Manston airport has been fined £52,000 by Thanet Council for operating night flights that break an environmental agreement. The Section 106 clause specifies that no flights can take off from the airport between 11pm and 07am, but it does allow for a maximum of 12 humanitarian, mercy or emergency flights by relief organisations during any calendar year between those times.
The level of fines on night flights between January and August 2003 from the airport had already assessed. Councillors considered 17 subsequent night flights between September and December last year. Information from the airport operators stated that all 17 flights were humanitarian and that the cargo carried was replacement Iraqi currency, designed to help the country’s reconstruction and recovery programme.
Councillors decided that this was not what they considered to be ‘humanitarian’ flights and that payment due under the 106 agreement should be enforced. Cllr Sandy Ezekiel, council leader, said:
“This council is firmly committed to the environmental agreement because it was put in place to help protect local residents. Councillors are determined to enforce the agreement where we believe that it has been breached. Night flights disturb sleeping patterns and cause annoyance. While the council is committed to the development of Manston as an airport, it does not want to see this take place to the detriment of the local environment or local residents.”
kentonline 23rd Feb 2004