Thursday, 8 January 2009

Stop Manston Expansion Group

A new Thanet blog already becoming affectionately known as SMEG has appeared, I have just added it to the recent posts on other blogs on the sidebar.

From my point of view the whole Manston Airport expansion business equates to driving up the motorway in car with a wheel about to fall off while the occupants argue about the car’s exhaust emissions.

Manston Airport is based around a wartime runway built on top of Thanet’s drinking water aquifer, something no sane person would consider for a peacetime commercial airport, at the moment there is a rather Heath Robinson procedure in place for dealing with a fuel spillage caused by an air accident on the grass part of the airfield. They have a digger standing by the idea being to dig out the contaminated soil and dump it on the runway before the aquifer is permanently damaged, this just wouldn’t work for a fuel spillage from the larger planes envisaged in the airport expansion plans.

At the moment East Kent has a serious water shortage problem and here in Thanet all of our agriculture including Thanet Earth is reliant on the aquifer, it just isn’t something we can afford to take risks with.

No I am not particularly keen on the idea of increased aircraft noise over Ramsgate, or all of the restrictions on other activities that there would have to be to make the airport safe.

Aspects of the airport expansions plan are just plain crazy, like the access road running through the factory buildings of the proposed China Gateway development.
Historically the main problem to the viability of Thanet becoming a transport hub has always been that it is at a geographical disadvantage compared to other places, by that I mean our catchment area is only to the west, hence a long list of failures and bankruptcies of travel operators here.


  1. Micheal, what are your pans for Manston?

  2. RVM I think primarily we need to get the experts together Southern Water, Environment Agency, TDCs contaminated land officer etc so they can’t pass the buck and get them to come up with a realistic plan to protect the aquifer, stating clearly what activities can and can’t occur on it.

    As far as I can see CGP the company behind China Gateway have got themselves into a fix over the aquifer already, the surface water runoff conditions imposed by Southern Water, The Environment Agency and the airport operator appear to be impossible to fulfil. This company wanted to invest in Thanet but didn’t properly take into account the problems associated with operating on top of the aquifer, I would say the fact that their shares have fallen from £2.20 to 15p is indicative of what happens when one ignores serious environmental restrictions.

    We need jobs and investment in Thanet but this has to be in a framework that is reasonably safe and sustainable, for the council to allocate sites for purposes that are unsuitable and unsafe doesn’t help our credibility and ultimately perpetuates our problems of unemployment and deprivation.

  3. Lets have an international airport, and use the proceeds to move the 'moaning minnies' to somewhere like iceland where no one can hear their noise pollution, that really spoils the envoirenment

  4. Expansion of Manston would devastate Thanet, particularly Ramsgate,which is a charming town and ought to have a great future as a place to live. The jobs created for local people at the airport would be very low grade, while those taking them would be condemned to live miserable lives beneath a fligth path. I agree about the water.

    By the way, what do people think of the public consultation? I wasn't aware it was happening till it was over. The KIA website still says meetings will be advertised on it (because it hasn't been updated since before the 'consultation' started) but they weren't.

    Does anyone know how to get hold of SMEG? I can't seem to find them through Google. Thanks.

  5. I was very interested to learn of SMEG & want to add a few comments & coincidentally have just read the "conundrum CGP" blog.
    It seems to me that if TDC want to expand industrial development in Thanet then they should look no further than acquiring Manston airport iteslf. It is already a brownfield site ( no ripping up more of our countryside) & it would be considerably more cost effective too. They could retain part of the runway for light aircraft use, making a profit immediately. We all know how little Infatril paid for it & that they haven't a cat in hells chance of making it a viable operation.NB I happen to know that the CEO of Infatril privately admitted that they have no hope at all of expanding passenger traffic & that all they can aim for is freight--we all know what that means for us--old, crumbling, noisy, loaded to the gunnels with God knows what.
    So, you may well ask what the hell was their massive master plan document all about? I'll tell you--the circle is formed by TDC as a body, various individuals in it for themselves, MP's , CGP & Infatril, all trying to sell themselves, & us, to the Chinese. The Chinese economy is suffering-Infatril is propped up by massive far east money which strangely enough is also running short--they are all desperate, clutching at straws in the vein hope that they will survive.
    Incidentally, a friend of mine flies into Manston occasionally in 747's. Two of his comments for your interest. 1) the runway is long enough but certainly not wide enough & 2) touch & go training is highly dangerous due to the proximity of Ramsgate urban area!!
    I hope the above will generate further support for SMEG

  6. What a load of rubbish I'm reading. As much as I love Ramsgate it is definately not a charming town. It's as much in need of regeneration as all the other towns in the vicinity, the runway IS wide enough, the aquifer IS safe and the jobs created will be no less important than the plethora of low grade jobs Thanet has to offer now. If you want to live in a quiet rural area, move to a quiet rural area and stop interfering with everybody elses lives.I for one among thousands will embrace the development. And yes, it IS viable as a passenger airport. That has already been proven. SMEG indeed!

  7. A letter to the Guardian yesterday from the Leaders of KCC and Medway stated that a new airport is not appropriate for Medway, but they'd like to see 6 million passengers coming through Manston per year! Thanet are desperate, the regeneration was looking shaky and fragile enough before the credit crunch... but this isn't the answer.

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  9. right im a 16 yera old boy who is flying from manston learning how to fly ,
    I cant belive you are not able to the importances of allowing the expastion of manston to go ahead , it will bring in a hell of a lot of job chances, i have applyed my self for a job to work at the airport and you are stopping people who life in the thanet area getting a job as its hard gettign a job in this day an age the airport is a huge importants to gatwict as aircraft where sent to manston as they couldnt land at gatwick due to ice condstions , its more liky that a car could ram into u local village in masont then a plane crashing as planes are disigned to glide down on engine fauiler. If you new any thing about avastion and how safe it is you would call this stupid web site off coz its not helping the ecnomic problem and people without jobs. it would bring so much money into the area . for god sake man we should be supporting local initiatives rather than trying to add to the increasing job losses and industry closures if u didnt notice the built up areas and where tourist come margate town is a dieing town because torruist havnt be able to come and manston would allow torruis to come and hopfully give margate sea front a little bost.
    Just think about the money side which is a lot more important then aircraft causing a little bit of noise now and again.
    but yes i understand that aircraft produces a lot of noise but it would make the area better might even get more people coming to watch the planes because people enjoy watching planes take biggin hill airport its a small little village and it attracks a lot has a airshow each year which brings in a lot of money and the locals all surport it why dont you do the same for attendance and the financial gains of it

  10. Brad I think the point you miss here is that I am not totally against expansion but there are aspects of what the environment agency says that rule out expansion on the scale that KIA want.
    This is mostly due to the fact that we have concreted over so much of the remaining relatively less polluted part of our dinking water supply that replenishment is becoming a problem.
    My other concern is that KIA have been bumping along for quite a while without implementing the various antipollution measures that they have been told to.


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