Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Thanet District Council night flights report now published

Here is the link to the full report http://www.thanet.gov.uk/pdf/Manston%20International%20%20Airport%20Validation%20Report%20230112.pdf  

I am having a very busy day today which means that the odd chances I get to read this thing, mostly standing in queues, is on my mobile, so here is a link to a text only version of the document for anyone else in the same predicament http://www.michaelsbookshop.com/112/id5.htm  

If you have read this report like I have, I guess that the overall conclusion is that the airport have presented a case for night flights that doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.

Up to now we have had the anti night flights lobby saying that the airport was asking for something unreasonable, the airport saying that they weren’t, well now we an expert opinion saying that the airport are asking for something unreasonable.  

Not only does what they are proposing exceed the normal and reasonable levels for noise, but their employment projections don’t add up.

The employment projections are important because there is an employment downside, something that I think is clearest in the Olympic night flights that I covered the other day, see http://thanetonline.blogspot.com/2012/01/olympic-night-flights-at-manston.html

In simple terms Ramsgate is under the main flight path and combining this information with the information that there are to four landings or takeoffs allowed from Manston every hour between 11pm and 5am during the Olympics, regardless of any other information, given the option of a similar town, would you book into a hotel here during the Olympics?

Obviously this has employment implications not only for the hotels here but the businesses that get extra custom from people visiting Ramsgate.   

I suppose often in Thanet the difficulty is a decoding process, rather than looking at some firms proposals and deciding if we want them to happen here, we do seem to attract potty schemes that get support and investment from our local government. Six figure sums they have invested in EKO that hasn’t produced the employment it was meant to, or Pleasurama another large council spend, where the developer is building without following the basic safety recommendations of the environment agency.

So one has to try and decode what the airport actually intend here, by this I mean why they asked for something unreasonable in the first place. 

One possibility is that the council has developed a bit of history for being lax and so the airport thought they could get away with something that wouldn’t be tolerated elsewhere.

Another possibility is this is all part of some bargaining process that will eventually lead to the airport restrictions being the same as other similar UK airports. 

Another possibility is that the airport owners are trying to achieve as lax a regulation as they can with the objective of making the airport attractive to a potential buyer.    

Don’t get me wrong here, I am not against the airport, when a plane comes over I am more inclined to take a picture of it that moan about the noise.

That said I don’t get a sense that they have done anything much to engage the local community, even those who would just like to know when they are expecting an interesting plane so one can take a picture of it flying overhead. 

My own thoughts here are that we don’t really stand much chance of getting much in the way of employment intensive industry here in Thanet, but we do have some potential for tourism.

I think up to a point The Turner Contemporary has proved this, there appears to be much more demand for a leisure destination here in the southeast than there was even twenty years ago.

I would guess that if the airport wants to succeed it’s the expansion of the historic aircraft side that makes sense and if the operators are going to continue subsidising it at a six figure level, then they are in the position to achieve this to an eventual state where they would probably see a profit.
As I said I was in a bit of a rush today and seem to have overdone the pictures fo the amount of text, please excuse this error. 


  1. So let's get this straight. On the day that TDC publishes the independent report which they have commissioned into night-flights, Infratil announces that vast numbers of night-flights will be taking place because of the Olympics. I would say that this all rather invalidates the consultation which is supposed to take place. What's the point of consulting about something if it's already been decided that it will be taking place? Looks like our Council has stitched us up (yet again).

  2. As others have pointed out elsewhere the present S106 only requires Infratil to submit a night flight plan; this doesn't have to be approved for night flights to happen. As far as I can see they could produce a plan with one night flight a minute and there is nothing that anyone could do about it. The Olympic news is probably just a precursor to the long term reality of night flights.

  3. Hi Tim,

    You are quite right. The Section 106 is appallingly badly drafted and fails to do what it was intended to do. However, TDC created and signed this document and they must be liable if it fails to properly control night-flights. I assume they will be commissioning a study to find out just how much they could be in the hole for if local residents mount a class action against them. I know that one group of residents has already contacted a solicitor.

  4. Surely the Olympics Night Flight will be a pretty good test of everyone's assumptions regarding noise, and...erm...noise, brought by large jets landing and taking off. I would say this is the best sort of consultation we could have - seeing as everyone will have the opportunity to base their response on actual evidence rather than constant NIMBYism and wikipedia quotes on aircraft noise levels...

  5. Off topic I know, but do you know the date of the postcard of The Paragon Hotel? My family owned it in 1911 according to the census and I wonder if the lady in the picture might be my great Aunt... Thanks

  6. Sorry Vice I don't, the best way to date it is to come into my bookshop and look at the adverts and photos in the guides that are dated


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.