Itinerant oriental pork ant. Ran into proletarian kitten. Anoint potential errant irk. Better still, turn it into something more useful than an anagram…
One of the commonest uses for an old airport is as the foundations for a new airport. Understandable, really – if it’s in the right place, additional infrastructure grows up around an airport. The physical, economic, transport and communications facilities make the area particularly well suited as a location for a newer and/or bigger airport. Success breeds success. It becomes a self-reinforcing industrial ecosystem. Beyond a certain point, a kind of critical mass, it becomes a persistent and defining feature of its environment.
However, some airports just die. Being past their best-by date, or built too late, or in the wrong place, or for the wrong market, or some permutation of these and scores of other factors conspire to extinguish the last spark of commercial life. What then?
To be viable, even a small airport starts off with a sizable chunk of land, tarmac, buildings, infrastructure, transport links and lots of nice bright shiny lights. Which is pretty much what we have at Manston. It’s mighty runway is 2,752 metres long and 61 metres wide; there’s 20 hectares of land inside the perimeter fence, with a further 46 hectares available for development (1 hectare = 10,000 square metres).
My curiosity was piqued by news of a solar farm being built in Portugal – a large array of hefty panels generating megaWatts of juice, and coincidentally giving me up to date costings for large-scale renewable power production. Back-of-fag-packet maths says that one hectare plus £1million gets you enough hefty panels to produce about 0.2 megaWatts. That’s enough clean, renewable energy for about 150 homes, forever. Well, nearly forever.
East Kent is one of the driest (i.e. least cloudy) parts of Britain, and Manston is flat and shadeless. It has the makings of a silent, low-rise, emission-free power station, easily meeting (and possibly exceeding) the needs of whatever development succeeds KIA.
A quick glance around the world reveals that recycling industrial sites is surprisingly popular and can be very successful. More on this another day. Brother Stephen from St. Opmanston’s Priority is praying for:
- light industry at the western end, nearer the Manston business park
- housing, and more housing, and then maybe some extra housing
- a new swimming pool
- Canterbury University Eco-wing
- expanding the air museum.
It could be a divine opportunity for TDC to make advantage from adversity: a showcase development of sustainable green housing and recreation mixed with employment-intensive workshops, all running off its own power. What’s not to like?