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A mobile noise monitor designed to record the volume of flights from Manston airport is still out of action. The machine, which can be taken to different locations across Thanet, is the only one that can be moved from set locations to monitor the level of disturbance made by planes. However, it is lying unused because there are problems with data collection and taking the information from it. Thanet council could not say, or declined to say, exactly how long it had been out of use. A spokeswoman would only say it had not been in use “since early this year”.

Who knows how noisy

A mobile noise monitor designed to record the volume of flights from Manston airport is still out of action. The machine, which can be taken to different locations across Thanet, is the only one that can be moved from set locations to monitor the level of disturbance made by planes. However, it is lying unused because there are problems with data collection and taking the information from it. Thanet council could not say, or declined to say, exactly how long it had been out of use. A spokeswoman would only say it had not been in use “since early this year”.

Airport owner Infratil supplies the machine, under the terms of the Section 106 agreement, but it is the council’s duty to maintain it and make sure it is working. Section 106 is the written agreement between the council and the airport that lays out rules for issues such as noise and flight paths, among other things. Noise-monitoring is seen as a vital part of the agreement, but no timeframe for the machine to be up and running correctly has been given.

No penalties are imposed on the council if it is not in use, but at last month’s KIACC (Kent International Airport Consultative Committee) meeting, members of the committee voiced their annoyance at the situation. The council spokeswoman said:

“There are ongoing problems with establishing communications with the kit to download the data. There are a number of options to try to resolve these problems and until each one has been tried by the council we cannot give a definitive time for it being fully operational. A problem was discovered during the last use of the monitor earlier this year. It was returned for calibration in June, when we identified the communications difficulties.”

The monitor works on a threshold detection system, which means it records noise over a set threshold.

yourthanet.co.uk 18th August 2010

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