Home ... NNF ... Manston ... In a nutshell: Night Flights

THE AIRPORT OWNERS WANT TO…

  • be able to schedule flights throughout the night
  • increase the number of night flights from 2 a week to 7.7 a night
  • operate a "Quota Count" system: every plane has a QC number, the louder the plane, the larger the number. The airport wants an annual Quota Count total - a "plane noise budget" for night flights
  • be able to fly planes up to and including QC4 (a 747 jumbo) at any time throughout the night
  • apply the night flight Quota Count to planes flying between 11:30pm and 6am, even though the standard definition of "night" is 11pm to 7am.

In a nutshell: Night Flights

THE AIRPORT OWNERS WANT TO…

  • be able to schedule flights throughout the night
  • increase the number of night flights from 2 a week to 7.7 a night
  • operate a “Quota Count” system: every plane has a QC number, the louder the plane, the larger the number. The airport wants an annual Quota Count total – a “plane noise budget” for night flights
  • be able to fly planes up to and including QC4 (a 747 jumbo) at any time throughout the night
  • apply the night flight Quota Count to planes flying between 11:30pm and 6am, even though the standard definition of “night” is 11pm to 7am.
  • count the planes that fly to the west of the runway as 50% of their actual QC number, so they can fly twice as many
  • change the standard fine for rule-breaking to a flat rate of £1,000 – currently, when an aircraft is too loud, too low, or off-course, the fine starts at £1,000 and doubles for each repeat offence.
  • make the “flat rate” fine of £1,000 apply only over Ramsgate: if the plane is anywhere west of the runway, the fine would be halved to £500

EMPLOYMENT

  • after 10 years, Manston employs just 111 people, some part-time. 61% live in Thanet.
  • the average pay at Manston is lower than the average pay in Thanet
  • most of the “jobs” Infratil say will be created are imaginary – the result of totting up tiny statistical fractions of jobs: the fuel delivery driver in East Africa, the barber in Ramsgate who cuts the pilot’s hair, etc
  • Manston’s Chief Exec, Charles Buchanan, was at London City airport when it promised thousands of new jobs in return for permission to increase flights by 50%
  • after 10 years the airport delivered just 23% of the jobs promised; less than 30% of the jobs created went to local people
  • of the thousands of new jobs promised, less than 7% were actually delivered to local people
  • the aviation industry has become increasingly automated, and less reliant on people – just 20% more people could handle double the current UK air traffic
  • Manston airport workers tell us they could easily cope with a lot more planes with their existing staff working overtime – it will be years before they go “up a gear” and need to recruit heavily
  • jobs created at and near airports are heavily outnumbered by jobs lost in the domestic tourism and hospitality industries
  • in Herne Bay, a new 50-room Premier Inn with 50-seater restaurant created 60 jobs

NOISE

  • the European Court of Human Rights says that sleep is a human right
  • never mind the decibels, here’s a rule of thumb: if it wakes you up, it’s too loud
  • sleep deprivation increases the risk of accidents at home, on the roads and at work
  • anyone with hearing problems, or who suffers from anxiety or depression, will experience increased suffering
  • over 8,000 homes in Ramsgate, and more along the flight path, will be directly affected by the increased noise
  • measurements of “average noise” contours are pointless – it’s not the average noise through the night of an alarm clock that wakes you, it’s the peak noise (when it goes off)
  • noise isn’t just annoying: it’s dangerous, and can even be deadly

HEALTH

  • W.H.O.’s Night Noise Guidelines for Europe 2009: “… adverse health effects related to night noise [may result from] night noise levels greater than 40 dB (Lnight, outside) when most people are in bed. “
  • A study of 1 million residents around Cologne airport analysing the effects of aircraft noise identified a significant and clear impact on health: a night-time average sound pressure level of 55 dB increased the risk of heart attacks by 66% in men and 139% in women.
  • The current proposals will result in 30,000 people being exposed to 85dB or more between the hours of 23:30 and 06:00
  • the EU is trying to ban night flights because of the health risks
  • local and central Government both acknowledge that increased noise, air and ground pollution causes major health problems
  • even if it doesn’t wake you up, the noise of night flights can speed up your heart rate, lower your immune system, and increase stress hormones

EDUCATION

  • Munich airport moved from one side of the city to another. Children were tested before and after the move for short- and long-term memory, reaction times and reading skills. Near the old airport the scores went UP, near the new airport the scores went DOWN. [Old site went from 68 to 54 dB(A); new site went from 53 to 62 dB(A).]
  • research shows that living with aircraft noise impairs the “cognitive development” of children, specifically reading comprehension – schools exposed to high levels of aircraft noise are not healthy educational environments.
  • reducing a classroom’s background noise by 7-9 dB improves children’s speech intelligibility and word intelligibility

ECONOMICS

  • being under a flight path can knock up to a third off the value of your house, or even make it unsellable
  • night cargo flights over a seaside town are the kiss of death to any dreams for a regeneration as a tourist destination – hotels, B&Bs, restaurants will all lose out
  • the real economic gain from night flights won’t be jobs for the people of Thanet, but profit for an investment company based in (and paying taxes in) New Zealand.

ENVIRONMENT

  • the UK is supposed to be trying to reduce its carbon footprint to below 2005 levels
  • exhaust fumes and droplets of aviation fuel fall on Ramsgate houses as the planes throttle back to land
  • risk to the aquifer, absence of adequate run-off reservoir
  • 7.7 cargo flights a night equals a lot of lorries a night – more pollution, more noise, less sleep

INFRATIL

  • New Zealand-based, multi-billion dollar, multi-national investment company who buy and sell power stations, ferry companies etc. for profit
  • Infratil bought Manston for £10.3 million five years ago, and has lost more than that since
  • Infratil aims to make its investors a 20% return, but Manston is a loss maker
  • Infratil told shareholders this summer that its priorities are energy and transport in New Zealand and Australia – the company’s strategy is to cut losses at Manston by cutting costs
  • New Zealand financial analysts and investors regard the European airports as a mistake: Infratil’s share price went up went it sold Lübeck airport in Germany; and when there were rumours that they were going to sell Manston, the share price rose
  • we can’t rely on promises by Infratil as they probably hope to sell the airport, and whoever owns it next won’t be tied by Infratil’s promises

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  1. Brian Shelvey

    After todays meeting Sat the 26th April @ the Winter Gardens for Manston supporters councillors from all party’s say they are going to review the 106 agreement to allow night flights @ Manston should they find a buyer, so it’s n ot over yet chaps.