THE High Courts controversial decision to allow the transformation of Biggin Hill Airport into a luxury terminus for business passengers is to be challenged by Bromley Council.

The council will appeal the November 21 judgement which was given after a bitter two-month legal battle.

The decision to appeal was taken at a packed meeting of the councils policy and resources committee, chaired by joint leader of the council Chris Maines.

He said: We are appealing because we feel the protection of the environment is paramount to local people.

We expect the process will take about nine months.

Flightpath has been one of the main concerns of residents opposed to the development.

Spokesman Hugh Bunce welcomed the councils decision. He said: We are very pleased Bromley Council is seeking leave to appeal against the judgement.

It is vital all those affected continue to fight to protect our environment and our quality of life which are at risk from the judgement.

He added: The introduction of scheduled services at Biggin Hill could have very significant environmental consequences along the flightpath areas in Bromley and Bexley where more than 200,000 people live.

Orpington MP John Horam also written to the Secretary of State for the Department of Environment, Transport and the Regions, John Prescott, urging him to let the council consider the effects of the development on the environment and green belt.

The chairman of Biggin Hill Airport, Andrew Walters, welcomed the courts ruling two weeks ago.

He said: The decision is important for the growth of Britains most famous airfield. We are anxious to work with the local community and our business partners to develop the airport.

A Biggin Hill Airport spokesman said: We prefer not to comment while the procedure is under the jurisdiction of the High Court.