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Noise? What Noise?

More needs to be done to monitor noise created by airplanes at Manston airport, Thanet council officers have admitted after a grilling by councillors.

During the meeting of the Airport Working Party last Wednesday, members quizzed council officials on what had been done to make sure Manston airport operator Infratil sticks to the conditions of its planning agreement, a Section 106, with the council. Labour councillor David Green said he did not think the monitoring was sufficiently independent or transparent, adding:

Noise monitoring at Manston Airport

Noise? What Noise?

More needs to be done to monitor noise created by airplanes at Manston airport, Thanet council officers have admitted after a grilling by councillors.

During the meeting of the Airport Working Party last Wednesday, members quizzed council officials on what had been done to make sure Manston airport operator Infratil sticks to the conditions of its planning agreement, a Section 106, with the council. Labour councillor David Green said he did not think the monitoring was sufficiently independent or transparent, adding:

“I am starting from the position that I want a successful airport. But it seems the only way of achieving that is if the airport is monitored by this council, and that monitoring is seen to be independent and transparent to the public.”

Environmental protection manager, Penny Button, said the only data the council had to assess noise from airplanes was being provided by Infratil itself.

Mr Green, who later described the admission as “refreshingly honest and shocking”, said:

“Noise monitoring is only as good as the noise monitoring stations, none of which we have control over.”

Officers said the council had collected £4,000 in fines over the last two years for unscheduled night flights found to be in breach of noise limitations.

Manston airport chief executive Charles Buchanan said the number of night flights taking place over Thanet varied from two to 10 a month but said that flights exceeding noise limits were rare.

“We monitor noise as most airports do. It is our responsibility to fund and maintain the noise monitors, which we do, and provide information to the council, which is totally normal. I believe we are meeting our obligation with the council and the 106 agreement that we have in place.”

Questions were also raised about waste water from the airport flowing into Pegwell Bay, a nature reserve, and whether monitoring of it was properly enforced by the council.

Community service manager Madeline Homer said that due to a recent restructuring of the council she was not able to answer all the members’ questions then, but would report back to the working party at the next meeting, a date for which has yet to be announced.

thisiskent 7th Oct 2011

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