Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Toxic Thanet: Thor, Manston, Smoking, Ferry, Steve and SEEDA

A bit of miscellaneous stuff today in a round-up:

* Manston airport: the Gang of Four allowing repeated noise and air pollution. There seems the bizarre idea that noise may Ramsgate only but that the downdraft of aviation fuel doesn't affect the whole of East Kent. Hence the "political" decision to switch flights from Ramsgate to Herne Bay as the noise and air pollution complaints rise. And removing the noise and air monitors from the towns: no data no problem. The seriousness of aviation fuel pollution hardly needs spelling out but a long article at the end of this post from Caroline Lucas MEP who spoke in Ramsgate with AirportWatch in December on Manston and Infratil: the article is about the dangers to the few hundred passengers INSIDE a jumbo jet as contaminated air is fed back into the plane. Scale that up to the hundreds of thousands of people in East Kent. And Lydd. And Rochester for Kent's cargo airport policy. Lot of pollution. Lot of early deaths. I've bene invited atop a Parliamentary meeting on Climate Change: upto 24,000 deaths in UK just from road pollution. No mention of planes or the "Cancer Circle" around airports. No data. No problem.

* Thor: Environment Agency sloooowly working out a plan after 20 years of doing nothing. Glad I didn't waste a day at the Ashford International Hotel seminar. A nice philosophical debate with Alan Dengate of EA that things could be in hand. Except they're not as the site wasn't closed and the contaminated water has spread beyond the site. Thank goodness it's only 3 years since they warned Infratil and TDC not to allow dumping of aviation fuel into Pegwell Bay. Which they ignored. A permit may be issued or a stiff memo. I've invited Alan and Harvey Bradshaw and Andrews Pearce and Ogden down for a taste test at the sites if all is OK. I'm not touching the stuff.

* No Smoking day: cigarettes are bad for you. Thanet has one of the highest lung cancer rates in Kent if not Britain. It could be a wildly skewed level in smoking. Or a general mix of aviation fuel, old coal mines, a touch of mercury etc. I wouldn't bet on it being Marlboro rather than Manston alone.

* Steve Ladyman heading up a South East Parliament Group for SEEDA: terrific, many congratulations. My experience of SEEDA - and it's probably a template for much of the civil service - is great plans, huge budgets and no action whatsoever. Before hurriedly handing over to the private sector. SEEDA in East Kent have built a few warehouses - with a matching set of developers' houses - on old coal mines that remain empty. To be fair, the destruction of Margate also rests with TDC who draw on SEEDA funding and experience for research - as to why it burned down.

* Ramsgate ferry: I certainly hope it happens. But, sounds like a pre-election stunt. Politicians and civil servants scurrying aropund realising nothing's happened and and elections are looming. Lots of news. No deal signed. Even if it is it would be for one year: safely past the elections. No sign of foot passengers on the - already existing - Ostend ferry.

Tomorrow: electoral reform.

No comments: