Wednesday, 11 March 2009

British airways have announced that they are not coming to Manston

Click here for the story

So British Airways are not coming but the expansion debate continues.

In all the debate about the airport the main argument from the people that support it’s expansion seems to be that as it was ok in the past so it’s ok now.

The real problem here is one of cumulative pollution and development, Thanet was once a small chalk island about 5 miles by 5 miles, and so it’s a small aquifer essential to our agricultural and domestic water supply.

So far 3 large water pollution incidents have been discovered, as an example at one site on the aquifer 500 tons of toxic solvent have been removed so far from the aquifer, yes 500 tons of solvent not contaminated land or water but neat solvent.

This and the other pollution incidents that have occurred over the years mean that a lot of the aquifer is now useless, permanently damaged and boreholes have had to be closed.

We are now down to it being only the boreholes near the airport that supply relatively clean water, one big fuel spillage from a plane crash in this part of the garden of England and it’s no more agriculture and much higher water bills.

We also have another big problem that is replenishment and the cumulative effect of expansion covering more of the aquifer

Take for example Thanet Earth, not only will the rain falling on the huge area of greenhouses not be soaking into the ground and replenishing the water supply, but they will also be pumping water out of the ground.

There is also China Gateway to consider with all of its problems, relating both to the high risk of pollution from such a large industrial development and once again a large area of the aquifer where the rain won’t be able to get in and replenish it.

I think really the argument is really moving away from how much of Thanet we can concrete over before it becomes a very unpleasant place to live and how much we can concrete over and still have enough water.

If this were some futuristic story about an area slowly destroying its own water supply we would read it sagely knowing that it couldn’t happen here in England. The problem though is that it really is happening here in Thanet now.


  1. Quelle surprise !

    On the subject of Thanet water supply and the faith people put into regulatory control of its standard.

    If there were effective control then someone would be able to answer how much cyclohexanone was leaked to aquifer.

    It is not rocket science. Sericol records must exist to show how much was delivered to site from the 1960s to the 1993 discovery of the underground pipe leak.

    Sericol records must show how much there production requirements used after the overground pipe was installed in the mid 90s. It is then a simple extrapolation to derive how much was abasorbed by thirty years of production and how much was absorbed into Thanet water supply.

    If the monitoring of water quality were effective then is it not reasonable to expect that the cyclohexanone leak would have been discovered in the water abstracted up to 93 at Rumfields ?

    As you know I am trying to find out more about consultant led research at Margate Hospital in the 60s/70s into a condition which we now suspect may be, in part or whole, attributable to absorption of cyclohexanone.

    You can bet that British Airways have done their research including studying your blog Michael.

    The environmental and water quality issue is now rightfully on the agenda and no longer shouted down by the naieve cry of "Jobs".

    "Gi us a national min wage job put what you like in me water guv" is not on any more.

    Power to you Michael.

  2. I bet the Councillors are feeling right mugs. Infratil rang their little bell and the Councillors all leapt up slavering; jobs, jobs, jobs. Having done what they were told to do they have to sit rounbd for weeks before BA tells them (via a newspaper) that they won't be coming after all. How humiliating for the Councillors who told us how this was essential for the area. Presumably, they now believe that the area is doomed? It certainly will be unless we get some new Councillors with more respect for their constituents and more idea of what's good for the area.

  3. @anon 17:29

    I sort of agree but not quite so vehemently. I think many councillors genuinely believed they were doing the right thing (not all mind) but I do hope they've learned a lesson and will listen next time.

    Then again, I bet they say they did all they could to make it happen, and to a certain extent they're right.

    Either way, they've been given some breathing space and they can use it wisely to install air and noise monitoring procedures (oh, and equipment) and to plan our water supply for the foreseeable.

  4. Are Sericol still operating to the same level of knowledge and standards as back in the 1960's? Of course not.

    Are the various authorities still operating with the same level of knowledge and standards as they were in the 1960's? Of course not.

    Let's move into the 21st century and encourage development to 21st century standards. That way pollution should reduce, jobs will be created and we all win.

    To do nothing without retrospective legislation will not change current bad practices and poor infrastructure. And it certainly won't help employment.

  5. Jean, the council are as arrogant as the airport operators. they will not admit this is a catastrophic failure of their joint business plan. They will not look at the monitoring all the time Mike Harrison, currently telling the blogoshpere how many planes are landing at Manston next week, is on the airport scrutiny panel.

  6. Stop Manston Expansion Group - you accuse the council of arrogance!! How are you qualified to make that judgement? What are your qualifications in Environmental Studies, Planning, Business Studies, etc.

    Just because the council's democratic process does not come out on your side it does not mean they are arrogant. It does however detract from your argument.

    There are many people in Thanet who are in favour of the airport expansion, but they don't feel threatened enough to make unsubstantiated accusations. As part of the democratic process these people's opinions must also be taken into account.

    Sometimes I think this blog is just somewhere for the anti everything brigade to blow their own trumpets.

  7. Anonymous 22.55

    You and people like you are part of the problem.

    It's 'experts' of the type you mention that have created a situation where the residents of Ramsgate are treated like fools by the very people who are supposedly there to serve us.

    It's probably inconvenient for you that Thanet and it's council are under scrutiny as never before. Intelligent locals who don't buy into your type of failed thinking and us DFL's who really will not kow-tow to the vested interests that have had their noses at the trough for so long.

    Oh, and in case you're wondering, I'm a now ex-Tory 40-something who's not 'anti-everything'. The Tories will find out just how many of us there are come election time.

    I'm just against people who were prepared to sell the residents of Ramsgate down the river. Do you really think the special meeting a few weeks ago was Democracy in action? The council have lost out both ways now. Firstly they did Infratils bidding for them and now they're in a position of having to face the residents and look like fools with BAWC's announcement.

    You see, it didn't take an expert to tell you what was going on and what the outcome was likely to be.

    Now let's just check by how few votes those seats were won last time around.....

  8. Re Sericol

    (1) It matters not what level Sericol operate at. The production requirements for Cyclohexanone can be calculated by proportion.

    (2) The argument that there were different standards applicable, when Sericol contaminated aquifer is simply wrong. The fact is that an underground pipe was not fit for purpose at any time or toany standard. It remained undetected for thirty years.

    (3) The Environment Agency has stated that the Sericol contamination will be a threat to aquifer for many years to come.

    (4) Sericol have still not responded. Did they hold internal inquiry in 1998 into staff with allegedly forged qualifications. Whilst already instructing staff not to reveal to public the extent of the contamination problem did Sericol decide not to pursue the Theft Acts offence of obtaining employ by deception but to conceal that matter as well ? Was this the reason tory Cllr George Maison was given severance in 1998. Weeks before he faced Mrs Mortlock's libel action in which he would have presented to the Court, unless laid off, as Sericol Chief Site Safety Engineer ? And what were the circumstances in which Maison's statements of fact to High Court was allegedly not amended ? Did Cllr Bill Hayton perjure in the High Court on Cllr Maison's behalf ? And how much did Cllr Hayton know about the extent of the Sericol contamination ? Did Hayton Chair of Planning, with a duty to the public and to the protection of water quality, decide to keep schtum ?

    (5) Thanet needs to know the amount of cyclohexanone that was absorbed into aquifer for the period there was nearby water abstraction (circa 30 years) and Thanet needs an epidemiological study. Has Thanet got aberrant levels of certain disorders. Endemetriosis, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, Ectopic pregnancy, Candida.

    (6) The argument, that suggests only experts can ask questions, is spurious. Ordinary people should voice concerns and it is for experts to answer them. In my view Sericol should calculate the quantity lost to aquifer, come clean re Cllr George Maison and fund some independent epidemiological research in Thanet. Thanet needs to know the effects and the duration of effects which may be yet passed generation to generation we don't know. Not knowing is not reasonable.

  9. Oh yes and what were the circumstances in which, whilst Mrs Mortlock had allegedly raised inquiry into Thanet Freemasonry by United Grand Lodge of England, Police refused to record Mrs M's complaints of perjury (against the Maison the former Special constable and Hayton the member of the Police Authority)

    Oddly enough in 1996 Thanet CID had refused an HM Coroner request to re-investigate the Georgina Maison suicide case of 1978. At the inquest then HM Coroner Jack Rice had exposed George Maison as a liar under cross examination.

    In 1997 Kent Police Authority called for inquiry and report on a range of matters pertaining to Mr Maison. Kent Police refused to comply with their own Police Authority call for inquiry.

    Beware of those who seek to mitigate the Sericol aquifer contamination situation. There is a domino effect waiting if ever proper investigation is raised.

  10. West Cliff GB - More hot air but still no corroborating evidence for your statements.

    And you've told me nothing about what's going on. All you've done is had a another unsubstantiated rant.

    When you say "You and people like you are part of the problem" I assume you mean the vast majority of people in Thanet. A very bold statement, particularly as you appear to be knocking the democracy that allows you to sound off like you have.

    Also, it appears from your comments that you know an awful lot about my thought process. In fact I wasn't taking any particular stance on any issued, I was just pointing out that there are two sides to every argument.

    As for your comment about the special meeting and democracy, wasn't it our democratically elected councillors who made the decisions on behalf of the electorate. Isn't that how democracy works?

    Please don't get too upset just because others have their own points of view, it's bad for your health. Perhaps if you get down off your high horse and allow others to comment you may understand a little more. You certainly didn't understand my remarks.

  11. Good job rockyracoon, keep the pressure up, that's how democracy works.

    Personally, I'm not concerned with the blame issue. The main issue for me is why the contamination occurred. Was it as a result an accident or lack of knowledge. Whatever the outcome, all I want is for lessons to be learned and applied to the future.

    To have a future here we desperately need to move on, and we need to do it safely.

  12. Anonymous 9.32

    [When you say "You and people like you are part of the problem" I assume you mean the vast majority of people in Thanet. A very bold statement, particularly as you appear to be knocking the democracy that allows you to sound off like you have.

    Since when did I have to look to TDC as a guarantor of my democratic rights. I think you're getting a bit teeny confused.

    Who mentioned the 'vast majority of people in Thanet'?

    As for the 'special meeting', perhaps you could explain why even council members were furious about the way it was sprung on them?

    It was you who questioned the qualification of someone on this blog to comment was it not? Tell me, what exactly is your area of expertise?

    Me? Amongst other things, I floated a company on the AIM Market 9 years ago. Have you?

  13. The problem that we all have pro or anti, airport expansion, China Gateway and other development on the aquifer is that Southern Water and the Environment Agency both say the aquifer is essential.

    A great deal of public and private time and money is involved in these projects on the sensitive part of the aquifer and from us on the on the bloggs much concerned comment, both in the direction of supporting the local economy and in the direction of preserving our environment.

    The main point I am trying to make that until Southern Water and the Environment Agency tell us what level of expansion will be acceptable, both in terms of pollution risk and hard standing reducing replenishment of the aquifer, development of this part of Thanet is in a sort of limbo.

    There is most definitely a limit to the amount of concreting over we can do on the source protection zones before the water is insufficient and although we could probably pipe it in from other parts of the southeast, there are two problems the first being that most of the southeast faces problems fulfilling the existing demand for water and the other is that piped in water is much more expensive, in the case of agriculture prohibitively so.

  14. Westcliff GB . . .

    I'm not confused, and you don't have to look to TDC as guarantor of your democratic rights. Statutory instruments guarantee your rights. It just so happens that TDC are the local democratically elected body who are charged with implementing these rights, but they are also accountable.

    When you referd to people like me, I placed myself in with the vast majority of people who are still listening to the debate or don't have an opinion.

    As for the council meeting, perhaps some councilors didn't like the short notice, but the majority did vote for the motion, presumably in the best interests of their constituents.

    Qualifications help substantiate remarks the same as factual evidence. Democracy welcomes opinions, but too many opinions are put forward as fact. It's unwise co confuse opinion with fact, hence my original posting.

    And since you ask, I have not reached the dizzy heights of floating a company on the AIM Market, but I have run a successful business locally for over 20 years, without the backing of shareholders.

    I think our spat has become a little too personal. Michael's last posting has, in my humble opinion, hit just the right note.
    Regardless of where we stand on the airport expansion, we should all be pushing the various agencies to make informed judgement on what is and what isn't acceptable. Then informed decisions can be made by those democratically elected to do so.

    For heaven's sake, let's stop throwing around accusations and unsubstatiated facts. It only serves to misslead and crystalise opinion.

  15. I have provided Michael with a copy of a letter I sent today to Thanet Police Chief Supt Hogben.

    From today, starting with that letter, I want my correspondence to Kent Police to meet the standards required by High Court pre-action protocol.

    Michael has my utmost respect for the way he is fighting, and gaining the moral high ground too, concerning Thanet's environmental issues.

    My position is that there is a long history of condoning too many fools in Thanet. Unfortunately the fools did not pay the price of their folly. That was left to the innocent folk who drink Thanet water. That was left to 11 Royal Marines murdered at Deal in 1989. That was left to a child patient in post op ICU at Guys in 95 who died when Petbow equipment failed and cut power to life support. And so on.

    After the recent Cabinet security fiasco, involving James Shortt bogus ex SAS man whose con career started by being taken seriously as a Close Quarter Battle fee charging instructor at Deal Barracks, I have designated the start for my High Court purposes for examination of Thanet's history of folly.

    Issues are not separable. What started as folly in Thanet ended as treason. Matters are inextricably linked.

    For example a County Cllr member of the Police Authority phoned a Thanet man. The Thanet man has a distinguished military service and is better qualified than Kent Police in the matters of firearms and range safety. But he also has science qualifications and a concern about the aquifer. And he was a permanent staff instructor to TA at the time there were arrests in 1987 for paramilitary activity which included the arrest of TA soldier later tory Cllr Maison.

    Hence when our Thanet tory cllr, member of police authority, made a phone call suggesting that silence will oil the way to the Thanet man's political future, he is requesting silence about Sericol, forged qualifications, High Court perjury, aquifer contamination, paramilitary firing at a local gun range involving off duty police, Deal Barracks security, paramilitary arrests in TA and various Kent Police attempts to shut complainants and concerned citizens up. The cllr could not merely be seeking to dissuade evidence in one issue but he must have been attempting to dissuade evidence in every issue.

    Between Dr Moores blogging about the Thor Fire and Michael publishing the EA response, to FOI request revealing to Thanet the scale of the Sericol contamination, I obtained information about thefts of cyclohexanone from Sericol.

    This is a chemical used by back street drugs factories.

    It is also explosive on contact with acid.

    We, it seems to me, have a police force who have a long and multi facted interest in not investigating any strand that arises.

    Be it a chemical used to produce angel dust etc or be it a man who breached Cabinet security who has a history of secure access to Deal Marines Barracks. Kent Police want it all to go away so they do not end upone day answering to the Judge themselves.

    I will keep Michael posted with copies of the Pre Action Protocol correspondence as and when it develops.

    I have contacted two charities who may have statistics about the patterns of disease in Thanet that may be in part or whole attributable to contamination of the drinking water.

    With a chemical that has a developmental toxicant effect it is indeed a case of the "Sips" of the fathers will visit the sons (genetically).

    I want to take Kent Police on now. But I will not hold my breath waiting for them to comply with High Court pre action protocol. Rather I expect the silence they would deny to the more common criminal. I wait to see.

    But this matter is not being pursued any longer as merely sound and fury on the blogs.

  16. Powerful stuff rockyracoon. I hope you have the evidence!

  17. 17.17 I leave you to ponder why I haven’t deleted dear Rocky’s reply.

  18. Thank you anon 17 12

    I am in correspondence with Chief Supt Hogben and Chief constable Fuller. I have notified them that correspondence as of today is with High Court action in mind if it becomes necessary.

    I am setting out in simple stages as prior issues the facts which it is my expectation that Police would agree and accept. At each step inviting them to state whether they wish to dispute the position I set out.

    This would be a long process.

    It is my expectation that the Force Solicitor will advise them to be silent.

    Let us see if they elect silence ?

    Underpinning my approach is a fact that in 2006 I challenged the Chief constable by way of my High Court Statement of Truth and that he elected silence under challenge.

    Let's see how it goes.

    Bear in mind that Mike Fuller was front runner for the Met Commissioner job but did not get shortlisted ? Not shortlisted for the one police job for which appointment is finally made upon recommendation to Her Majesty the Queen. Perhaps no one wanted to be shortlisted for the role of making the recommendation to Her Majesty ?

    "Your Majesty I am afraid that this candidate is subject of an obligatory Common Law Information that he undermined the sole fount of justice in mercy an act of treason ma'am and he has not faced the challenge laid."

    "Oh dear who is the sole fount of justice in mercy by the way ?"

    "That would be you Ma'am"

    "Well he can't have the blessed job then can he !"

  19. Well first time I have posted on here. First time I have even seen the site to be honest. I must confess I have become somewhat disenchanted with the continuously outraged members of the community. The airport is ruining thanet, the new wind farms are ruining thanet, traffic is ruining thanet. Seemingly any new attempt to boost the local economy is ruining thanet.

    I sit with anonymous here, I am no expert but I assume that some o the decisions reached will be on the back of some research as opposed to councillors just having a jolly and agreeing to any old proposal that takes their fancy.

    I wonder if pfizer had a great deal of negative press before it started in sandwich. Certainly the redundancies and scaling down of process are having an impact.

    With half the high streets premises now empty and run down looking. The power station and much of the Margate sea front including the dreamland site, I do sometimes wonder if these new ventures would at least have a chance of bringing some much needed new money to the area

  20. 20.09 I will put an updated post up on the ground water considerations that relate to various developments later today.


Comments, since I started writing this blog in 2007 the way the internet works has changed a lot, comments and dialogue here were once viable in an open and anonymous sense. Now if you comment here I will only allow the comment if it seems to make sense and be related to what the post is about. I link the majority of my posts to the main local Facebook groups and to my Facebook account, “Michael Child” I guess the main Ramsgate Facebook group is We Love Ramsgate. For the most part the comments and dialogue related to the posts here goes on there. As for the rest of it, well this blog handles images better than Facebook, which is why I don’t post directly to my Facebook account, although if I take a lot of photos I am so lazy that I paste them directly from my camera card to my bookshop website and put a link on this blog.