The Thanet Labour group has tabled a resolution over night flights from Manston airport at the district council’s next meeting.
The motion calls for the council to adopt a policy of not allowing scheduled or planned flights between 11pm and 7am and to rule that any arrivals or departures in an extra hour either side be subject to a fine. Exceptions to the ban would include “mercy flights” and flights for medical emergencies under Labour’s proposals. Labour’s Councillor David Green said:
“Thanet District Council, as the local planning authority, has a clear duty to produce a Local Development Framework, against which local businesses, developers and residents can plan their future in terms of land use and environmental impact. It is clear that the council has failed in this duty with regard to the future development of Kent International Airport. The environmental agreement that controls the conditions of use of the airport (section 106) was devised in 2000 and was anticipated as being updated every three years. In the intervening years it has served the community well, allowing development of the airport, but protecting residents from the worst environmental impacts. However, the aircraft industry and environmental standards have moved on. A new agreement is required, and the airport owners need a clear guide to what is acceptable.”
Labour believes that merely reworking the old Section 106 is inadequate and that a new application through the planning process is necessary because of fears over residents’ health from noise and disrupted sleep patterns. Mr Green added:
“The legal opinion obtained on at least two occasions has been that night-time flying represents sufficient intensification of use as to require fresh planning approval.”
Thanet council leader Bob Bayford said the motion was “premature”. He added:
“As far as I can see the resolution is very little different to the policy the council already has on night flights. I think the time to debate the council’s policy on night flying is when we have a proposal from Infratil on changes to it, not before.”
thisiskent 10th Jun 2011