TDC have drawn up a draft response to Manston’s proposal for night flights. Their response is informed by advice from independent experts, and guided by the result of the recent public consultation.
The answer is “No”, and on Thursday they’ll be voting to confirm that as their official position.
This may be your chance to let them know how you would like them to vote.
Costs and Benefits
The current TDC administration, like all the previous administrations, is keen for the airport to succeed. The question of scheduled night flights at Manston has been discussed and debated, researched and reported. Councillors have travelled the country to see what happens at other airports. Boffins have churned out graphs, maps and tables. Legal eagles have had their say.
The upshot is that the costs of scheduled night flights outweigh the benefits – it’s that simple.
Thanet District Council is a hung council – roughly equal number of Labour and Conservative, with a relatively small number of Independents holding the balance.
- Labour stood on a manifesto pledge to oppose scheduled night flights, so there will be a lot of pressure from the Labour leadership on all Labour councillors to toe the party line and vote in support of the draft response.
- The Conservatives have promised their members a free vote on the issue. With my cynical head on, though, I can never be certain just how “free” party members really are when it comes to a free vote – I guess we’ll see on the night.
- The Independents are in the happy position of being able to punch well above their weight. On any issue that is split cleanly on party political lines, they are able to decide the outcome (if they vote as a block, that is).
So… what can you do to make a difference? The answer is literally at your fingertips – a quick email to some councillors.
The obvious place to start (if you live in Thanet) is with your own local ward councillors – click HERE to find out who they are, by typing in your post code.
Or you can click HERE to track down councillors by their party political persuasion.
They may be getting a lot of emails on the subject, so it might be worth keeping it short and sweet – just say how you would like them to vote, with a brief explanation.
Thanet District Council will be discussing their response to Manston’s night flights proposal at 7pm in the Council Chamber, Council Offices, Cecil Street, Margate. It’s a public meeting (of course), so you’re free to come along and see how your own local councillors vote.
Be warned though – for no good reason I can think of, there are no public loos available in the TDC Offices after office hours… so go before you go!
- TDC’s response
- The Agenda item, and background, for Thursday
- Independent expert report, commissioned by TDC, looking at the most recent (2011) night flights proposal – from Parsons Brinckerhoff
- Independent expert report, commissioned by TDC, looking at the previous (2010) night flights proposal – from Bureau Veritas