For me a major issue here is the way in which my representatives, in this case councillors function and although this may seem strange my feelings are that too many of them have had too much experience of being councillors.
One way or another with the huge amount of legislation, regulatory bodies and being heavily guided by council officers a situation has developed where councillors appear to be trained to conform with council officers wishes, rather than represent the electorate which is supposed to be their primary function.
For me then I find the only course of action open to me is to question the officers directly, for example having acquired the water quality tables my main concern is the private boreholes that may not be properly regulated. For instance this week I will ask what treatment if any is used for the water pumped out of the ground for irrigation at Thanet Earth.
This is not because I have any expert knowledge of water contamination but is based on the premise that if the public water supply needs to be purified and diluted to be safe for consumption, it probably needs to be purified and diluted for the intensive growing of cucumbers and tomatoes that are by their very nature er watery.
A couple of things that I am unhappy about is that all the pesticides are grouped together in one table and my rather dated scientific knowledge leads me to believe that DDT bonds with the fatty acids in plants, I also believe that mercury would accumulate in the growing process.
When I asked about water draining into the ground at Thanet Earth I was told that it wouldn’t so presumably the water must go round and round in the growing process until it evaporates leaving most of the chemicals behind.
One of the great problems with contamination of the aquifer is that many people who would be likely to contaminate the aquifer, engineers and lorry drivers for instance would be unaware of its existence.
To this end I have asked if the council would consider signposting in appropriate areas and I am told that they are considering it.
Another thing that interested me this week was the complaint that I made that didn’t appear on the councils list of complaints, the council officer I asked assumed that I had emailed it to someone randomly and they had forgotten to record it.
In fact I used the online complaints form the essence of the complaint was to try and get TDC to post the dvds, of council meetings that they already make, to Kent TV so they could be available online in a way that would cost the council virtually nothing.
I eventually got a response that a committee was to be set up to find a more expensive way of doing this and at that point I just gave up on the issue.
Trading in the real world in this recession is not easy and that sort of thing makes one annoyed.
Anyway this complaint should have registered automatically so either the council have a serious IT failure here or they are adjusting the figures for some reason or another.
In terms of official complaints and freedom of information requests I am very reluctant to use them as I assume they cost the council a lot to resolve, for instance I believe I have only ever made 3 complaints 2 of which relate to Pleasurama.
With Pleasurama I am going to pursue its problems much more vigorously to ensure that we don’t get another 5 years of deserted building site, 3 years of delay was caused by the council sitting on the survey of the cliff façade and not taking any action.
It was only when I discovered the existence of the survey that action was taken, it may have been coincidental but the timing suggested otherwise.
Now I have suggested the access road is dangerous see http://www.michaelsbookshop.com/tdc/id50.htm and the answers I got from the council suggest that this may be the case, I would imagine that this has instigated some sort of survey, but just don’t know, if it says the road can’t support busses I am determined that they don’t sit on it for 3 years this time.
This is important because if it can’t support busses for the expected life of the new development, it will either have to be made so it can and I would expect the expense of doing this would be tremendous, or it will have to be closed to heavy vehicles.
If it is to be closed to heavy vehicles then the new development will have to be completely redesigned which would mean that it would have to be environment agency compliant.
Another problem I find with the various government agencies is it is very difficult to get them to view big problems as a whole, with the water issue there is now no doubt in my mind that Thanet Earth, China Gateway and airport expansion can’t all be allowed to happen on the aquifer.
Certainly there doesn’t appear to be any way that China Gateway can expand beyond phase 1 as we just wont have enough water if it does and with phase 1 being built it would seem highly unlikely that any airport expansion that involves more hard standing can occur.
Now regardless of your views on other aspects of these developments they involve businesses that are prepared to invest in this area and without Southern Water, the environment agency and the council setting some definite guidelines as to the amount of development on the aquifer that can be allowed it is not possible for these businesses to function properly.
I would say that the tremendous fluctuations in Commercial Group Properties share price is partly symptomatic of there being no realistic understanding both of how much they can expand and how they are going to manage the drainage for phase 1.
The fact that there was consultation with the council before the drainage plans that the council would have known would be totally unacceptable were drawn up shows just how much time and money can be wasted by the councils unrealistic explanation of environmental constraints.
The question I would like to ask those of you who feel I shouldn’t be using the methods I use to get the council to act in a more decisive way over issues that effect our safety and economy is; what methods do they think is should use?