The Conservative leader of Kent County Council has hit back at MPs who criticised the authority over its failure to protect Manston as an airport.
Cllr Paul Carter has formally complained about a report published by the cross-party transport select committee, saying it is a travesty, misleading and should be withdrawn.
MPs on the committee took KCC to task in a highly critical report issued last week, which said the council had failed in its duty as transport authority.
The Manston Airport terminal building
Now Mr Carter has hit back, saying he has concerns about the way the report was written and accusing MPs of failing to understand what the authority’s role in aviation is.
In a letter to Louise Ellman, the chairman of the House of Commons transport select committee, Mr Carter writes:
“I have serious concerns in the way a number of issues are presented and a specific factual inaccuracy.”
He says the committee was wrong to contend that as the local transport authority for Kent, it had “strategic oversight of aviation.”
“This misrepresents the position and the conclusions made based on this presumption are therefore flawed. KCC, like all local transport authorities, has very limited powers in regards to aviation and most of these are exercised with the permission of the Secretary of State and do not apply here.”
He also takes exception to the MPs’ comments regarding the motion KCC passed by county councillors to support Manston.
“The motion passed did not intimate that it [KCC] would necessarily support a Compulsory Purchase Order by Thanet District Council. What it did do was support the actions taken so far by Thanet District Council to retain Manston as a regional airport.”
He ends: “I really do consider this report to be a travesty of the actuality and the report should be withdrawn and reconsidered.”
MPs concluded that despite having the legal and financial resources to assess complex CPO cases, the county council failed to “deploy those assets.”