Saturday, 20 January 2018

Politics, religion and pictures.

I’m afraid to say that I just couldn’t seem to squeeze out the words for the Manston DCO, TDC Local Plan issue yesterday. It’s a very tangled issue and I do wonder if there is a place in it for anyone who would be prepared to change their mind about anything, related to any of it.

The last couple of weeks have produced various bombshell statements related to the antics at our local council and Manston, but I think one of the most important is the question. Does rejecting the local plan mean a considerable reduction of the impact local people can have on the future of Thanet?

This is based around the idea that there would have been consultation stages to the local planmand theoretically local people should have been able to influence things like where the housing, shops, roads, stations etc go. In practice it’s a bit difficult to tell if, for instance, someone living say in London – and of course someone who is prepared to go through the rigmarole of filling in the online forms, would have any more or less influence than someone who actually lives here.

All in all influence of local people on local government isn’t what it says on the packet. So if you have a foreign company and can see a bit of an earner here in Thanet, you can pay clever people to fill out online forms for you.

The Manston issue for me centres on this lump of land, which during the thirty years I have had the bookshop here in Ramsgate has changed hands for various amounts of money between around twenty million pounds and one pound, actually being worth around a thousand million pounds as building land.

There is of course the whole area of using lawyers in the consultation business, the main reason I don’t do this, although I hate online forms, is my lawyer charges £195 per hour plus VAT to fill in forms.

So whether there has been a serious impact on our democratic wosisname I don't really know.

The Manston DCO Consultation Sessions are next week and the invites they were supposed to be sending out don't seem to have turned up. This has the tricky implication that because the invites not turning up may invalidate the consultation - no one knows if it worth taking the trouble, or paying a lawyer to fill in the online forms, turn up at the sessions and so on.

The Manston bombshell was, as I think everyone with the slightest interest in the future of the Manston Airport site is aware, was the bit in the new consultation documents published by RiverOak, where it seems to say that RiverOak’s team are going to work out how many local people the pollution created by their freight hub will kill.

To me this sounds a bit like, “a job for everyone, a car for everyone and then the small print about killing people. 

What it actually says in RiverOak’s document is phrased in a rather strange way, here is the quote. “There is health evidence drawn from the scientific literature that allows potential impacts on mortality and rates of certain diseases due to changes in noise and air pollutant exposure to be predicted quantitatively (in numerical terms). The scientific evidence shows that, depending on the level of noise or air pollution concentration, these may affect diseases of the heart, lungs and circulation system, mental health and wellbeing, and the overall risk of premature death. Whether there is a health risk and the magnitude of any impact on public health depends on the size of change in noise or air pollution and the population affected.”

To me it looks like the person who wrote this both didn't like what they were writing and partly couldn't believe it, to me "to be predicted quantitatively (in numerical terms)" seems to be saying they are now going to work out how many people they intend to kill. 

I have put it to a few different people and replies vary between, oh well we all got to die sometimes, to I told you so.  

As someone who was once what I can loosely only call a type of mechanic, I think the other thing that occurs to me, but may not occur to some other people is the difference between finding something is killing people and trying to do something about it and starting out on a course of action that you know will kill people.

In the world of mechanics, asbestos went along this sort of road and it was quite some time after it was discovered that asbestos dust kills people and when it stopped being used, particularly for building schools and hospitals.

I think if RSP, RiverOak or whatever you like to call them were to say to us that they were going to build a huge airport at Manston and that all the hangers, walkways, departure lounges excreta were going to be built of asbestos it would be fairly easy to sort out.

The particulate air pollution which is what most of this relates to is a bit of new kid on the block and the people who are of the looking at this, mechanics of a sort, have already told the government to scrap diesel cars.

I still read journals and it looks as though it is particulate air pollution that is likely to be the main cause of alzheimer's and dementia, well apart from getting old that is.

The arguments around this one are not simple and clear cut like the are for asbestos, which for the most part are just use some other material. We haven’t developed a large and therefore economical freight plane that doesn’t pump out huge amounts of particulates, we haven’t worked out a way of putting a filter, catalytic converter, wosisname on the back of a jet engine.   

Coming back to the council, something that I have never understood about the current UKIP administration is why they didn’t put up a leader with a bit of a history as a supporter of UKIP, instead of Chris who mostly had a history of being a prominent local Conservative, does anyone have any ideas on this one?    

I went to Canterbury Cathedral for a bit today and did more to my watercolour painting Becket’s martyrdom, some issues with the perspective, this is a problem in the area between what you can do with a painting that assumes you can’t rotate your head so it has the conventional vanishing points and a paining like this which assumes you can so it has several more.

Next the old local photos Ramsgate Margate and Broadstairs, including some with writing on them 

Next this spray can writing in what I take to be part of the Canterbury conservation area

The whole business of Canterbury Cathedral is something that I find very difficult to understand, it is certainly improving as a site of major historic interest and as a world class tourist attraction. As a place of worship I am not so sure, it doesn’t seem to have a quiet bit anywhere, which I sort of feel is pretty much essential to a place of worship. But like Manston and the council it is much more complicated and the solutions don’t look easy.

I may add a bit more to this post.

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