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Manston Night flight plans grounded

Controversial plans to allow night flights at Kent International Airport have been put on hold. Infratil, the company which owns Manston airport, has agreed to revise a proposal to allow planes to take off and land 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It follows a meeting with senior Thanet council officials today.

Under the proposals, an average of eight aircraft movements were expected every night. The majority would have operated in the so-called “shoulder” periods of 11pm-11.30pm and 6am-7am. The council had commissioned an independent review of Infratil’s noise assessment report, which was produced by the company as part of its application for night flights.

This review, which is yet to be made public, is understood to have highlighted the need for clarification in a number of areas. A planned public consultation, due to start this month, will not take place until these clarifications are made. Cllr Bob Bayford, the leader of Thanet council, said:

“Before residents have their say, they need to know more detail and have a better understanding of exactly how many aircraft movements are being discussed. That information is difficult to gauge from the proposals that have been put to us, partly because of its technical nature. The council remains supportive of the airport and maximising the employment opportunities it can create but this cannot come at any price for local residents. We need to balance the economic benefits carefully against environmental considerations.”

It is not known when a revised proposal will be submitted to Thanet council, although Cllr Bayford admitted it “may take time” to produce.

kentonline 1st Nov 2010

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