Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Thor mercury poisoned Margate site worse than expected

Thor mercury worse than expected

I do not think I’ve ever seen anything quite like this.

Thor mercury: poisoning water table, workers, Margate, Africa etc etc. The Enron of toxic waste and several multi-million pound lawsuits. Closed in 1988. Several deaths.

The factory in Margate (next to Hornby and BandQ) has still been storing and producing chemicals until four years ago - with the approval of the Environment Agency. And a full clean-up hasn’t even started.

Today (today!) the EA are talking of starting legal action at the site.

And the former Thor Health and Safety officer is working for the clean-up company who are reporting to the Environment Agency.

After 20 years there is no full detail of the poisons on the site or the fire of 2 years ago nor the extent of the polluted water underground.

It’s the tea and biscuits and manana approach to one of the worst polluting incidents in Britain or Africa.

Coupled with nearby Sericol and 500 tonnes of polluted soil nearby and 3 years of Infratil happily polluting the sea with aviation fuel and the knowledge of KCC and the Environment Agency it just beggars belief.

And the EA seem surprised that there’s scrutiny of this.

When were they aiming for clean-up? Another 20 years?

And the chemicals? Mercury, Benzene and just about every toxin known to mankind.

Clearly the politicians have turned a blind eye to Infratil I hope they've done the same with Thor as otherwise it means the Environment Agency have in effect been doing nothing for 20 years.

Just astonishing.

The key issues seem to be from this:

Why is Thor handling cleanup with occasional EA site visits – presumably no other agencies

Why is the factory listed as closed in 1988: given the various deaths etc

How can the EA allow any manufacture without cleanup first (from 1988-2003) and from 2003-07

What was the 2007 fire

Unrestricted vehicle and foot access sounds very dangerous given Thor’s activity to date and either removing chemicals by traffic or unseen dumping: there is no monitoring of these

How much soil and water, if any, have been removed?

From 1988 to date this seems very low levels of cleanup

Water has migrated from the site and is not mapped?

From this info when is full cleanup forecast and who by?

Who are the EA/Thor/other teams for cleanup?

As discussed earlier all these points seem exactly the concerns of essentially unmonitored and actioned cleanup. I’ve alerted the Police already in case tighter security is required.

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Thor and mercury poisoning: dosage levels in flesh

The Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare has set the safe level of total mercury at 0.4 parts per million (ppm) for marine foods (the U.S. level is set at 1.0 ppm).

Toothed whales--including porpoise, dolphin, and some whale species--are top predators in the sea life food chain and feed on smaller fish which therefore tend to accumulate higher loads of pollutants such as mercury.

Between 2000 and 2002, a team of scientists led by Tetsuya Endo, a professor in the Department of Clinical Toxicology and Metabolism at the Health Sciences University of Hokkaido, purchased whale meat samples from markets across the country.

The researchers measured total mercury levels and performed genetic analysis to verify the species of each sample. Their findings were published in the 15 June 2003 edition of Environmental Science & Technology.

Samples of Dall's porpoise, the most commonly harvested cetacean in Japan, had an average total mercury level of 1.26 ppm, with the highest sample at 2.51 ppm. Samples of false killer whale had an average total mercury level of 46.9 ppm, with a high of 81.0 ppm.

"This shows that pollution levels in the ocean are at such a bad level that even filter feeders are bioaccumulating some kinds of contaminants," says Frank Cipriano, director of the Conservation Genetics Laboratory at San Francisco State University.

Perhaps even more alarming are the results of a separate study in which the team sampled mixtures of boiled internal organs--sold in packages in retail outlets--for total mercury and essential heavy metals. In samples of boiled small cetacean livers purchased between 1999 and 2001, the researchers found an average total mercury level of 370.0 ppm. Two samples had total mercury levels that topped 1,970.0 ppm.

"These levels are a thousand times greater than the worst samples that we get in predatory fish in the United States," says Charles Santerre, an environmental toxicologist at Purdue University. "With a tuna steak, you might get one part per million of mercury. This problem in Japan is in a different league altogether."

In their report, published in the December 2002 issue of The Science of the Total Environment, Endo and colleagues noted that acute mercury intoxication could result from a single meal of whale internal organs, with effects that can include serious nervous system symptoms, staggering, coma, and death.

They called on the Japanese government to regulate human consumption of whale and dolphin internal organs.

Clearly there are different reasons around the world for mercury contaminants. And slightly different safe dosage levels.

And humans are a lot smaller than whales but a bit bigger than fish and dolphins.

A report from Thor mercury in South Africa described:

The profit motive and poor state control enabled Thor to cut health and safety requirements to
the extent that 28% of the workforce was diagnosed as having mercury poisoning. They
received R800 a month and were uninformed of the potential dangers of and precautions to
take against mercury poisoning.

Employees when sick were either removed to another part of the factory or disposed off. It was stated that when workers recorded high levels of mercury contaminating levels they were advised to drink orange juice in order to expedite the excretion of excess mercury.

According to a worker at Thor Siphiwe Sibiya, “if you touched your lips with your tongue or washed your face there was a bitter taste. My nails went black. Sometimes I would take off my mask to find blood in it. Then my nose bleeding, my hands shaking.”

That's why Thor Margate was closed in the 1980's.

Clearly the toxicity accumulates in flesh from eating fish and other marine life, and being exposed to mercury in various forms - and creates ongoing genetic disorders.

There is in effect no safe level as toxicity builds - and on into future generations.

Thor mercury is one of the most notorious mercury poisoning companies with its legacy in Margate and Africa and several deaths and water pollution detailed over many years.

The EA seem unsure of the problems. TDC simply have no idea of what is happening.

Mercury and Aviation fuel and water supplies quire literally do not mix.

There seems an almost deliberate disregard for safe monitroring to allow Thor and Manston to operate with almost no scrutiny.

In 2006 the Environment Agency recommended fuel interceptors at Manston to afegurard the drinking water and prevent dumping of fuel - with its cocktail of chemicals - into the sea.

Nothing has happened.

TDC deliberately allow Infratil to continue aviation fuel dumping into the sea endangering the population, and simply have no idea what Thor mercury are doing or when the clean-up will continue.

Thanet's drinking water and seawater seems to be deliberately endangered.

Tomorrow: the effects of aviation fuel and Policy #6 electoral reform

Monday, 23 February 2009

Policy #5: Development not Over-Development

As MP I will halt the development boom of Concrete Kent in Thanet.

We are overbuilding far beyond South East targets as mere property speculation for the construction industry.

I will insist construction is refocused on renovating both public housing and empty properties: over 3,000 empty properties in Thanet - for years - before one brick is laid on new build.

The idea of a 4th Town at Westwood Cross should also be ripped up as property and Planning overkill given vacant properties, an ageing population and a failed economy.

And on prime farmland when Climate Change is a major issue and Food Security in preserving our farmland to reduce food imports.

And of course major derelict brownfield sites such as Manston airport, Richboro: derelict longer than in operation, and many more.

Councils are notorious for being focused on property and construction where the main parties get their kickbacks for handing out Planning permissions.

Far greater scrutiny of the Planning system is required. And greater action on “squeezing in a few more houses on the plot footprint” or an “extra couple of floors” or a “modern annex to an existing property” or “demolition because of the DDA Disability Discrimination Act”.

Or "a new motorway/cargo airprot/ring road/warehouses" are desperately needed. FOr the construction industry.

And of course Margate seafront needs securing from fires and Ramsgate seafront from lack of basic repairs.

I will help ensure there is a Development Masterplan for each town and village that ensures the uniqueness of East Kent is preserved and properly modernised rather than identikit Lego towns.

I will support both traditional Kent construction techniques and modern Climate Change techniques.

I will oppose every industrial warehouse and warehouse/business park/residential mix park that is excessive or does not meet these criteria.

Development not Demolition and Development for the Climate Change Age and Development for East Kent.

Planning and the Construction industry have a full role to play in ensuring: More jobs. Better jobs. The right skills for the job. For this generation and future ones.

Much of Thanet is a cCOnservation Area: I will help enforce and extedn this - and that doesmnn't mean the towns remian frozen in aspic rather they have full and sustainable devleopment that's right for the area.

The clock stopped in 1978 in Thanet for preserving and developing the area. The old policies of semi-industrial developments are both absurd and failed.

Time for Change.

To volunteer to help implement this manifesto and fundraising and stand as Independent and Green councillors in East Kent then please contact me.

Tomorrow: a catch up on the effects of aviation fuel and mercury poisoning then Policy #6: Electoral reform

Friday, 20 February 2009

Policy #4: Pollution - grave concerns

Policy #4: Pollution

As MP I will end the rampant pollution in Toxic Thanet.

Only now are TDC and KCC creating a detailed contaminated land schedule but still no clean-up schedule.

Councillors and MP’s and Civil servants simply have no idea of the scale of the task or the deadly consequences. For years.

A. Mercury poisoning

Thor mercury is a notorious company responsible not only for poisoning its own workers and the water table in Margate before its closure in 1988. But then took the same factory equipment and systems to South Africa and Cato Ridge and poisoned them!

One of Nelson Mandela’s first tasks on release from jail was to close Thor.

A multi-million pound compensation scheme is available for workers killed or maimed by mercury exposure.

Mercury like aviation fuel: kerosene, benzene etc is one of the most dangerous chemicals known to mankind.

A fire at the Margate plant in 2007 suggests the clean-up is not complete (after 20 years) and MP or Police statements to simply "close your windows" in the event of a fire is hardly reassuring.

As MP I will ensure Harvey Bradshaw and Andrew Ogden at the Environment Agency and KCC and TDC publish full reports on Thor and other sites clean-up. And actually do it. Quickly.

I will ensure Margate’s workers past and present access the compensation scheme and I will invite the poisoned African workers to Kent to see the origins of their problems.

Time to end mercury poisoning.

B. Asbestos

The scandal of 100 deaths from asbestos in East Kent must end. As MP I will ensure all asbestos sites and buildings are detailed and properly cleaned-up. Quickly.

A personal anecdote from my time in jail fighting my trademark case was that several buildings were riddled with asbestos but “elf n safety” meant it was fine - with just a sign on the door.

Tickboxes don’t save lives. Prompt action from the tickboxes does.

Time to clean up asbestos.

C. Infratil

When the airport is closed I will ensure Infratil pay the full cost of the pollution impacts from repeated breaches of the 106 operating guidelines – as TDC and KCC must know.

A set of village hall chairs or a DVD player from a $1Bn aviation company is not the full price for the range of cancers and genetic and breathing disorders found around airports.

The NHS must also provide - as in Europe and USA - public reports on these pollution impacts.

Airports are hardly producing marshmallows.

They are one of the most toxic industries in the world.

Time for Infratil to pay for poisoning their public.

D. Sericol

I respect Sericol for doing the right thing and alerting the Police to the problems of solvents at their old site. Accidents do happen. Open and fast action can save lives.

Now with 30 years of pollution and 15 years of clean up I will insist as MP all records are public and details of the 500 tonnes of polluted soil and effluent are recorded.

With the pumps at the boreholes switched off since May 2008 I will insist the Environment Agency reveals the full extent of the pollution and clean-up schedule.

Where is the TDC and councillor monitoring? There is none.

Time to clean up the Sericol site.

E. Pegwell Bay

Infratil and TDC and KCC and the Environment Agency are privately allowing the repeated spillage of aviation fuel over the water table and into Pegwell Bay a UNESCO wetland.

As MP when the airport is closed I will ensure the full clean up costs are recharged to Infratil.

Also the bizarre planning permission of the petrol station and its fuel tanks are sited right on the flood plain. This will be revoked and resited.

I will ensure Kent Police request the extradition of Steve Fitzgerald the former CEO from Australia for questions on their pollution performance.

Time to stop polluting Pegwell bay.

F. The Taste Test

As MP I will ensure all water quality records for drinking water, sea water and improved Blue Flag status are publicly displayed and monitored at all times.

And I will call on the CEO of the Environment Agency and TDC for the Taste Test: the annual taking of the waters to ensure quality.

I wouldn’t recommend it right now.

Time for better water by the coast.

These issues are serious. And being treated as mere political footballs and incompetence.

Monday: Policy #5: Development

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Policy #3: End ChinaGate

Thanet’s largest-ever planning application was passed almost unanimously by Thanet councillors. ChinaGate. Again with no consultation and almost total public opposition.

Quite rightly ChinaGate has been quietly brushed under the carpet but isn’t it time to end ChinaGate properly?

Thanet's failed council needs closure on its imcompetence na ffailure to move forward.

Shouldn’t TDC recognise the errors of procedure and improve their consultation process: sadly the systems are those used by any council. Which means that, as with any organisation, it’s only as good as the people in it.

As MP I will ensure closure of ChinaGate.

Thanet is a failed council as evaluated by the Government itself. No wonder there are so many failed regeneration projects, widespread pollution and fake consultations.

We have 48 councillors that have not only totally misjudged the will of the people but now refuse to end ChinaGate and reverse the application.

And all our MP’s and candidates supported it on the flimsiest of evidence or statements.

Time for Change.

As MP I will call on the public to vote out each councillor for failure and of course (as Policy #1) insist on a vote of no confidence to sack the Gang of Four.

CGP’s application should be revoked and I am unclear why both a back-to-front building from the plans, has been constructed on the aquifer, and not on brownfield sites.

The supposed Chinese employers (Jobs! Jobs!! Jobs!!! - but don’t look too closely sounds familiar) have disappeared and Tesco bag of receipts from TDC’s moles reveal senior council figures travelling to China on the developer’s funds.

No prior detail was ever revealed and nothing subsequently.

A development without detail. What an abuyse of the publc and demcoracy.

A £25,000 donation has also been paid to Ramsgate Labour Party and MP and similar donations discussed by the Conservatives.

We now have a disconnect between the parties serving the public and funding their own party machine in this part of Kent.

Will these moniers be used to fund the election to maintain corruption and failure?

Time to end ChinaGate: cancel the planning application, remove the building and limit developments to brownfield sites like the (Policy #2) closed Manston airport.

Providing proper FOI scrutiny with webcasts and broadcasts for Council meetings, voting records to evaluate councillor policies and tighter scrutiny of Planning can only help prevent fiascos like ChinaGate at a failed council.

And for the public to vote out their failed councillors and civil servants.

As MP I will request a formal call-in of the application and a Parliamentary enquiry into ChinaGate. Cargo warehouses and ring roads of course are an issue with no cargo airport in Kent.

But one 20 miles away in Ostend.

Nor any effective regeneration in months and years and decades.

Tomorrow: Policy #4: Development

Time for Change.

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Policy #2: Close Manston.

I understand some people, and almost all councillors and MP's, support Manston.

I do not based on all the information I’ve seen.

As MP I will close the airport.

And, whether you support an airport or not – the simple fact is Manston cannot be expanded due to the pollution impacts.

Infratil have operated the airport in the most cavalier and deliberately underhand manner.

TDC and KCC have wilfully assisted them and misled the public.

Airports are the largest and most complex and dangerous piece of infrastructure outside of a nuclear power station. And they cause cancer.

The public of Thanet face real danger from the TDC and Infratil abuses at ManstonGate.

My 2nd task with Chief Executive Bunnett is to immediately suspend all flights to and from Manston, withdraw CAA status and request Kent Police are stationed at the aircraft, terminal and gates.

Matt Clarke the 27 year old Kent airport Chief Executive should have his passport witheld while he provides Police statements on the 106 breaches and pollution.

I will not seek criminal charges for the Gang of Four at this stage.

Airport staff will be retained on full wages, and Infratil’s assets seized as necessary to fund wages, retrospective fines and pollution clean-up costs.

Infratil and Manston are a complete scandal removing noise and air monitors, refusing to provide mobile monitors and fudging the figures as well as deliberately breaching all the 106 safeguards.

I will request Kent Police and Special Branch issue a warrant for the arrest and extradition of Steve Fitzgerald the Infratil Europe CEO and request that Infratil Prestwick and Lubeck are subject to Police investigation based on the ManstonGate scandals.

A formal complaint to SEEDA, SEERA, CAA, EA and GOSE for failed Planning will be submitted in Parliament.

I will commission a formal report detailing “The ManstonGate Failures” for the Parliamentary Transport Committee to help inform the airport and climate change debate, the abuses of Infratil and aviation methodologies and local government. And request proper NHS guidelines for UK airports and the “Cancer Circle” of birth defects, genetic disorders, asthma and cancers.

Manston is a failed RAF base. A failed passenger airport and a failed cargo airport – 20 miles from Ostend Cargo Airport and built on the towns’ drinking water supply.

ManstonGate is Kent plumbing the depths of incompetence and scandal and is now kept open as a political white elephant to prevent yet another failed Council policy in Thanet being confirmed.

Our councillors and MP's have failed the public.

I will close Manston - and create more and better jobs.

Outline redevelopment opportunities are: return to farmland providing jobs in brownfield site clean-up, improving the death-trap perimeter road, a 2012 Olympic swimming pool and water park using the natural aquifers, and a mini-Kings Hill for more jobs. I will also ask for a feasibility report on providing a free Summer Coach for passenger flights from Gatwick for 2 years.

I cannot stress enough the abuses and dangers posed by Infratil and Manston to date.

I will close the airport.

Time for Change.

Tomorrow: Policy #3: Clean-up Thanet and ChinaGate.

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Policy #1: Sack the Gang of Four

As MP my first job will be to create real change in Thanet – and sack the Gang of Four.

Messrs Latchford, Ezekiel, Samuel and White will be dismissed as part of a Parliamentary Inquiry into TDC as a Failed Council.

Not just a council that’s not particularly good - but deeply failed over months and years and decades.

We have the disgusting spectacle of the water being polluted and poisoned and known to all our 58 councillors and civil servants.

Root and branch reform is required.

And the first task will be to sack The Gang of Four and appoint Deputy Executive John Bunnett on existing salary not the current bloated rates, to provide a report on the failures to Parliament.

If he is unable or unwilling to do the job then a replacement will be sought.

This report will provide the basis for “Thanet Council: 35 years of failure 1974-2009” to document the people and policies that have created such a disastrous state of affairs: Margate the town that burned down and Ramsgate the town that fell down.

And economic desolation as Kent’s Jarrow.

Reform of public sector salaries and pensions is required: we are rewarding failure with automatic salary increases and feather-bedded pensions.

We seem to have lost sight of the very basic and effective principles of public sector service: to provide the functions and services that the private sector cannot or will not provide with a modest-sized public sector and modest tax-take.

Overseen and rigorously scrutinised by elected officials to ensure value.

We have the worst of all possible worlds in Thanet: expensive, over-staffed and underperforming services – led from the top with disastrous party political sleaze and a cosy club such as ChinaGate and ManstonGate.

And – because it’s a cosy club of ask no questions then little changes. Organisations are as effective as their leadership allow them to be.

Time for Change

Job cuts and salary and pension cuts are required – with rewards based on results.

TDC is a failed council with little purpose beyond tidying up the filing cabinets for the next Audit Commission failure.

Root and branch reform is required.

Failure is one thing. But we have systemic failure without hope of reform. Until now.

Sack the Gang of Four and begin the change in Thanet.

Too many East Kent MP’s are backbench pontificators and professional politicians - if there could be such a thing of value - rather than being able to lead real reform in the regions.

I can and I will.

Steve Ladyman has a majority of only 600 votes. He cannot win again.

Laura Sandys has no local knowledge or ideas.

Labour and Tory activists who believe in real change and are tired of the failures at TDC know this and I welcome them to my campaign.

Time for Change.

Policy #1: Sack the Gang of Four and provide a Parliamentary enquiry of the failures at TDC.

Tomorrow my 2nd action as MP: cleaning up the poisoning and pollution of our water supplies by TDC, KCC and Infratil.

Volunteers are required to create real change for fundraising, campaigning and running the office.

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Time for Change in Thanet

It should come as no surprise to most people in the local area and Kent that Thanet: Ramsgate, Margate and Broadstairs and Villages is rated one of the worst-governed areas in Britain.

As a resident and businessman I can stand the incompetence and sleaze and failure no longer.

The drinking water and air have been poisoned and polluted and the politicians either "debate" it, pass the buck or stay silent.

The same applies for almost any policy in our failed region.

Margate used to have 2M visitors.

Other UK regions still do.

Ramsgate used to have fishing and pleasure fleets. Broadstairs used to have a vibrant town centre and seafront.

Other UK regions still do.

Failed. Failed. Failed.

Time for Change.

1. I will stand against Steve Ladyman as the sitting MP: after 10 years and with a majority now of only 600 votes Steve will be defeated.

2. I will stand against Laura Sandys the parachute Tory candidate: Laura is a party official and has no local understanding or opinions.

3. I will call for the resignation of Roger Gale MP of Margate: after 25 years, his town has burned down and there are no policies for improvement - only a shifting of the electoral boundaries to split Margate in two.

4. I call for the sacking of the The Gang of Four: Messrs Latchford, Ezekiel, Samuel and White for both incompetence and the deliberate endangering of the public at Manston, Thor and Sericol.

5. My personal politics are, like most people, utter shame and embarrassment at the antics of our local and national politicians.

I am left of centre on social issues and right of centre on business. Overall I have a deep concern at the very real environmental dangers of Climate Change anmd support many of the policies of the Green party and Friends of the Earth. These views will form the framework of my policies.

I am free of party-political posturing and will take a pragmatic and open view of what is best for Thanet and Kent and the UK.

I call on Labour and Tory politicians and activists in Thanet to support me as the only option for change.

I will be the first Independent Green MP in Parliament - sending a very real message to the UK of the importance of green issues and the Garden of England.

6. I will seek the closure of Manston airport with Infratil facing criminal charges and fines for deliberately endangering the public, removing noise monitors, breaching UK and EU airspace with banned aircraft and polluting the UNESCO site at Pegwell bay.

7. I will ensure and Independent Ramsgate Town Council with minimal party politics - and to remove the failed councillors to date. I will also seek a Margate Town Council as the last remaining unparished area in Thanet to provide grass-roots democracy.

I will seek the immediate formation of an RTC Council-in-waiting to remove failed councillors or the "packing" of the council with the same faces. I support Malcolm Kirkaldie and will stand in his place if he wishes.

For too long, the petty town tribalism has both held back regeneration and allowed incompetent policies to be heard at District level.

Our councilors have failed.

8. With £110M in bank charges and an underpsend of £5.8Bn I will call on KCC as the receiver of 80% of Thanet tax to reverse the years of being "Maidstone County Council" and provide direct funding to the area.

Greater organisational reform at KCC and electoral reform for the County is required.

I will consider support for East Kent Council - coupled with real reform.

9. On regeneration and economic policy - as well as the above, I will tear up the existing vision of KCC/TDC and: close Manston for farmland/mini Kings Hill development, suspend all development at Westwood Cross and plans for a 4th town, emphasise tourism, KCC relocation of services and "a 2nd Pfizer" to encourage a more diversified economy.

I will seek seafront funding, IT funding and tourism growth from the Landings project in Ramsgate, an IMAX cinema and traditional Dreamland in Margate and a Natural East Kent park and UNESCO designation for Thanet.

The latest ferry announcement seems little more than electoral flannel but I support better ferry/tourism links and improvement of the Marina including dredging.

If the current or replacement TDC regime cannot improve these facilities then I will remove them from their control and create Community Interest Companies.

10. National UK policies will be supported by my vote in Parliament for any party or group prepared to support Thanet and Kent.

I will write to the Electoral Commission and KCC and TDC confirming my standing as Parliamentary candidate for South Thanet and outlining the policies above.

I will publicly announce my standing on Tuesday 17th February at 8pm at Albion House - Ramsgate's Town Hall.

Every Tuesday at 7:30pm from that date will be a Parliamentary and Town Council session to discuss your views on how best to represent and improve the area.

Time for Change.

If you can help reverse the decades of failure in Thanet then please email me on

I require volunteers for leafletting, petitions and fundraising.

Further policies are outlined below and the technical aspects of this site will be upgraded in the next month.