Saturday, 25 February 2012
Kent International Airport Manston Night Flights Consultation
The anti night flights lobby has taken to the road in a classic bus, when I went out for my lunchtime walk today it was parked up at Ramsgate Harbour and there were lots of local people discussing night flights, aircraft noise and writing responses to the open consultation being carried out by Thanet District Council.
Regardless of your feelings about night flights I would recommend having your say on this issue, when it comes local consultation this is an important one and like it or not local government is moving slowly towards using local consultations to make decisions.
The internet really does theoretically make it possible to do without politicians and ask everyone who wants to, to make the decisions instead.
If you want to take part in this consultation you have until Friday to do this online click on the link http://www.thanet.gov.uk/council__democracy/consultation/night-time_flying_policy.aspx for the council’s webpages about the consultation.
The council haven’t made this an easy one, you can’t just enter your name and postcode and tick, yes I want night flights of no I don’t want night flights. What you have to do is send them an email or write to them.
Responses must contain your full name and address (WITH YOUR POSTCODE) either email your response to firstname.lastname@example.org or post it to:
Thanet District Council,
PO Box 9,
The airport’s main argument for night flights is that they will help with the economic regeneration of Thanet, their latest documentation is here http://www.manstonairport.com/userfiles/files/Night-flight-policy/Plane-Speaking-newsletter-after-event-LR.pdf
They also seem to running their own night flights consultation and you can of course email your responses to email@example.com
According to their latest document you can: “take a moment to let us and Thanet District Council know your thoughts on our proposed night-time flying
policy and the future of Manston Airport.”
Then it says: “Your comments may also be forwarded to Thanet District Council.”
I have to admit that my taking an even handed approach to this issue is wearing a bit thin, I had assumed that the airport was taking this issue seriously and maintaining a professional approach to the issue, but this sort of nonsense is not helpful.
I have heard now from three independent sources that the airport operators are in the process of trying to sell the airport to a Middle Eastern operator. I have also heard that Flybee pulled out of the airport because the operator wasn’t to prepared to invest in their facilities there.
I am of course treating this as rumour at the moment, but I think this is a different consultation viewed with a background of an operator minimising investment and trying to sell the airport, than it would be with an operator with a long term commitment to the airport.
I have given this consultation a considerable amount of thought and concluded that I can’t make an informed response without some experience of the disruption that the night flights the want would make.
Frankly with out a period of actual night flights being made over Ramsgate by the loudest planes they are asking for flying the maximum number of flights at the most disruptive of hours, I just don’t know if I would get enough sleep to function properly.
I have suggested before that one way out to this problem, that would actually link the level of disruption to the actual economic benefits, would be to allow the airport the same proportion of night flights to day flights as that enjoyed by Heathrow and Gatwick airports.
Something that concerns me is that there is always money to be made out of the increasingly strict environmental controls being imposed across the world and that any commercial operation that has lesser environmental controls than its competition is able to exploit this situation at a profit, to the detriment of the area the operate in.
I will continue with this as I get time.