If you have dodgy blood pressure, or “anger management issues” it’s probably a good idea not to read any further.
Infratil (who own and run Manston Airport) have applied to Thanet District Council to change the night time flying policy, allowing them many more night flights. They want to use a “noise quota system”, which is a bit like calorie counting, but for noise. Every plane has Quota Count, or QC, number – QC½, QC1, QC2, QC4, QC8, QC16. The airport is given an Annual Quota Count total, which is must not exceed. Every time a plane flies in or out, its QC number is added to the running tally for the year.
The standard definition of “night” for the aviation industry is 2300 hours to 0700 hours (11pm to 7am), but Infratil want their Annual QC total to apply to flights between 2330 and 0600 (11:30pm to 6am).
Infratil want to be allowed flights “no greater than QC4”. No other comparable airport is allowed anything greater than QC2.
Currently, the fines double with each repeat offence for an aircraft, starting at £1,000 and rising rapidly. This is intended to discourage repeat offenders who would just shrug off a small fine as a running cost. Infratil want to replace this with a flat-rate system.
There’s currently £18,000 of “Community Contributions” (i.e. fines) languishing unspent in the kitty, so Infratil guaranteeing £10k isn’t much of an offer – they’re already being fined more than that.
Here’s the galling bit: Planes over Herne Bay will only get fined half as much as planes over Ramsgate. Planes over Herne Bay will only be counted at half their actual QC rating – a QC4 plane would only add 2 points to the annual tally. It’s not hard to see what the outcome will be: weather permitting, Manston will be routing as much traffic as possible to the west. We’ll get hammered.
I’ll be returning to this over the next few days (and weeks and months, I expect), and let you know how you can help stop this bonkers plan. In the meantime, I suggest you contact your local councillors, and ask them where they stand on night flights in general, and over Herne Bay in particular.
Gabrielle Davis (Conservative) email@example.com
Gillian Reuby (Conservative) firstname.lastname@example.org
Ann Taylor (Conservative) email@example.com
Robert Bright (Liberal Democrat) firstname.lastname@example.org
Ron Flaherty (Liberal Democrat) email@example.com
Ken Hando (Liberal Democrat) firstname.lastname@example.org
Greenhill and Eddington
Margaret Flaherty (Liberal Democrat) email@example.com
Roger Matthews (Independent) firstname.lastname@example.org
Herne and Broomfield
Evelyn Bissett (Conservative) email@example.com
Sharron Sonnex (Conservative) firstname.lastname@example.org
Peter Vickery-Jones (Conservative) email@example.com
Peter Lee (Conservative) firstname.lastname@example.org
Vince McMahan (Conservative) email@example.com
Here’s the rest of Infratil’s Evil Quota Count Plan (more documentation coming soon):
The proposed Quota Count System for Manston Airport is as follows: