Sunday 25 June 2017

Manston Airport Consultation drop in sessions initial thoughts and out and about Ramsgate photos today

The various companies that have gone under various names containing the word Riveroak and have had some of the same senior management team but none of which ever seem to have had any non senior management staff held another series of drop in sessions relating to their desire to have some part of government use government powers to take the Manston site from its current owners, for them, held another series of public drop in sessions last week.

This relates to Manston airport which started commercial operations in the 1960s with Air Ferry Ltd and following a series of operator bankruptcies starting with Air Ferry Ltd and finishing with Plane Station Ltd finally closed in 2014 after going through the hands of a couple of operators to big to go bust.

At the moment it belongs to the group that rescued the Pfizer site in Sandwich and is now the largest source of local employment. Their plans are for light industry and housing and as we need the jobs, have to build the houses somewhere in Thanet and they have a proven track record, it would seem most likely that this is what will happen. They own the site, have already run a local site that provides hundreds of much needed local jobs and having sold the Pfizer site presumably have the money.

This is the link to their website

The last RiverOak drop in session I went to was back in July 2016 and here is the link to some of the posts I wrote about this back then

This time around I noticed that the Ramsgate session was very short and as Ramsgate would be the main town affected by aircraft noise I assumed the session would be far too crowded so I went to the Canterbury one, which as Canterbury isn’t affected was pretty much deserted.

Having tried fairly hard at the last session and in subsequent emails to get my concerns across I was expecting some understanding of the main environmental issues, that I first raised with the RiverOak team about a year ago, to be going along the road to solutions.

The two main issues being Particulate pollution and its impact on public health and noise pollution over Ramsgate and how any insulation scheme would operate in a large conservation area, with so many listed buildings.

The don’t seem to have done any work on either issue, this is something that makes it very difficult to follow what they intend. Their main concerns seem to be related to conforming to the minimum requirements required by The Department for Transport to initiate a Development Consent Order and honestly the Riveroak representatives I spoke to just didn’t seem to have a good grasp of the environmental impact of an airfreight hub.

I will use the particulate air pollution issue to illustrate what I mean here.

Now I would guess that most people have heard about the recent change of attitude towards diesel road vehicles due to the discovery that the tiny particles that come out of their exhaust pipes are killing people.

The exhaust coming from a jet engine is much worse, mainly because no one has worked out a way of attaching the catalytic converters and filters that go on road vehicles, but also because burning jet engine fuel produces a lot of particles.

It is important to appreciate the government is very concerned about the effects on people living upwind of major road junctions where as much as 10 tons of diesel is burn in a year.

Part of the proposals for the Manston DCO is that there will 10,000 freight plane movements there a year, now a freight plane like a 747 burns 1 tonne of fuel per ground movement. It burns around 1 gallon of fuel per second with a takeoff burning around 2.5 tonnes.

Speaking to two of Riveroak's environmental specialists and realising that they just hadn't a clue how much fuel a freight plane burns and just couldn't seem to grasp the figures I think sums up the whole problem for me.

Thanet already has reasonably high levels of particulate air pollution, like the rest of the southeast this is due to the prevailing wind direction across the south of the uk.

Particulate pollution kills people in considerable numbers, here is the Wiki article roughly every doubling of the background level increases the chances of lung cancer by about 35%. The latest research points at it being the main cause of alzheimer's.

Like the business with scrapping diesel cars the research and information is all fairly recent and the only airport I know of where the particulate pollution has been measures is Los Angeles

Here is the map showing how much and how far.

Next the out and about photos taken in Ramsgate today

finally the latest books to go out in the bookshop


  1. It is good that you are asking pertinent questions, even though, perhaps unsurprisingly, you were given inadequate responses. The airport issue has become swamped with invective and the peddling of untruths and it is time that facts took centre stage. I believe the owners' plans will win the day, once the layers of hype and scaremongering are stripped away.

  2. I have to question that if 2500 houses are built and the average household had 2 cars, also those business's with hgv's so what will the environmental impact be on thanet. I did put this question to Mallon but got no answer.. . At the moment we In thanet are heading for a terrible water shortage.. even southern water has publicall stated their objections to houses due to the lack of water ..

    1. You raise very proper concerns, Kapo, but, whether we like it or not, we have been instructed, unequivocally, to build thousands of new houses. If a large percentage of these can be accommodated on the one brownfield site of the former airport, it will ease the threat to numerous other greenfield sites.

  3. Jimmy I think the issue here may have moved into the dimension of politics, where the outcome becomes a gamble based around the perceived benefits to the protagonists rather than anything to do with common sense and local people.

    Kapo I think there is an element of scale here where you have to consider how many cars and lorries you would have to have there to burn 10,000 tonnes of diesel in a year. Something along the lines of a lorry burns around 10 miles to the gallon whereas a freight plane around a gallon a second.

    You get about 250 gallons to the tonne or about 2,500 lorry miles and I suppose about 50 mpg for a diesel car… oh well you can do the maths of you want

  4. The house building targets set by government for Thanet is approaching 10,000 so regardless of whether they are built at Manston they are going to be built somewhere in Thanet. These are just for the children and grandchildren of local people and no doubt some will be for the 3,000 to 4,000 on the social housing list!

  5. Actually the government House building target is around 17,100, and at the KGA Cinference thus week in Birmingham Communities Secretary Sajid Haved said he us about to change the rules to make all Councils build more. Ashford which is a growth spot that has done little except build for a number of years has just had its local p,an sent back demanding more houses be planned. The pretence of Airport or houses is just that, a pretence. Thus government is determined to force more houses on all of us anyway.

  6. I'm glad you have emphasised that point, Chris. It is shameful that you have had to suffer abuse from the "Open Manston at any costs" brigade and particularly from an MP who seems wedded to a certain company.

  7. Thanks for the Clarification Chris, I am assuming that any number of houses built anywhere in Thanet, including Manston reduces the quota and hence the number that have to be built in other part so Thanet.


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.