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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.