Thursday, July 15, 2010

Manston Airport is it an issue

Is there any real problem with Manston, I'll point out at the beginning, that Manston Airport has never caused me a moments thought as to the environment although from time to time, concerns are manufactured by those middle aged articulate types seeking a cause, to give a direction to their middle aged angst, bit like me and my blog.

In the old email in tray comes a reminder of hysteria generated by "activists" or Thanet busy bodies (a description which could apply to myself), as part of the proper monitoring function of Thanet council, a regular meeting of Airport Working Party, will take place on Monday 19th. Details here The key part of this meeting I guess will be a verbal report given by either Brian White (dir.of Regeneration) or Doug Brown (Major Developments Manager) or even both, presumably the reason the report will be verbal is so that it cannot prejudged by the likes of me and Thanet's luddite tendency.

I refer to hysteria so lets put a bit of reasoning behind that here's the text of the email I referred to earlier

Even if you don't live on the flight path, the expansion of the airport could affect you because
1. Any subsidies given to Infratil, to bring the company to Thanet, will not be available for other things you’d like TDC and KCC to pay for [Who’s paying for the new access road currently being built for the airport?]
2. Airport expansion means loss of land for food growing
3. Traffic on roads and trains would increase – people getting to and from the airport

Lets address these concerns for the hard of thinking, and those of delicate nature,    Point 1. What subsidies, What access road?    Point 2 What loss of land for food growing any proposed development is on land within the current boundaries, which as far as I can tell haven't produced so much as a sausage in the last 70 years,    Point 3, Traffic will increase on roads and trains, yes traffic would increase on the M2 eastbound in the morning when most traffic is London westbound, offering much convenience for air travellers hacking through the M25 to Gatwick/Heathrow or bunging up the Blackwall Tunnel/ Dartford crossing heading for Docklands/Stansted.

Its interesting that some of the most vociferous opponents have never bothered to actually attend meetings of the airport, or concern themselves with the facts, even less the employment and business opportunities that might come as a result of a thriving local airport, still its not surprising that those most vocal are often recent arrivals.

I tend to keep away from this subject because of the campaign of vilification by some Manston opponents, one more extreme eccentric anonymous protagonist has in the past, resorted to posting or allowing comments on their own website apparently purporting to come from me, refusing to remove them and then having been a victim of defamation this blogger astonishing complains that I have played lip service to freedom of speech having campaigned against the KCC and its big businesses partners.

Anyway moving on from petty rivalries,  just ask yourself why assisting Manston Airport in its business objectives has been one of the few areas of agreement in Thanet Council, because it offers a sustainable future.

On the environmental issues, most of the land surrounding Manston will remain untouched for the foreseeable future even with further development and I'd imagine the effect on our locality will be much less than that of say the Thanet Earth complex, which recently relying on 12 road tankers a day to provide water for its operation, and as I understand is only half built.

Politicians don't know everything but its my view that cross-party consensus exist on Manston and much of the anti-Manston attitude is imported from prosperous exiles who have moved to this area to take advantage of cheap property prices, which are achieved by having few decent work opportunities locally.


  1. "...because it offers a sustainable future."

    another dimwit in cloud cuckoo land... it is a global economic crash 'old bean' what ever age you happen to be.

  2. First used during the 1915/16 winter so 95 years existence looks fairly sustainable a few wars recessions its still there.

  3. Hi Tony

    Here were my comments on that same email.....

    1) I am not aware of any formal subsidy to Infratil. The East Kent Access Road, stage 3, is about far more than the airport, it was indeed promised to Pfizer when they first came here many years ago!!!

    2) Any building of any sort means loss of food for land growing in a sense……indeed your own support for larger flat sizes in Cliftonville could be argued to inevitably mean more lost green land, food growing land!

    3) Traffic is growing exponentially anyway – but generally more traffic is about economic activity. Have you ever watched all the traffic pouring onto the island in the mornings as well as going? I can solve the traffic problems of the UK tomorrow; one car per household only. I would of course never get elected again because one person’s traffic problem is another’s personal freedom.

    So, I find the arguments here a little spurious and disingenuous; and the links one sided in the extreme. What about the jobs an airport shift system would bring? What about the better public transport links that would follow? On the other hand we could return to horse and cart, with the odd bicycle for comfort don’t you think?

  4. anon what has scaremongering to with global economic crash

    who is the dimwit

  5. Tony Chris, living in the middle of Ramsgate the breakdown of normal social standards in our town centres and the associated noise is a far greater problem to me than aircraft noise, however Manston and its associated noise is a problem that extends back a long time.

    Over 50 years ago when the Americans were using Manston they decided that the noise in Ramsgate was so bad that it was a place only suitable for black Americans and tried to impose a colour bar in Margate where the American officers lived because of the noise in Ramsgate.

    You may find this newspaper article from 1958 about it interesting

    My concerns about Manston and especially the aircraft activity there relate to safety issues that occur to me because I have an engineering background, two aspects concern me, one is operating training flights over Ramsgate or for that matter any other town – there is no doubt that sometimes during these flights planes fly much lower that intended – and it is my contention that training flights should be carried out over non residential areas, the other is the water issue.

    I looked into this some time ago and put some of the documents pertaining to this issue online, I could add to them if you want, as I have quite a few more, during the time I was looking into this the China Gateway proposals also came up and due to the way the under ground water supply works both these and the effects of Thanet Earth have to be considered with plans for the airport.

    Anyway have a look at the documents that I have published at and see what you think.

    I am afraid Tony that from an engineering point of view your photograph at the top of the post shows poor maintenance, vegetation where hard standing runoff needs to be carefully controlled, symptomatic of lax safety standards when it comes to our water supply.

    Forget for a moment the problems associated with the damage that could be caused to our drinking water supply by an air accident at Manston and consider the problems associated with development of this area, where we need the rainwater to soak into the ground, so we can maintain an adequate water supply in Thanet.

    At the moment there are plans to expand Thanet Earth, Plans for China Gateway, more development on the business park and the desire to expand the airport, truth is that it can’t all be done and maintain a water supply. Obviously I can substantiate this if you want with documentation from local MPs the EA and so on, but what I am saying here is this isn’t so much about airport expansion but about choosing how we use which of our resources to provide the best results in terms both of local employment and the local environment.

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  7. The airport is bad for the local area. It will create very few jobs because the airpot doesn't have a sufficient catchment area and it will put off investment from a new monied new breed. That is the only argument.

  8. I still wonder about two laughable Kent Police exercises.

    One tried to simulate the emergency response for an airliner crashing outside Ramsgate swimming pool. (In the midst of which police resources were stretched as a simulated rabid dog broke loose at Ramsgate Harbour)

    And the other was a simulation of Kent Police response to a hijacked airliner when and if the suitably non-busy Manston can be made the relocation relocation relocation landing site of preference for hijackings.

    Pictures of the latter exercise gave rise to a caption contest in Thanet. Police firearms officers were pictured laying the wrong side of cover, with bipod mounted weapons that on max elevation would have fired into the ground about ten feet in front of them, with working parts of weapons aligned with the outlet of a drainpipe (oh if only it had been raining)

    I suspect that those in Whitehall, charged with the duty to appraise such publicly funded exercises, thought it best to despatch Thanet's then police chief to the colonies. And to hope someone from the colonies might invest in Manston ?

    And some wag in the Aussie police posted on the station noticeboard "We know who to call if a rabid dingo jumps in the pool at a barbie"

    On return from the colonies the said EX Thanet Police Chief had to write a report for his now EX Chief constable guru. What we can learn from Aussie policing. He wrote they have a front desk at their police stations manned by a police officer and open to the public 24 hours per day.


  9. One minor flaw in your sustaiablity theory is that the airport has been in existence for 95 years and apart from military use it has been unable to attract, operators, investors and customers. Even Infratil bought the airport from bankruptcy and their success has been very limited.

    Sustainability for Manston is about recognising that it's a second class player in the airport stakes and can only be sustained on a limited scale, within a more broad based strategy for Thanet's future