 and the civil works were always planned to be completed by January 2020 and the machine installed by the end of March 2020."

If approved, the extension would be built onto the southern area of the airport, at its terminal, and would measure just short of 55m/sq.

It comes as the airport is preparing for a major £7m investment from KLM UK Engineering, which will see a new hangar built to expand maintenance work on the site.

Norwich City Council, which along with Norfolk County Council recently agreed to sell its shares in the airport to its owners, will decide the application in due course.

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