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If you have dodgy blood pressure, or "anger management issues" it's probably a good idea not to read any further.

Night flights: Herne Bay gets screwed

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) gabrielle.davis@canterbury.gov.uk

Gillian Reuby (Conservative) gillian.reuby@canterbury.gov.uk

Ann Taylor (Conservative) ann.taylor@canterbury.gov.uk


Robert Bright (Liberal Democrat) robert.bright@canterbury.gov.uk

Ron Flaherty (Liberal Democrat) ron.flaherty@canterbury.gov.uk

Ken Hando (Liberal Democrat) ken.hando@canterbury.gov.uk

Greenhill and Eddington

Margaret Flaherty (Liberal Democrat) margaret.flaherty@canterbury.gov.uk

Roger Matthews (Independent) roger.matthews@canterbury.gov.uk

Herne and Broomfield

Evelyn Bissett (Conservative) evelyn.bissett@canterbury.gov.uk

Sharron Sonnex (Conservative) sharron.sonnex@canterbury.gov.uk

Peter Vickery-Jones (Conservative) peter.vickeryjones@canterbury.gov.uk

West Bay

Peter Lee (Conservative) peter.lee@canterbury.gov.uk

Vince McMahan (Conservative) vincent.mcmahan@canterbury.gov.uk

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:

a. Night-time Period will be 2300 to 0700 local time.
b. Night-time Quota Period will be 2330 to 0600 local time.
c. Annual Quota Count will be the sum of the individual Quota Counts (QC) of all flights arriving or departing during the Night-time Quota Period within a calendar year [January to December).
d. There will be no scheduling of aircraft of Quota Count greater than QC4 within the Night-time Period.
e. Annual Quota Count not to exceed 1,995.
f. Preferred Departure Runway and Noise Abatement Routes as set out in clauses 4 and 5 respectively of the Second Schedule to S105 dated 25 September 2000 (runway 10 for arrivals and runway 28 for departures) to be used whenever possible during the Night-time Period consistent with safe operations.
g. In recognition of the lower impact of movements approaching from or departing towards the west, movements which operate on such routes will count towards the Annual Quota Count and Community Contribution at 50% of their certified rate.
h. For movements exceeding QC4 during the Night-time Quota Period, the operator will make a Community Contribution of £1,000 for each occasion to the Manston Airport Environmental Improvement Fund (MAEIF).
i. MSE will guarantee minimum annual contributions to MAEIF of £10,000.

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