Thursday, 20 January 2011

Kent International Airport Margate and despair at the grindings of government a day off ramble

The picture above is of a “joke, shop;” these are all too prevalent now in Margate, by a “joke, shop” as opposed to a joke shop, what I mean is the thing looks like a shop from the distance, but as you get closer you realise that the window display is just painted on and the shop itself is just an empty and abandoned building.

Don’t misunderstand me this isn’t a chance to get at Margate, we have a similar problem in Ramsgate, the only difference being that nothing has been done to make the empty shops a bit more cheerful in Ramsgate, so on the whole I think Margate scores better on this.

The rest of today’s pictures of Margate are here it was bitterly cold with a biting wind off the sea and I had left my gloves behind, Peacock’s didn’t have any nor did Edinburgh Woollen Mill, so I gave up and nipped in and out of the other shops.

The art galleries are very difficult to comprehend from a commercial shop point of view, by this I mean; they are shops and they evidently have goods to sell, but how they could be commercially viable defeats me, perhaps it is something to do with grant funding.

I really am not very good at assessing modern art, so this is more a general assessment related to my understanding of the retail world and most of it is about scale.
The problem really is that the galleries and arts related shops are just far too small, which to my mind means too much staffing relative to goods for sale, this is about having enough space, to have enough stock, to keep the staff occupied selling it.

It’s a similar problem with the Turner Contemporary, which just isn’t big enough to provide enough art works for people to look at for long enough, the problem is a simple one and relates to someone getting a worthwhile day out.

Take, for example someone in the middle of Kent, wanting to go somewhere to look at art, they have the option of taking the train to Margate or to London, the cost will be about the same, the choice though is spending the day doing, The Tate, The National, The National Portrait, The RA, Somerset House, The Wallace collection, Hayward Gallery, Whitechapel Gallery, Guildhall Gallery, Serpentine Gallery, Dulwich Picture Gallery, Saatchi Galleries, Barbican Gallery……….I could go on but I expect you get the picture, incidently many of the London galleries have free entrance. Or you could go to Margate and Look at the Turner Contemporary.

After going to Margate I came back to Ramsgate to visit the drop in session about Kent International Airport, I found this very beneficial and learnt a lot about environmental issues relating to the airport.

The sad and embarrassing thing was the way the publicity surrounding the meeting just failed, the EA press releases were too late for the local papers and although the EA informed TDC, TDC didn’t publicise the event on their website or issue a press release, so hardly any members of the public turned up.

I suppose combined days wages for the EA officers and the airport operator’s representatives and their travel costs must have been well in excess of £1,000 and for the three hours I was there, there was at least one and often more of these people available to discuss the issues exclusively with me.
The situation with the airport drainage system is one of work underway, the main interceptor hole is dug out and most of the pipework around the hard standing at the airport has been inspected and repaired where necessary.

The airport’s engineers and the EA have come up with a reasonably effective system to drain the hard standing, runway, aprons and car parking into the sea at Pegwell Bay, that when it is completed should prevent spillages on the hard standing from contaminating Pegwell Bay.
I spent much of the time chatting to the airport’s engineer, as we both had information of interest to each other to exchange and I feel I have a much better picture of the weaknesses in the antipollution strategy and the ongoing viability of the airport.
I also had a series of discussions with the senior EA officers there and while I am convinced that their ongoing efforts to improve the state of the Thanet aquifer are going in the right direction, my motive was to get them to consider the medium to long term water replenishment issue.
By this I mean getting the EA to consider how much more of Thanet can be concreted over, so that industry and developers can plan ahead.
Anyway while I assimilate what I have learnt, here are a couple interesting engineering anecdotes about recent environmental investigation at Manston, as they say you couldn’t make it up.

The main noise monitor was first located next to a school playground, when the children came out to play the noise they made sent the monitor right up to the jumbo jet end of the scale, so it had to moved.

The water drainage pipe between the airport and Pegwell Bay is a huge thing, nearly big enough to stand up inside, it runs through porous chalk and is made out of joined concrete sections. I would say there is about as much chance of making it water tight as there is of getting a pig to fly.

It runs through public and private land and some of the inspection covers are in private gardens and is known to have been illegally tapped into in numerous places, it has also been legally tapped by KCC for road drainage, due to a loophole in environmental law that has now been closed.

There is normally a steady trickle coming out of the Pegwell end, to which poring thousands of litres of water in at the Manston end makes no appreciable difference to, however while monitoring Pegwell end it was noticed that apart from the water coming out of the pipe, there was also an appreciable amount of garden waste coming out a well.
I will probably ramble on about what I learnt at the session, later on.


  1. The joke shop probably hides the chief executives office.

  2. >
    The main noise monitor was first located next to a school playground, when the children came out to play the noise they made sent the monitor right up to the jumbo jet end of the scale, so it had to moved.
    There you have it, proof there is loud noise all around us that we 'accept' yet moan about the possibility of a few planes each hour. Typical Ramsgate resident attitude!

  3. 0841, a playground full or schoolchildren doesn't fly over the whole of Ramsgate at less that 1,000 feet, nor does it want to do it at night.

  4. Surely, this will be very difficult to monitor as the eco system has co exsisted with the fresh water from the Stour and the pollutants it carries for many years. To the left of the old hoverport is a marine rubbish dump of debris deposited by the tide and further along the coast at the western undercliff is a thriving oyster population. In the bay itself is a cockle population, lugworm and between the bay and the western undercliff there is a bristle worm and razor fish populations.

  5. Tony I am still digesting this stuff would say when the drainage system first went in everything that landed on the runway, came out of the end of the pipe at Pegwell.

    I am pretty sure that these pipes are concrete sections about 1 metre long and about 1.5 metres in diameter, I think it started out as a loop going right round the main runway connected to a bit going off to Pegwell.

    I would think ground settling shifts would have meant that the very soon the whole thing leaked like a sieve, so that pretty much everything that fell on the runway went into our drinking water aquifer.

    My guess is that their attempts to seal the leaks won’t be very effective, so how much ever gets to Pegwell is a bit debatable.

    I pointed out that the interceptor would only remove the oil and fuel and that other stuff like the antifreeze used for de-icing the planes would get through it, their counter argument was that ethanol and glycol are biodegradable.

    The engineering inspections seem to involve putting thousands litres in to the system and nothing noticeable coming out.

    There is a lot of box ticking involved here too, and frankly I think most drainage systems leak a lot and not much is said about it, supply systems water and gas now involve plastic pipe and pressure testing for leaks even happens occasionally.

    On the whole though the situation is getting better and it isn’t really that long ago that pretty much all of the liquid waste in Thanet went untreated into the sea or soaked into the ground.

    Pretty much all of the solid waste went into holes in the ground over the aquifer or was dumped at sea.

    Trouble is that with dealing with waste and with the uncontaminated rain water, like the water that lands on roofs and should be going straight into the aquifer, we have a long way to go.

    The biggest contaminant in the local water supply is nitrates, present in sewage and agricultural fertiliser. Consider if you will how much excess fertiliser, that the crops didn’t need, a farmer you pay for and spread on the ground to be wasted and soak into the chalk. Every time you see a hole in the road look at the sewage pipes, usually brown or grey. Now consider what proportion comes from where.

  6. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  7. 20.17 off thread comments naming local people and associating them with sleaze are not a good idea, my advice is get your own blog.


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