Thanet District Council’s Penny Button Penny.Button@thanet.gov.uk has special responsibility for Manston Airport. Here’s what she had to say to one of the many unhappy residents who contacted her:
Thank you for your recent enquiry regarding an aircraft movement associated with Kent International Airport. The statutory powers available to Thanet District Council to deal with noise exclude aircraft noise, however, we do have a voluntary Town & Country Planning Act S106 agreement with the airport operator which contains some sanctions with regard to aircraft movements.
This agreement allows for departures to European destinations or arrivals from North America by solely passenger carrying aircraft scheduled to occur between 0600 and 0700 hours on any day where the aircraft involved in the operation have a noise classification of Quota Count 4 or less. A Quota Count is the degree of noise created by the aircraft both at take off and landing and is based on the certified noise levels of the aircraft.
The agreement also allows for humanitarian mercy or emergency flights by relief organisations during the night on not more than 12 occasions during any calendar year.
The agreement contains a scheme of fines for aircraft movements at night. The airport owner is required to pay a fine if an aircraft with a Quota Count in excess of QC4 undertakes a flight movement during the night. If the same plane undertakes another night-time movement in the following 12 months the amount payable will increase by a factor of two for each occasion.
I have investigated the incident you referred to and can confirm that the plane which arrived at 03:33 on 10 July 2011 was a delayed arrival of an Iceland Air plane. This plane movement is not subject to a fine under the agreement as it has a QC classification of QC4 or less.