I do not want the night flights proposal to be approved.
I live in Ramsgate and I’m very keen for the town to prosper but think that night flights will be very detrimental to this for the following reasons.
The town’s history and future is as a tourist resort and night flights will be very detrimental to this. I think there are very tourists who would be happy to have their sleep spoiled or their restaurant meals disturbed during their visit because of the noise these night flights will make.
I am opposed to the proposal that Manston should be allowed to operate night flights between 11.00pm and 7.00pm.
I live directly under the flight path – by the time the planes are over my house I can virtually count the rivets on the undercarriages. The recent increase in night flying during the second half of 2011 has had a deleterious effect on our sleep. On one occasion my 14 year old son was awoken at 3.30am approx. and said “I thought a bomb had gone off!” Imagine how frightening this must be for smaller children.
Other protestors will probably have highlighted the statistics about poor educational performance by children living under flight paths with night flights: with a son doing A-levels this summer and a younger son in the middle of his education, I am naturally concerned.
The health problems connected with night flights are another concern: I have high blood pressure – and a family history of stroke – so I’m not crazy about night flights for that reason. None of us are going to live forever, but do we deserve to have the length and quality of our lives ruined simply to benefit the shareholders of a New Zealand based transport company which (in buying Manston) made a poor investment?
There is something particularly pernicious about being awoken in the early hours of the morning: having already slept a bit, one’s body is often not ready to go back to sleep again – so you lie awake – and worry. Elderly people and those with sleep problems will be particularly affected.
If these are freight flights there is no necessity for them to come in at night. It is not as though Manston is incredibly busy during the day. Some weeks there are hardly any flights at all, day or night.
I am unimpressed by the arguments that the flights are necessary for the airport to expand. Maybe if there were a busy passenger transport business being conducted there, they might have a slight (very, very slight) argument for the occasional night flight. However, as we all know, Manston managed to pass through the peak of cheap passenger flights during the 90’s and 2000’s without managing to attract a successful cheap flight business to its facilities.
When David Foley of the Chamber of Commerce say that “good transport links” will make Thanet more economically viable, he fails to realise that there needs to be demand for good transport to be provided: suggesting we somehow beef up the airport is putting the cart before the horse. He is an intelligent man, and his support for night flights seems rather disingenuous (or maybe he has shares in Infratil). We already have an excellent rail service – there is virtually no demand from Thanet’s businesses for air freight – unless Hornby are flying in their toys from China (are they?).
After some years as a financial journalist, I know that what employers look for above all is a skilled and flexible workforce – once we can provide that, we might then have the industry to require these improved transport links. Employers don’t move here because our population is low skilled and poorly educated on the whole, sadly, not because of the lack of night flights at the local airport.
The fact is, Thanet is blessed by its geography – sufficiently distant from London to be a nice place to “get away” to, it should be building on weekend break tourism, hospitality, renewable energy generation, some light industry, agriculture and fishing. None of these really require an airport. We are surrounded largely by water and cabbages and do not have the population numbers to require an airport.
I am concerned not just about the night flights – but about the airport safety generally, I understand that it does not have a proper safety zone – since the exclusion area actually includes an enormous amount of housing and 5+ primary and infant schools (Chilton, St, Laurence, Ellington, Newington Infant and Junior, Christ Church). Some of these freight planes are old crocks, and since we have lived here (9 years) at least 2 of the operators using Manston have been banned from operating in the EU.
I bought my house in full knowledge of the airport – but the house I live in was built a long time before the airport. I am sure people were patriotically happy to support the RAF having an emergency runway at Manston during the war, just as nowadays we don’t object to emergency flights to disaster areas leaving Manston, but this airport with or without night flights is totally unsuitable for Thanet, and we certainly don’t want night flights.
I do hope you will take notice of this email – which is written from beneath the flight path – and give my opinions the extra weight Clive Hart promised those of us directly affected should have.
I read with interest the work of fiction “plane speaking” that arrived in my post, in reply I would like to offer my opinion.
1. Night flights will make little or no difference to the employment situation in Thanet.
2. It will not make it a more pleasant place to live.
3. It will add noise and pollution to a once famous holiday area, still with exceptional beaches and countryside.
I have not read or heard of one credible argument why “night flights” should be allowed at an underutilised airport, your “public propaganda news letter” did nothing to change my opinion.
No mention of Manston by the government in the additional airport needs for the south of this country. When a new airport is constructed there will be absolutely no need to expand Manston just to close it.
Night flight will do Nothing apart from harm to Thanet. No additional high speed rail links, No improved road access and no extra employment for the area will take place because of night flights this is a complete “red herring”.
In conclusion I agree this has proposal has been hanging around far too long and should be consigned to the “not viable* file at once. Come on Thanet Council do your job and represent the people of Thanet.
I am against the proposed night flights at Manston for the following reasons:
1. Having just a couple a week would be a couple too many, because they would breed a whole lot more.
2. It would lead to an expansion of the airport, with subsequent loss of prime agricultural land and wildlife habitats.
3. Noise always sounds louder at night.
4. Light sleepers have as much right to a decent night’s sleep as anyone else.
5. Anyone suffering from disturbed sleep will perform less well at work or at school.
6. It would create more air pollution.
7. It would increase our carbon footprint and exacerbate global warming when we are supposed to be reducing it.
8. It would encourage further unnecessary air travel.
9. Manston is in the wrong location for night flights, and would present the risk of a crash into nearby residential areas.