Sunday, 24 January 2010

Air pollution and cancer in Thanet

The Gazette this week provides lots of details on the various pollution spots around the area.

It seems astonishing that TDC haven’t been able to provide this monitoring at all.

Except of course by the deliberate removal of the noise and air monitors by TDC with Infratil.

Not just under Matt Clarke but previously with Rowland Gunn one of Infratil’s Board Directors removing noise monitors as far back as October 2006 – for an airport slated for expansion and with the KCC USA flights just 3 months away.

We even had the downplaying of monitoring under Planestation and EUJet and the rushed consultations breaching the 106 guidelines and TDC’s policies.

Clearly some of the Thanet pollution will relate to cars. Like anywhere with cars.

But the pollution levels are so high: on a par with major industrial towns such as London or Manchester that it couldn’t be down to cars.

Pollution that – even without Manston expanding – breaches the EU guidelines on air pollution.

And all with noise and air monitors for the airport removed.

Pollution is of course one of the benefits of being close to an airport. An airport with 447 monthly flight movements already. And breaching all the 106 guidelines from TDC.

As jets start their engines or fly at low levels over the towns then they dump aviation fuel and exhaust fumes over the towns. A degree in rocket science or aviation fuel thermodynamics isn’t required to understand that.

We’ve had civil servants and councillors though that were aware of these problems and not only removed the monitors but failed to then provide replacements.

And failed to direct flights away from the towns as required by their own 106 policies.

The latest benzene monitor was even removed in July – at the time of the night flights announcement by TDC and Infratil.

A council initiative on night flights that seems to have fallen by the wayside as the full impact of cancer, asthma, leukaemia, genetic birth defects and the like become prevalent the more urgent the problem.

The question now is who removed the monitors and who knew?

Silence from Brian White the head of monitoring and KIACC representative.

Silence from Richard Samuel the TDC Chief Exec and former Chair of KIACC.

Silence from Brian Gibson the head of Kent air quality.

Silence from 56 TDC councillors.

Silence from Roger Latchford the Cabinet member announcing Infratil’s night flights.

Silence from Sandy Ezekiel the Cabinet head.

But views from Paul Carter at KCC on expanding Manston, the failed KCC USA flights and now some kind of a parkway station on the rates.

Silence from Roger Gale except parrotting Paul Carter’s parkway - as Margate burns down after 30 years of dereliction.

Silence from Laura Sandys except expansion by containing the environmental concerns. That I’d like to understand.

Silence from Steve Ladyman except for a survey on night flights without any mention of cancer.

And how many deaths, shortened lives and ill-health can we expect before the airport is closed?

So much cancer and yet so much silence from our politicians and civil servants.

We seem to have MP’s, councillors and civil servants that seem unwilling to detail how we have such high cancer rates, high pollution rates and polluted water.

Perhaps they’re merely incompetent – but deliberately removing monitors is something far more serious.

That verges on manslaughter and jail sentences.

Were the councillors and civil servants simply hoping to cover it up? Maybe sort out a few of the problems eventually?

Keep picking up their paychecks and pensions in the meantime? Maybe get pushed out with a redundancy payment and take another public sector job?

No prizes for poisoning your own citizens. No prizes for doing nothing about it.

And still the planes fly over the town and land at an airport built on the water supply.

And an MOD fire station starting fires on the water supply.

What fools and knaves we have governing us.

Failed. Failed. Failed.

Time for Change 6th May