Sunday, 29 November 2009

Improved air monitoring at Manston

Except it's not.

It's making air monitoring worse by....removing the most advanced monitor at Manston.

The Kentmere Avenue monitor right at the end of the runway.

It's strange that this release plops out from Cheryl and Penny the day after I'd asked Penny for clarification on the data from the Kentmwere monitor and the flight logs.

And bizarrely this release is from last week announcing the changes that were August - at the time of the night flight announcements.

It's pretty clear we're expected to swallow this flannel and bullshot along with the failures in monitoring at an airport that was slated for expansion through a mix of council and Infratil collusion.

And rank incompetence in expanding it on the water supply and just down the road from Heathrow and Ostend.

But I'm picky about being poisoned. Maybe you are too. Maybe even TDC's own staff and councillors are too.

Aviation fuel doesn't fall like stair rods under the plane does it - it drifts over a wide area like smog.

Why are monitors being removed from an airport. You'd be increasing them surely? Why has the mobile monitor after many promises from Richard Samuel and Brian White never appeared?

It can't be money. The bizarre night flights consultation that's delayed until the public anger subsides has a vote of £80k for the consultation that isn't even in the budget. Even for racks of monitors.

Why have the removed noise monitors never being replaced?

If you're picky aboput being poisoned drop Cheryl a line and ask her why the sudden announcement and what were the benzene readings over the last 5 years.

If as the release says the monitor was faulty then why wasn't it replaced.

And the part about only diffusion tubes being used at Heathrow is cobblers: as you'd expect electronic 24/7 monitoring like the Kentmere monitor is also used.

We seem to have lies and aviation fuel on the rates.

Which is quite a dangerous game for Richard and Brian and Sandy and Roger and Cheryl and Penny - the highest lung cancer rate in Kent doesn't happen from Scotch mist. And the Police take a dim view of a rising death rate and air monitor data being compromised.

It's called manslaughter.

Tomorrow: Kent Air Quality monitoring for Kent by not monitoring air quality in Kent.

They're good our civil servants aren't they.

Thank goodness the councillors are on top of all this handing out P45's or calling in the Police.

Failed. Failed. Failed.

Time for Change.

From: Cheryl Pendry [] Sent: 25 November 2009 15:36Subject: IMPROVEMENTS TO AIRPORT AIR QUALITY MONITORING


Improvements have been made to how air quality is monitored at Kent International Airport.

A new system is now being used to provide consistent, reliable and verifiable data, with which to monitor air quality throughout Thanet. Benzene diffusion tubes located in both Manston and Minster are being used to monitor levels. These tubes are checked monthly, with the results published on the Air Quality in Kent and Medway website at

The decision to use diffusion tubes was taken, following advice from Government air quality experts, as the system previously being used was a complex and sophisticated piece of equipment that was not appropriate for monitoring a small regional airport.

Advice was taken about how air quality is monitored at major airports, with Heathrow and Gatwick both using the diffusion tubes, rather than the continuous monitoring. The monthly diffusion tubes are also the accepted standard nationally for measuring the annual mean level of benzene, which is the measure that councils are obliged to record.

Nitrogen dioxide is still continuously measured from two sites in Manston and Ramsgate. Results from this monitoring shows that nitrogen dioxide was below the average mean objective between August 2008 and August 2009.

Benzene levels within Thanet, as measured through diffusion tubes, are well below the National Air Quality Objective, meaning that there is no issue regarding pollution with benzene.

Penny Button, Environmental Protection Manager, said: "We are confident that these changes will still provide a good level of air quality readings and certainly ones that are in line with the accepted standard nationally. When we looked into this and discovered that we were using a different way of monitoring air quality than Heathrow and Gatwick, which are major airports and have considerably more flights than we get here at Kent International Airport, it's clear that we needed to find a new way of monitoring in the future. Our investigations suggest that this way will be more reliable and I'm sure that's something that local people would welcome."

All air quality monitoring data from Thanet can be found at


Cheryl PendryPress and Media ManagerThanet District Council Tel: 01843 577 034Fax: 01843 295 343

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

The Kentmere Ave monitor at Manston

Strange that this monitor was removed on 1st August – wasn’t that around the time of the announcement of night flights by TDC and Infratil?

The Kentmere monitor is right at the end of the Manston runway next to the housing estate nearest the airport so quite important you’d think for public health and safety.

It’s by far the most advanced monitor at Manston: electronic readings, 24/7, benzene etc etc. All the other monitors now are dabs of cotton wool along the perimeter road.

Apparently the monitor was “constantly malfunctioning” which is strange after all these years.

And the removal of the noise monitors by Infratil and TDC from 2006.

So at the time of airport expansion, Infratil and TDC have repeatedly removed monitoring, never provided the mobile monitoring and never sought to improve monitoring.

Now you know and I know that if you want to expand the most polluting industries in an area it’s very difficult as the monitoring has to be robust to ensure the death rate doesn’t rise too high.

Local people get very picky when their relatives and friends and neighbours start dying off.

So why have the Gang of Four of Latchford, Samuel, White and Ezekiel repeatedly allowed the reduction of monitoring. No explanation. No clarification. Certainly nothing’s that’s believable beyond mere bullshot and bluster and deceit.

And why have all the councillors kept schtum on this?

Not a dicky bird now from Ladyman, Gale and Sandys.

And still the planes fly over the towns.

And land on the water supply.

What happens if there’s a crash now in the dying days of Infratil? Fine words from our MP’s and civil servants and councillors?

Still there are no toxin reports on Thor.

Still no cleanup schedules.

We seem to have councillors and civil servants that are deliberately jeopardising the public for their own careers.

Which councillor will propose a vote of no confidence in Messrs Samuel and White to begin the dismissal process?

Which councillors will begin the leadership and dismissal process for Messrs Ezekiel and Latchford?

Removing noise and air monitors is acceptable at an airport slated for expansion?

Councillors supporting night flights.

The Gang of Four, like the public, must be wondering if jail time isn’t required.

Coppers have children too. Lawyers have children. Magistrates have children. Shopkeepers have children. Office workers have children.

That’s a lot of people affected by air and noise and water pollution from Infratil, Pegwell, Thor and Richboro and the Gasworks sites.

All derelict. All polluted. For years.

It can't be money. 80 Finance staff on the rates. 14 lawyers on the rates. £2M investmentrs lost. £60M council tax raised. a £7M reserve each year. 0%-but-£30k-pay-rises

It can't be time. A 30% increase in staffing. Trips to China with the ChinaGate developer.

It can't be error. The problems could have been identified and fixed long ago. Replacement monitors. Cleanup of contaminated sites.

They just don't have a clue do they? Mere bumf and bluster to cover up failure and dereliction.

We seem stuck with fools and knaves in Thanet who are deliberately endangering the public.

And know nothing more than spending public funds on more civil servants and more dereliction.

Mere empty thrashing around for bureaucratic bloat, increased salaries and more failure.

But not noise monitors or air monitors.

And what ever happened to the Infratil Fund to compensate e the public for noise and air pollution? A DVD player and some village hall chairs last year? Nothing since then?

And what about the 6 dumped jumbo jets on the water supply?

Failed. Failed. Failed.

Time for Change.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

The TDC headcount in full

Dear Mr Garbutt

Thank you for your communication received on 14/10/2009.

I can respond to your queries as follows:

1. If you can email which companies/amounts TDC invests in each year - a summary is fine. Is the £2m investment a reduction or a fall in shares performance?

At 31 March 2008 the Council had the following investments:
- Glitner Bank £3.016m
- Irish Nationwide Building Society £4.041m
- Landsbanki Islands £1.001m
- Bank of Scotland £1.005m

At 31 March 2009 the Council had the following investments:
- Debt Management Office £5.9m
- Alliance and Leicester £1.036m

The level of investments depends entirely on cash flow requirements and therefore the level of investments at year end can vary significantly between years.

(Weren't we told by TDC that they hadn't invested in Icelandic Banks and it's hardly spectacualr investing in the "Debt Management Office" ie putting the funds back into the Treasury. But with a £2M loss).

2. Payroll: please provide with any censored info. Seems unecessary secrecy:

I note councillors names/costs are public. Also the headcount by dept.

This is a request for personal data which is exempt under S44 of the 2000 Freedom of Information Act. However, I can confirm that the headcount per department is as follows:

Chief Executive's Department 16
Community Services 105
Customer Services 142
Environmental Services 275
Finance and Corporate Services 80
Legal and Democratic Services 14
Regeneration and Economic Development 102

Total 734

(A 25% increase in staffing in 2 years. And why the secrecy on revealing civil servants expenses and salary and cars? It's all public funds).

3. Tram Shelter: no money was paid to TDC?

As explained in my previous response, we have been unable to trace whether we received any insurance monies for this site.

(Strange I understand insurancs money was collected but it seems to have been swallowed up on salaries and the like. Not effective administration if they can't even trace the funds.).

4. EKO is made up of TDC and KCC therefore is public but please forward Baker Tilly details also

I can confirm that Baker Tilly's details are as follows:

Baker Tilly UK Audit LLP
Chartered Accountants
Hanover House
18 Mount Ephraim Road
Tunbridge Wells
Kent TN1 1ED

(Strange to set up a mini-quango of TDC and KCC - then incur extra costs setting it up as a "company" and a need for an audit when it's all public officials and public funds. Utter waste and lack of transparency).

5. A £7m reserve is held each year and then continually carried over?

As previously explained, the £7m balance relates to the investments held at the end of the 2008/09 financial year.

This money is drawn down when required to meet the Council's financial outgoings. The amount held will vary from year to year.

(A £7M reserve each year is excessive padding for muck-ups but at least shows there's plenty of fat in the TDC system.)

It's as if the civil servants don't have the foggiest on running towns well, and the councillors don't seem to be holding them to account.

How can councillors evaluate TDC's performance if they don't have the payroll and expenses etc?

The civil servants must be running rings round them.

Where has all the money gone? On more civil service jobs. Bowler hats on top of bowler hats until the towns fall down and burn down and then it's claimed that tax increases and cuts in services are required.


Cuts in senior managment are required for failing to improve the towns or even TDC - one of Britain's worst councils - and the fraud of 0% pay rises and removal of air and noise monitors at an airport slated for expansion.

And the crony corruption of ChinaGate and tax havens of Pleasurama.

Failed. Failed. Failed.

Time for Change.

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Lung cancer and Thanet

The South Coast NHS has released details of the lung cancer rates in the area.

East Kent: Thanet and parts of Dover have a rating of 70 dbl.

Areas around Heathrow such as Hounslow and Hillingdon have rating from 66 down to 54. Nearby Richmond near the flightpath has a rating of 45.

No specific ratings exist for each of the Thanet towns.

As you can see – and not unexpectedly – living near and under the flight path for 747 jumbo jets at very low level makes Manston one of the most unhealthy places in Kent.

The NHS didn’t even try the ”airports are good for you” approach.

And Thanet has the highest early death rate in Kent: dying at 69 years old in Thanet and 81 years old in the rest of Kent – again a massive statistical skew.

The 106 went some way to attempting to reduce these effects: flight paths away from the towns, air monitor etc – all of which have been ignored by Infratil, KCC and TDC.

And now our councillors and civil servants seem to be aware of the problem but simply standing around “debating” or just looking into the hole.

A shuffle of job titles, a rejig of departments and a spot of buck-passing and hey presto everything’s fine and nothing to do with us.

My view is very simple: close the airport and resite all the contaminants: fuel, petrol etc with a Water Protection Zone.

Infratil in Lubeck in Germany has already cloed last week.

Still, the election in May is a long way away.

I’ve never understood either why the new dual carriageway is to be built across farmland – improving the airport boundary road would be very straightforward and cheaper and would leave funding to improve roads and the promenade and potholes. Building a wider road simply causes it fill up with traffic. Then another road is required. Look at Westwood.

Here’s an article on Mount Isa in Australia: a town built next to the largest lead smelting works and some interesting points on the views of the council and heath officials to blood tests, environmental concerns etc

The NHS weren’t aware of the outfall pipe into Pegwell Bay from the airport, the overflow interceptors for fuel, the airport built on the runway, Thor, Richboro, Gasworks etc etc.

Still no specific site data and clean up schedule for these sites. With Thor supposed to be closed in 1988. Maybe we’ll get another council debate or report rather than cleanup experts like Ecologia or EdgeEnviro actually cleaning the sites.

If you’re worried about cancer etc go to your doctor for a free blood test – one of the benefits of an NHS. Why Infratil are still flying over the towns just shows how incompetent and foolish our council actually is doesn’t it?

Maybe it’s meant to be like this.

Separately I’m interested in tobacco and there’s some information on tobacco smoking (this would also affect lung cancer although no more so than most areas and certainly not with higher lung cancer exposure levels than Heathrow).
Thanet’s smoking rate is 27% and the rest of Kent and England is c.23%.

The forecasts for smoking in England over the next 10 years are down to 15% and there’s various straightforward ways to reduce smoking:

remove cigarette vending machines – a Bill already in Parliament
off-shelf tobacco displays in supermarkets: Thanet only has 3 large supermarkets and Tesco hardly needs the profits
tighten tobacco smuggling – Dover is Europe’s largest port just down the road
conferences on tobacco reduction
increase education in schools: Kent County printers of exercise books
regear SME businesses for different product sales
increase GP training

The tobacco companies though are already regearing for Africa and Asia where smoking deaths are due to explode over the next 50 years.

Misc points:

Rmasgate Ferrty - get on with it: a superb regeration project wiht foot passengers into the towns and tourism for neighbouring towns. And where is the foot passenger minibus for the Ostend ferry?

A report on DFID spending: 14p in every pound wasted - it'll be far more than that:

Time for Change

Vote Garbutt in May 2010.

Monday, 9 November 2009

Infratil Lubeck in Germany closes

Infratil have sold off their Lubeck airport in Germany.

Infratil Manston is little more than half a dozen cargo flights from Ostend cargo airport each week. Which are then unloaded and trucked to Heathrow or around the M25.

All of it on the water supply and at rooftop height with some of the highest levels of lung cancer in the UK.

Clearly Manston has been seen as a "quick-fix" and "one-0ff" regeneration for Thanet by ignoring and removing noise and air monitoring.

What must they be doing at Prestwick?

Here's an article I've written on the subject in Your Thanet (page 15).

Infratil have been pandered to by our councils to the point of deliberately endangering the public. While the RAF and MOD have done much the same with oil and chemical sprays over the runway and Fire base - all built upon the underground reservoir and water supply.

And still nothing on the clean up at Thor mercury or Richboro.

At least politically much of the nonsense of switching fixed budgets between the towns is coming to an end. Ramsgate Town Council has excellent councillors on it who I'm sure will ensure that for example the Tourist Offices are not closed depending on switching each town budget and whichever party is in power as at the moment.

I'm astonished that the Tourist offices have come 3rd in the UK - I've never seen a better tourism offices and skills. The plywood panel could do with replacing with glass though. And some better signage.

Few towns can have councillors such as Vic who have risen through the town tourism industry to lead the town. It's always the unsung people isn't it.

As MP I'll also be supporting the idea of the "Vincent Van Gogh Museum" in Ramsgate - one of the world's greatest painters and we have little more than a blue plaque in the town for his early life. Regeneration of the town centre and currently derelict Cavallino building would be ideal for this project. Where will Ramsgate's artists be able to display their works?

Most art galleries such as the National or Van Gogh Museum itself have over half of their exhibits never - that's never - available for display.

Mayor Green's excellent idea on celebrating Royal Ramsgate and the Coronation deserves flags, new altarcloths, tapestries, tablecloths and street parties - even a giant foldout 40,000 signature book of the Obelisk itself. I'm keen to support the Commonwealth with the UN Millennium Goals books for schoolchildren - remember those cloth books?

Another printer closed in Ramsgate and we have KCC print that produces all the exercise books for our schools and is unable to help us or provide innovative ideas such as District covers.

While any council that for Rememberance Day cannot fly flags from the 1945 Peace Memorial or open the memorial isn' t much of a council. Nor one that can't keep open the mental health unit at QEQM for its community.

Margate's Dreamland and Cliftonville is crying out for a Film Studio and Imax cinema. While the clearance of the old TDC building creates the opportunity for effective regeneration of Cecil Square and coordinates with the Dreamland site.

As MP I'll create the Phoenix Fund to regenerate every property in Cliftonville and return every property to use and call on every councillor and civil servant to contribute. My 2nd home will be in Cliftonville - along with the new TDC building and the East Kent Council for Thanet and Dover.

And the World Parliament Conference at Margate Winter Gardens to create the "House of Commons" for the UN.

In a globalised and wired world, nations are less important than ever - the key drivers of change are regions - such as Kent and Thanet.

There are few problems in Thanet that can't be improved with effective regeration and improvements eg solar panels and insulation for our housing stock. Empty houses means people have aged, died or moved away. We have the world's largest windfarm and the sunniest climate - and we can heat our homes and even generate a profit on contributing to the National Grid.

Regeneration is never the quick-fix "we're a thousand jobs down let's find an employer with a thousand jobs" (although the 2nd Pfizer at Richboro will help that in creating malaria vaccines and nets) it's the weft and weave that make a community - especially one as special as Thanet.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Thanet. Not many dead.

Most of the problems with the airport are being resolved. Very few flights now.

Which is good.

Pointless poisoning your own citizens with aviation fuel. And pointless poisoning your own water supply.

Not one flight. Not one helicopter. Closed.

No lung cancer. No aviation fuel. Nothing.

As MP I will assist with the EU inquiries into Lubeck and Prestwick and tighter regulation of noise and air monitoring. We cannot have aviation companies and councils endangering the public.

Aside from the airport, tobacco is obviously a major lung cancer problem and a bit more so than other towns: tobacco vending machines should be banned from pubs and cigarettes removed from the large supermarkets. Tobacco kills over 100,000 people (at least) in Britain each year.

Ramsgate Town Council are rattling along although there’s some silliness over trying to exclude the public and press from parts of the meeting. 16 councillors represent the 40,000 citizens of Ramsgate. Every piece of information is available for all 16 and all 40,000 for scrutiny and debate.

The Town Hall is the public’s hall.

Thor, Richboro, Ramsgate Gasworks look a toxic mess with no details of chemicals and clean up dates.

New Pleasurama seems another disaster and another year wasted. Burned down in 1998? An ice rink seems ideal with the grass roof and a few shops or hotel or whatever. The Lido needs revitalising too.

Councils always close down town features to save money or to task the lazy option under the guides of health and safety. A town with fountains filled with concrete and derelict bandstands.

From attractions to empty carparks. And derelict carparks at that. For council charges to pay the wages of the civil servant sand politicians who are destroying the towns.

And we let them.

And not many dead.

1,750 early mortality rate.

I’m not quite sure where that figure comes from but the NHS are digging into the problems. All coroner statistics should be published for epidemics or patterns of death eg asbestos factories.


1. Close Manston. Water protection zone to clean and fill the underground water reservoir

2. End ChinaGate. No new build except brownfield sites and repairing derelict houses. I don’t remember the construction industry running our council for building permits

3. Richboro and Pegwell: “2nd Pfizer” eg Glaxo with green transport plan, clean hoverport and carcinogenic power station (derelict 10 years?)

4. Windfarm: the world’s largest on our doorstep and the towns don’t have free electricity? TDC have charged just £175k for our natural assets

5. Air, noise and water monitoring – including mobile phone masts, landfill and Xray radioactive waste from hospitals – where does it all go?

6. Dreamland heritage site: a bit like the Tivoli in Copenhagen

7. Free computer and mobile for Thanet school children and the elderly: no “Digital Divide in Thanet”

8. The UN Millennium Goals for Kent: many people think these are just for the Third World but they’re actually meant to be adapted for every nation and region and district as a consistent framework for development -

9. Kent Political Standards: introducing a driving test or citizenship-type exam for better governance politicians and civil servants:

A voluntary multi choice exam and 300 word essay plus specific manifestos etc for all candidates for public office. Too often public service is murky and underhand and rather than regulating everyone else the politicians could do with a little regulating themselves for public scrutiny. Translations or verbal help can be govern but it would be good practice to improve public standards.

10. Still no contaminated land register and details of petrol station sites: we have the most polluted water in the South East. Nothing on the farm chemicals. Nothing on Thor and Nash Housing Estate. Nothing on Richboro.

Thanet has been the district dumped on by KCC and by ourselves for too long. The KCC politicians of West Kent are paid by us and represent us but treat Thanet like a toilet.

Stick the crud at the coast they cry. No-one will know or mind. Let the towns burn down and fall down.

They're right.

And we let them.

We are Thanet trash.

To poison our water, our soil, our air, our people.

The old.

The children.


No more.

Thanet dies 11 years earlier than the rest of Kent. We die at 69 rather than 81.

A Third World death rate.

A shocking statistical skew for only 130,000 people and a 20 mile square area.

No more.

No more early deaths.

No more.

No airport pollution.

No water pollution

No more.

No more bullshot, bluster and bumf.

No more.

It’s Time for Change.