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Tag Archives: policy

Cut out the middleman

Looks like Manston may want to filter any responses it receives in the night flight consultation process.

A couple of our readers are shocked and horrified. Not only has Manston somehow managed to insert itself into the consultation process (by inviting people to send their responses direct to the airport), but it appears that anything the airport receives will not necessarily be sent to TDC.

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Public consultation starts on Manston’s night flying proposal

Runs until Friday 2 March 2012

Thanet District Council is now asking members of the public for their views on proposals for regular night-time flying at Manston Airport. The proposals were submitted by Infratil, owners of the airport, on 27 October 2011 and included an aircraft noise assessment report and economic assessment, which are technical reports explaining the implications of the proposal.

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Tit for tat at TDC

Manston is now a political football, and will be kicked around until Infratil take their ball home.

Cllr Bayford, who was Leader of the Council when both of Manston's night flying proposals were received, is now indulging in the time-honoured political tradition of finger-pointing, name-calling and blame-shifting.

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Laura Sandys gets political

Politics is the worst thing that ever happened to democracy, and I only realised this since getting involved in local community campaigns like this one.

The downsides of night flights - noise and other pollution, environmental destruction, reduced quality of life, worse health, more stress, harder-to-teach kids, etc. etc. - are all straightforward facts, and as such are strictly non-political.

The advertised upside of night flights - that they will allow the airport to achieve its master plan and the forecast jobs - is more a matter of belief, trust or interpretation, and as such is likely to coloured by the political colour of your mind/heart.

It's disheartening when political spin and point-scoring produce more heat than light, warming the hearts of political supporters without showing a way forward. (This criticism is emphatically not levelled at Laura alone, not by any means - they're all at it, most of the time, usually when there are better things to be doing.)

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Council’s consultation details

A step at a time, TDC stumbles towards the consultation. Currently, the Council's website also gives a link to the Manston website that you can use to leave feedback on the proposals. I think this is a grave error of judgement on TDC's part - I think all the public contributions to the public consultation should go direct to TDC.


Night-time flying policy for Manston Airport

Public consultation to launch Friday 3 February 2012

From 3 February 2012, Thanet District Council will be asking members of the public for their views on proposals for regular night-time flying at Manston Airport. The proposals were submitted by Infratil, owners of the airport, on 27 October 2011 and included an aircraft noise assessment report and economic assessment, which are technical reports explaining the implications of the proposal.

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Report highlights night flights hype

Nights flights will not be the salvation of Manston airport, according to campaigners who say that a report from a leading transport consultancy backs their views.

Community groups say they do not believe allowing the flights would bring any economic benefit to the residents of Thanet, and may in fact bring harm to the area due to the impact of noise and air pollution.

Many also say that if the proposed operations went ahead, they could actually deter people who might be planning to move their businesses to the area or thinking of buying a home there.

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Council breaks its silence

Thanet District Council have created cock-up out of chaos - a half-arsed consultation, then playing put the genie back in the bottle. It would have been so much simpler just to bat Manston's proposals straight back to them, just as the previous administration did, and for exactly the same reasons.

Originally, the consultation was to last 90 days, be carried out by MORI (for example), and cost £50-£80k. Councillors and members alike have been getting twitchy about the cost, and so they've opted to do it in-house, i.e. on the cheap. There's no suggestion that this will produce a better consultation.

Manston have dragged their feet for years over this, to the extent that even the Council has been appeared quite nimble in comparison. Nonetheless, Clive Hart has tried to allay our impatience by acting swiftly. Personally, for an exercise of this importance, I would rather he did it right than did it soon.

Having just realised that the S106 agreement means that Manston can proceed with whatever night flight policy they like, TDC have decided to wait and see what effect the night flights will have. Erm, quite apart from what their native common sense should be telling them, TDC have now commissioned two independent reports, both of which conclude that the costs of night flights outweigh the benefits.

They are also waiting to see if night flights would result in an "intensification or change of operation" at the airport. Hmmm... tricky one. Currently: 16 hours a day, with scheduled night flights forbidden. Proposed: 24 hours a day, with no limit on night flights. You know what - I think there will be a difference.

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Manston villagers only got half the story

It makes sense to hear both sides of the story, and to hear some of the facts that Mr Buchanan might not tell you. If any other parish councils, residents associations, or other community groups are thinking of discussing night flights, do please feel free to invite the NoNightFlights group to send along someone to speak.

The parishioners of Manston voted in favour of night flights having heard one side of the story from Charles Buchanan. I have no idea why the parish Council didn't let the parishioners hear a balanced view.

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CAA wants more runways

Once upon a time, I thought the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) was independent. Hah! Fool.

I had assumed that as the regulatory body for the aviation industry, the CAA would be knowledgeable about (but independent of) the industry, and probably linked to the government (Dept of Transport?) in some way. No.

The CAA is entirely funded by the industry it regulates, and doubles up as an official-sounding (and well-funded) mouthpiece for the nation's propellor-heads. This explains why they keep churning out unquestioningly pro-aviation agitprop...

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