I thought my email of today may be of interest and stimulate other residents to convey their views to our councillors:
August 21st 2011
Dear Councillor Bayford,
Re Manston Airport – Proposed Night Flights
As a regular listener to BBC Radio Kent, I heard your response rebuttal to Councillor Clive Hart’s interview at 08.15 on Thursday 18th August on the Manston Night Flying issue.
I was appalled by your callous disregard for Thanet Council Tax Payer’s quality of life, plus the environmental issues; with your unreserved support and endorsement for Infratil’s proposal to impose regular scheduled night flights on the local community.
You make a seemingly generous proposal for “widespread public consultation” on this highly contentious night flying issue; on the premise that “a regional airport is of interest to everyone in the South East”. Hence your obvious “confidence” that the public (who outside Thanet, will be unaffected by Manston’s night flight issues) will vote for night flights. By this one clever act, you have assured Infratil that they will get their way and inflict sleepless nights on local council tax payers.
As your colleague said, a poll result is entirely dependent on who you ask and how you phrase the question. In my view, the only justification for seeking the views on anyone who is not affected by Manston’s take-off, landing and low circuit noise, would be if the question was “Do you think that an International Airport at Manston is a good idea to for holiday and business flights?” The answer to this (as you very well know) is a foregone conclusion.
This however is not the issue – the airport unfortunately already exists and the only issue is “Should we allow night flights which will totally disrupt Thanet residents quality of life?” Thus, if the vote is to be a fair one, the only people who should be consulted are those who will be affected by the noise of night flights. Unfortunately, these days, the association of the word “fair”, with “conservative” appears dubious at best.
All this of course is not new, for we have prior experience of so called “consultations” and have reasons for skepticism. A previous council undertook these and following a resounding “No!” to night flights, they completely ignored their council tax-payers wishes and allowed the airport to extend its operating hours. Even the February 2010 Manston Airport Development survey by Stephen Ladyman concluded that 62% of Ramsgate respondents opposed night flights. So how many more times must we say that we are opposed to any form of night flying from Manston? The problem is of course, rather like the peoples referendum on the EU. If the authorities want a “Yes” and they keep getting a “No” – they continue to ask the question in different ways until they can concoct a “Yes”. So I look forward to wasting my breath giving my “No Way” views on night flying at this forthcoming round of “Public Consultations”
Let us hope at least that unlike the last round of “consultations” this time you publicise these meeting properly through the Thanet media and also drop leaflets outlining the issue, giving venues, times and dates, through every Thanet letterbox.
Finally I would just like to say that in my view, the only reason we now have a “hung Council” is the local fear of night flights being imposed on Thanet voters, together with the knowledge that the Tory Councillors would back this idea to the hilt. The point is that many Labour Councillors (and all of the Independents) owe their seats to local Council Tax payers who voted them in because they trusted Labour rather than Conservatives to do what is right for the ordinary Thanet resident, who deserves a decent night’s sleep.
Our only hope is that Labour continue to vote for what is right for the people that elected them (and who pay all your salaries) and that at least some Conservatives will actually start listening to their constituents.
Mr R Fawcett
(Who has voted Conservative all his adult life)