Sunday, 28 February 2010

Fizzing Pfizer

Good news with Pfizer announcing 50 extra jobs for a research lab with a company called Peakdale Molecular:

Worth a couple of points in that:

1. Far more jobs created in Thanet by this one move than years and decades of TDC and KCC activity

2. I’m hugely supportive of Pfizer as an excellent local company – particularly compared to rogue polluters like Infratil and TDC - and with my manifesto aim of a “2nd Pfizer” eg Glaxo etc this should ensure not just full employment at Pfizer (I’d like to understand what office and lab space is available on site: to much of what passes for regeneration in Kent is simply road or office construction when we’re hardly short of either) but also a pharma hub linked to schools and universities and Kent Science park

3. Redevelopment of brownfield sites such as Richboro would be ideal for future expansion – it’s clear to me that TDC is simply hoping to ignore contaminated sites such as Richboro and even Manston in the hope that someone else will clean up the pollutants. It seems all the more bizarre given public funding to do just such clean-up sand the risk of even poisoning their own staff and their families. Let’s hope Morgan Sproates and the Cabinet and Board at TDC are able to improve the toxic clean than to date.

One other relevant point for discussion with Pfizer would be loosening pharma license regulations such as TRIPS. One of the issues with the large pharma companies is that they rely on very heavy patent legislation for relatively minor improvements to drugs.

Even issuing patents for one molecule change in an existing patent.

I know from my court case how flawed and merely legal make-work much of patent law is – I’m still had no reply why – even with an affidavit from a respected Canterbury law firm of over 250 years standing – neither the barrister nor Bar Standards Board can explain or even respond as to why duplicate papers and costs were filed in High Court. More concerning is neither could the Judges.

An issue with pharma is clearly when these patents limit research and development of lifesaving vaccines especially for the UN Millennium Development Goals of Malaria, TB and HIV.

An over-reliance on “Western pharma” such as athletes foot or cancer ignores the millions of deaths and shortened lives from malaria and TB.

There must be potential for Pfizer – given it’s already a partner in the UNMDG Call to Action - to lead the way in providing “research licenses and funds” for TB, Malaria and HIV for Africa and India for say 10 years.

An approach suggested by Joseph Stiglitz the head of the World Bank and former White House aide.

This would stimulate Western pharma research into these underfunded areas, meet the UNMDG by eradicating these diseases, and increase generic manufacturers (for which the pharma companies receive a royalty anyway) outside Europe.

Pfizer must even be aware of the economic potential in not just fine-tuning existing vaccines for Malaria, TB and HIV, and EU and World Bank funding, but the ongoing market in vaccinations for the billions of people in the Global South.

Polio has been eradicated but vaccinations continue.

It makes good business sense to save humanity from these epidemics. We may even in Europe need the vaccines with increased Climate Change and warmer and wetter weather encouraging malaria, and any TB outbreaks.

The issue is not that vaccines can’t be found for these diseases. Several vaccines already exist. They merely need refining and improving and better vaccines found.

Nor that production of the vaccines can’t be upscaled: the likes of Pfizer or generic pharma manufacturers such as Brazil’s Farmanguinhos could easily turn out millions of does of any vaccine. Just as happened recently with Swine Flu vaccines.

Or even Government forcing manufacturers to release vaccines as in the 2001 anthrax scare and Bayer being forced to release-license Cipro the anti- anthrax vaccine.

The issue is one of excessive patent reliance limiting development of lifesaving drugs.
A witches brew of reducing research and ensuring a death warrant for millions. And a lack of business will and direction to eradicate these scourges of humanity.

Equally just imagine if the polio vaccine had been patented. We’d all still be suffering from the scourge of polio that crippled and killed millions.

The new Pfizer initiative is terrific news for East Kent and promises much for the future.


The Sunday Timers details more information on the post I wrote yesterday on sacking civil servants. The article on page 19 by Harriet Sergeant “The Public sector’s big evil: it does not sack” details the reluctance of the public sector to regulate itself through improved performance and the failure of politicians to implement such reforms.

It seems bizarre that only in the public sector could there be a debate over firing someone for poor performance.

Failure to do so engenders a culture of incompetence at worst or inadequacy at best. The result being under-performing teachers and schools or failing councils and public services. And the public suffer.

Maybe part of the issue is excessive trade unionism in the public sector (80% compared to 19% in the private sector) – but trade unionism isn’t about securing jobs for people who can’t or won’t do them or institutionalising failure and incompetence.

Maybe it’s a too softly-softly approach within the organisations. But the result is often a diminishing of the service provided.

Maybe it’s a failure of regulation by politicians: there seems an excessive culture of quangos: simply forming another oversight body to do what politicians should be doing.

Or perhaps worst of all, is when even politicians have “gone native” and somehow view themselves as an arm of the civil service. Rather than an arm of the public.

In Thanet I’m amazed at the lack of oversight and scrutiny for the NHS, Education, Police and Coastguard. These bodies seem to have no regular reporting to councils or the public and only adhoc oversight by MP’s.

It’s astonishing for example that Kent Police could be sourcing and quoting and spending time on buying military spy drones without any politicians or the organisation itself being aware of it. What a waste of funds and time that could be spent on – arresting criminals rather than filming them from three miles up.


Newsnight last week had an interesting debate on the future of the armed forces: end of the Cold War, peace in Europe, the end in sight for operations such as Iraq and Afghanistan and no major enemy.

The amusing thing was seeing each armed service desperate to defend its patch by talking up war-threats and the potential of each service.

I can see no reason for not merging the RAF into the Army Air Corps and Fleet Air Arm. The future of aviation is missiles and helicopters rather than Cold War fighters and bombers.

While any future military operations are likely to be small-scale and led by the Army as in Sierra Leone. I think we’ve reached a stage described by Ramsgate’s General Dannatt that “we’re not turning spears into ploughshares but certainly into pruning shears.” - with any likely armed actions likely to be in Africa or the Middle East and largely under UN mandate.

While if the Royal Navy has only handfuls of Somali pirates in rubber dinghy’s top contend with then we’re fortunate. And in Somalia the surprising thing is what a bun-fight it seems to be with each Navy trying to get involved - again desperate to use forces that now have no real use – and certainly not as intended for the Cold War.

We seem to have a bloated MOD with almost one civil servant per soldier and barely able to commission flak jackets, armoured cars or machine guns – all of which could easily and cheaply be manufactured in Britain or bought from America or European allies on the open market.

And hundreds of tanks and helicopters and 20,000 troops sat in barracks in Germany.

Not even being used in Afghanistan - nor anywhere else.

Friday, 26 February 2010

Sack some civil servants.

Unpopular for civil servants - maybe. Although they might prefer to work for a less stagnant council than TDC.

But there’s only 750 civil servants in Thanet and c.30,000 in KCC compares to the 130,000 people in Thanet and 1.3M in Kent.

Why is it so difficult to sack civil servants?

Why are local politicians even reluctant to discuss it?

It doesn’t have to be all of them.

Just the incompetent ones.

There seems an expectation that civil service failure is acceptable.

Or that council tax should ever increase to support that failure.

Or that public funds are simply to fund more civil servants.

Why should the Kent public fund RTC (plus the other town councils), TDC (plus the other Districts), KCC, GOSE and SEEDA pus miscellaneoius Quangos?

Civil servasnts all of them. And not doctors or nurses or teachers.

Why not publish all the salary costs, pensions, cars, expenses, offices, benefits and allowances by person - and the public and councillors can take a view on the cost, requirement and value.

The public's paying for it all - so show the public the costs.

We seem to have mere admin and bureacracy just for bin collections and road repairs from our councils.

That doesn't cost £60M per District or £2Bn for Kent to administer or provide.

We’ve now got another TDC webcam session delayed or avoided because the microphones don’t work.

They didn’t know that before – back in December?

A replacement £20 microphone couldn’t be found? It couldn’t be filmed with a typed transcript afterwards?

If all else fails the councillors or civil servants couldn’t record and film it on their publicly-funded Blackberry?

Just embarrassing excuses for failure.

Sack 'em.

And a deep and cynical reluctance to be open and transparent for public decisions and public funds.

Clearly the councillors and civil servants don’t want us to view the piffle and nonsense that passes for a council meeting.

And not even the civil servants salaries are viewed or discussed by councillors.

No wonder we have such bloat and featherbedding with £22M of the £60M tax-take spent on salaries.

Sack a few.

I think most people would prefer that than closing down museums.

The latest figures from TDC show over £200k spent on company cars. And c.£350k on overtime.

So that’s civil service pensions (4 types of civil service pension) plus company cars, plus free parking, plus overtime, plus 0% pay-increases-that-are-30%-pay-increases and salaries greater than the private sector average.

And towns that have burned down and fallen down.

And town planning by guesswork.

And the worst pollution in the South East.

And civil servant increases by 30%: c.150 extra staff in the last 3 years.

The councillors don’t seem to know what they’re doing - or what to do.

Sack a few more staff and sell the cars.

If Margate now has nearly 30% unemployment and Dreamland derelict then the ones that got us into this mess are hardly the ones to get us out are they?

And with polluted air and water from Manston and Thor the price of incompetence from our civil servants seems to be the highest lung cancer rate and most polluted drinking water in the South East.

Reform the council through P45.

While with Richard Samuel and Brian White of the Gang of Four, the fraudulent 0% pay rises and removing monitors and Caribbean tax havens for Planning developments means Police investigations, repaying the £60k pay increase and removing their pensions.

No pay rises for failure. The criminals seem to be in the council.

And the civil servants are leading the councillors by the nose.

Even recommending pay cuts for councillors rather than civil servants.

While the failure of Party politics for governance means the councillors simply barrack each other rather than concentrating on ensuring good governance.

It’s neither Conservatism nor Socialism – mere Cretinism.

And the result is the worst council in Britain with 50% of council tax spent on civil service salaries and reserves and dereliction and failure.

You couldn’t make it up could you?

And with c.40% of GDP spent on tax - with only minor percentage point differences between the parties - just imagine how the rest is wasted on bloat and waste.

And that's 4 months of the year working for the taxman to fund the public sector.

Even the Government itself - with the Total Place intiative to pool all public funds by region - estimates at least 15% is wasted.

I'll bet it's far higher don't you?

Publish all the payroll and costs by department in Excel. It already exists for payroll.

Simply publish it.

A public "mashup" and aggregator would within minutes provide the basis for comparison and improvement.

With the figures we could decuide if we want the same funding, or more or less and how that should be spent: museums or admin or hospitals.

Time for Change

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Hydrocarbons and effluent and other bits

A meeting last week with the BBC to discuss a documentary on Thor and the Manston pollution and monitors.

It seems extraordinary that the council and police don’t have this as a regular agenda item for cleanup, all the details published online and a police car at the gates.

Thor was due to have closed 20 years ago. At the time of the chemical fire in 2007 it was actually expanding with scientists brought over from Germany to expand production of chemicals.

The Cato Ridge site in South Africa became infamous as a toxic dump –to this day – poisoning the water supply and killing several of the workers and residents.

Thor is on a par with Union Carbide or Dow as notorious corporate polluters. Easy for the politicians and civil servants to skimp on the inspections, rubberstamp the paperwork and turn a blind eye.

A report in the Gazette details the latest Environment Agency report on the water supply with “hydrocarbons” that’s “petrol” to you and me and damaged sewers leaking “effluent” that’s “brown sticky stuff” to you and me.

Clearly petrol stations and cargo airports and chemical factories can’t be built on the water supply.

Particularly with Manston as there are no overflow sumps so any fuel drains into the underground water reservoir or flows into the road system drain and tips directly into Pegwell Bay. The latter is of course a UNESCO site.

So whether you’re swimming in it or breathing it or drinking it something has gone very wrong with the environmental safeguards.

A police car at Thor is certainly the best way forward: checking what’s going in and coming out. Alerting Nash Road estate and the GP’s and hospitals to check on mercury etc.

As having Thor handle their own cleanup with no site oversight is abysmal.

It seems to me with the removal of monitors at Manston and incidents such as Thor and the Gasworks and Richboro that there also needs to be some detailed oversight by the NHS.

I drink the tapwater but don’t like doing so.

Bottled water is best to be used whenever possible. People with young children should check on using bottled water for very young babies.

It’s no great consolation at the moment but I’m amazed at how resilient Nature is cleaning water supplies and vegetation growing back – as the pollution is stopped and then subsides.

It’s not especially relevant to Thanet but sites I’ve visited in Vietnam that were defoliated by Operation Ranch Hand and Agent Orange to strip away the forest and poison the ricefields grew back very rapidly.

The museums in Vietnam sadly though detail the thousands of foetuses in bell jars and deformities from the chemicals used. Horrific deformities we can’t really imagine now: no eyes, no limbs and so on.

The aquifer under the airport is one of the most polluted in the South East: as the concrete runway and the SEEDA car park is removed – also the MOD fire site- then rainfall will dilute the water table and flush out the oil, petrol and de-icer chemicals very rapidly etc.

It is daft to build on the water supply. That’s why the towns are built in a thin crust around the coast. The bit in the middle is the water supply.

There’s also a very good initiative by DEFRA to ensure farmers detail the chemicals they use on farmland which would be useful for Thanet – although the Council and Police phoning farmers, suppliers, checking sheds etc would be as effective.


On a more positive note I saw the crest by St Peters Village Tour which looks rather marvellous and a quote from Pytheas who I’d never heard of visiting Thanet in 325BC: “A green wooded land at the end of the world”.

Rather marvellous.

From a tourism point of view Thanet is very special with visitors such as this, Caesar, Hengist and Horsa and St Augustine.

And the Landings tourism attraction fell away to nothing.

The woods too may not be what they once were though: Westwood, Eastwood and so on.

We seem to have business parks, car parks, retail parks, office parks – everything except park parks.

Thanet has begun to turn the corner from a mere mini-Milton Keynes of cookie-cutter architecture (close your eyes and squint at Westwood Cross Debenhams, Fenwicks Canterbury and Ashford Debenhams. Tell me the difference if you can for three cod-parthenons off the same drawing board), boarded up toilets, identikit High Streets – like everywhere in Britain.

I’m very concerned that we seem to let our trees in the towns die – and where have all the grass verges gone?

We seem to have the quick and easy council culture of chopping down trees, tarmacing pavements instead of flagstones and digging out grass verges and flowerbeds. These are the weft and weave that make our towns unique.

Easier and cheaper but not what Thanet is.

And with Climate Change the civil servants should be doing what they do best and leading the way in protecting the public and improving the area. Removing benches (near Pleasurama) and beach shelters and beach huts that are garden sheds and a blizzard of tarmac is silly.

It doesn’t do Thanet any good at all.

Again they’re the important weft and weave that make a place what it is. Easy to remove and then never replaced. And a little bit more of the towns die.

And then it looks like Milton Keynes - if that.

Mayor Green has made several good points on the use of tarmac in Ramsgate when flagstones or a special concrete should be used. Maybe Pulhamite or a special screed with unique designs, flowerbeds and flowers that represent the towns.

One other point is that the concreting of gardens and removing grass verges again reduces the amount of rainfall that replenishes the aquifer. And especially in Thanet the water pours off the tarmac into a drain and into the sea. With Thanet one of the sunniest parts of Britain those extra inches of rainfall are vital for the aquifer.


Blue plaques and the Town Trail: a terrific idea.

I was very interested to read Paul Twyman’s letters which are always interesting. I’d vote for plaques for Coleridge and John Le Mesurier – a great writer unrecognised by his own town, and a great actor who lives over by the Westcliff so would spread the walk out across the town a little bit.

I’d never head of Jacques Tati in Thanet – the EU and TranManche programmes must still be going - but certainly it would be useful to have the Kent Film Office based down here. A film festival, film studio and sunshine – it could be like Hollywood but a bit better.

A really terrific initiative by Cllr Liz Green with the Seven Squares trail.

The only other Parliamentary committee I can think of to sit on in parliament besides DFID would be the Dept for Communities and Local government.

With my MP hat on I’d be keen to see the “Van Gogh Gallery” that regenerated the old Cavallino building: art gallery, photography gallery, local schools – and exhibition from the Dutch museums. 90% of museums’ exhibits are never shown.

It would be daft to have a derelict building, no art gallery and one of the greatest ever painters from Ramsgate – and no museum or gallery wouldn’t it?

With Climate Change it should be a proper eco-building not the usual houses with bits of wood stuck on them.

The “sale” of Albion House – that the public already own - is just as daft and only the Tory Group and Cllr Ward have come out of it with any credit.

Computers and Schools

This is a terrific programme that Steve Ladyman’s raised which is one of the best Government initiatives I’ve seen: computers and web for poorer kids.

For free.

It’s a terrific programme – I can’t understand why our councillors and civil servants in the Regen Dept aren’t pushing to have a job-lot of vouchers for Thanet.

Free computers.

There must be a Thanet Education Dept that could advise on the number of computers and web access in our schools by headcount – and some of the vouchers could be used for older people and mobile phones too.

I don’t know who BECTA are that run it but it seems yet another quango. Wouldn’t it be easier to have an “Office of Quangos” and then close it and them?

Schools these days that weren’t able to provide computers and web so every child had access to every website, literature and museum in the world would be daft.

Every Thanet child over 5 who doesn’t have a computer at home should be able to have one - and no Thanet child should have to share a school computer. Surely the schools could explain what they need?

There must be a TDC schools liaison and Thanet Education group for all the Thanet schools – don’t they report to the Town Councils and public anyway on what they’re doing?

I’m surprised how little scrutiny there is of Education, NHS, Coastguard, Fire, Ambulance and Quangos – who’s scrutinising what they’re doing and how much it costs?

Council budget

I’ve had a look through some of the items and the silliest is cutting councillor allowances to fund civil servant salaries.

Certainly there’s been dreadful political and civil service leadership over the years but the whole point of a council is that the councillors are of the public and juggle their time and work to act on behalf of the public.

A very petty and silly self-serving decision by the civil servants.

Publishing the full TDC staff costs would give us all a clear idea why there are 750 staff up from c.600 and why £22M out of £60M tax goes on civil servant salaries and a £7m reserve.

With almost all the rest then sent to KCC for a civil service “admin charge”.

50% paid in admin charges and the other 50% sent away for a further admin slice.

Terrific if the places were sparkling rather than being a road builder and property magnate’s wet-dream.

The answer’s a new road or an office block – what was the question?

Looks like bloat with civil servants paid first from the public funds and bean-counters tidying up the books while riding the decline down by hoarding the funds.

Thanet’s councillors don’t even review the payroll or expenses or cars at their monthly meetings.

KCC to its credit publishes its Budget Book although almost all the line items are – not unreasonably - staff costs in one form or another.

Bizarrely there seem little mentions of funds deployed to the public and no indication of front office and back office roles. You can guess can’t you?

As you can see around the towns the services and infrastructure have been denuded simply to pay civil servants or at best to ride the decline down.

Cutting councillor allowances is very silly. I think they’re too low already and should be increased to c.£10k but the number of councillors reduced. 56 for 3 small towns is mere bloat.

Especially if the only “services” are phoning KCC for roadworks. And riding the decline down.

A new Town Council for Margate would focus on the town and Cliftonville and allow the number of councillors to be reduced and merged.

In the near future an East Kent Council covering Thanet and Dover – based in Cliftonville initially - would provide a career path for councillors and civil servants to reduce the East-West nonsense and appalling deprivation levels and regenerate Cliftonville and Margate Town Centre.

Politics and Civil Service in Kent seems mere ceremony, cat-calling and construction than anything remotely resembling good governance.

The preponderance of property people on councils is always a concern as public land is one of the few assets that a council can “sell” for development.

Maybe Kent’s civil servants roll over and fail to enforce brownfield development and replacement stock. And isn’t two motorways overly generous for London’s Patio?

East Kent hardly needs any houses given it has hundreds empty.

As the population ages and dies - and as people leave.

Look at Detroit which is infamous for urban decay. Or the Soviet ghost towns. Or Chatham.

It doesn’t have to be like this. It could be worse.

Look how far Margate has fallen in 30 years or so.

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

McManston. McCancer.

Clearly an announcement of Ramsgate-Edinburgh flights is the death throes of Manston and Infratil.

Very few people would be turning that into a regular tourism slot I’m sure.

The flights even take off on a Friday lunchtime and return on a Sunday lunchtinme: barely a day in Edinburgh or Thanet.

Little yield except cancer – and Flybe are notorious for their “ghost flights”: flying empty or hiring actors(!) to fill the planes to keep slots open.

And the Ramsgate-Ostend cargo flights can only yield cancer, asthma etc.

Especially as the flight routes away form the towns are always breached.

So aviation fuel is dumped at low-level straight onto the local population.

Add in Infratil and TDC removing the noise monitors in 2006 – a Board Director of Infratil no less, so clearly Health and Safety issues in the aviation industry are expected to be rather feeble.

While the local council and councillors seem to have quietly agreed not to mention this - and certainly not to provide replacement monitors.

So the cancer levels would increase.

And no details would be available.

Even to the extent of the main benzene monitor being removed last July at the time of the announcement of the night flights and then a hurried press release in November to announce improved-monitoring-by-removal.

A sudden announcement of air quality areas for the roads under the airport.

Cancer Boy Clarke tells us that airports and jumbo jets don’t contribute to cancer.

And off he flies back to the good folks of Rotorua or the expansion of Whenuapai Airport. Maybe the expansion of Wellington or Auckland or Prestwick.

Remember, jet fuel doesn’t cause cancer. Definitely not. Especially at low level. Definitely not. Dousing the population again and again. No problem.

And the removal of monitors from the airport means the data’s compromised.

No monitors. No data. No problem for expansion.

Surely the monitors should be reinstated in the wrong place?

Surely the mobile monitors should not be used?

Surely the overflights should be averaged out over a 24 hour period so they’re deemed quiet?

Surely environmentally-efficient for kerosene is the same as environmentally-friendly?

Surely building on the town’s drinking water supply is a good idea?

And then expanding flights? And then removing the monitors?

Surely then the cancer levels would increase and no-one would ever know why their children or grandparents were dying off or getting sick?

With Matt gone and the same politicians and civil servants who will remove the dumped jumbo jets?

How will the water supply be cleaned?

How many hospital beds are required for the cancer ward over the next few years and generations?

After all lung cancer and genetic birth defects aren’t just for one life.

It’s the gift that keeps giving.

You. Your family. Their family. Now. And in the future.


McManston simply means more McCancer.

And the silence of 3 MP’s and candidates.

Silence from 56 councillors at TDC.

Silence from 750 civil servants at TDC.

Silence from 84 KCC politicians.

Maybe cheap flights with an airport next to the town are too high a price to pay.

And when the airport closes?

A few dumped jets. Roosts for bats according to the Infratil Masterplan.

A taxpayer-funded carpark over the water supply.

An EUjet consultation hustled through as the planes began to fly.

A hustled emergency session for the BA flights and ChinaGate cargo warehouses.

A Jet Summit/CGP building and the mysterious ChinaGate/EKO/CGP development on farmland.

The radar with no upgrades. Yet. Soon. Someday.

The overflow tank into the water supply and Pegwell Bay.

A few derelict hangars.

An EU border post for 24/7 cargo flights.

An MOD fire training base on the water supply.

The monitors removed so the cancer cost is not revealed.

All perched on the edge of towns that have burned down and fallen down - and the people died 11 years earlier than in the rest of Kent.

No wonder so many of the houses are empty – yet we need to build more.

No wonder the schools are being converted into old folks homes as the population ages and dies faster than anywhere else.

Maybe the politicians and civil servants are hoping to save face by delaying closing the airport?

And still the planes fly over the towns and onto the water supply dousing the public and water in aviation fuel.

Time for Change.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Cancer ain't me says Matt Clarke

A further reply from Matt Clarke of Infratil who now confirms that Infratil did remove the monitors - although they didn't.

Just embarrassing.

And he points the finger squarely at the Gang of Four of Samuel, White, Latchford and Ezekiel for removing the monitors.

After 3 years of fudged information TDC were still removing air monitors as late as July - and the last announcement of night flights.

No monitors. No data. No pesky public health problems.

What were our MP's and councillors doing allowing the removal of noise and air monitors (and not replacing them) at an airport slated for expansion?

Allowing the cancer rate to rise and hope the jobs would compensate for the early deaths?

What other pollution problems are they trying to cover up?

Still no clean up schedules for Thor mercury - a factory supposedly closed 20 years ago - nor any information on clean up at Pegwell and Richboro some of the most polluted water in Britain, nor the gasworks with arsenic and cynaide deposits in the soil.

Mere silence except self-serving excuses on the cancer rate:

--- On Thu, 11/2/10, Matt Clarke Date: Thursday, 11 February, 2010, 10:30

Hi Tim,

The noise monitors were owned by consultants and taken away> following the administration of the former airport owners.> > Infratil replaced them soon after my arrival. We have also subsequently provided TDC with a third mobile monitor.

Even if no noise or air quality monitoring took place at> the airport (and I repeat, it does), I do not see a case for> endangering the public - the movement level at the airport> is extremely low, with airport activity having a negligible> effect on local air quality (as evidenced by the tests,> which can be verified by the TDC), with the majority of any> pollution appearing to be caused by road/sea traffic.

Again, TDC controls the pollution monitoring, the airport> funds it. Infratil did not ever take away or change> air quality monitoring systems - we do not control> them. TDC administers the system and reports directly> to the KIACC - this setup is deliberate to ensure no> difficulties with gamekeeping poachers.

Our liaison at TDC is Penny Button regarding the> environmental monitoring.> > I believe your logic is flawed regarding any link between> lung cancer rates and airport operations. You note> that the cancer rate is higher in Thanet than in other> locations - most if not all of the locations with lower> rates of cancer have far busier airports than Thanet's, with> many having airports more than 100 times busier.

The> cause of any cancer issues would appear to lie elsewhere.> > Again, all flights operating between 2300 and 0700 are> reported to the KIACC and TDC. All operate within the> s106 agreement, which expressly provides for such movements,> with contributions made to the community fund for aircraft> above noise quota count 4. This is in compliance with> the s106 agreement, not in breach of it.> > Regards,> Matt

RE: Airport Comments
Friday, 12 February, 2010 15:33
"tim garbutt"

"Matt Clarke"

Hi Matt

We're agreed: Infratil removed the noise monitors that were in place.I have a letter confirming that from Rowland Gunn.

You previously said Infratil didn't remove the monitors at an airport scheduled for expansion. You're indulging in mere wordplay to avoid that unpleasant fact.

The current system with monitors in the back garden of Infratil employees and TDC removing monitors as the airport expands is flimsy to say the least.

Infratil have provided 3 mobile monitors to TDC? When were/are these operational?

Your points on the airport not causing pollution or cancer are ludicrous.

The repeated 106 breaches are ignored: why did Infratil instigate training flights in breach of the 106? The criteria on night flights and QC4 ie jumbo jets and above is equally ludicrous.

As you've pointed out TDC bear some of the burden for failing to provide accurate and tight monitoring - clearly both Infratil and TDC have been in close cahoots in minimising fines, announcing night flights etc - but in my opinion Infratil both under your operation and previously are clearly and deliberately endangering the public with both air, noise and water pollution.

These facts aren't in dispute merely your self-serving interpretation of them.

Again the public response of "disbelief and shouts of rubbish from the floor" seems the best summary of your arguments.

Your return to NZ and undoubted collapse of Infratil and Manston heralds a better day for Kent.

Sadly our incompetent politicians and civil servants remain.

Kindest regards


Thursday, 11 February 2010

Monitors? It was TDC says Infratil's Matt Clarke

Seems as though young Matt at Infratil is keen to place the blame for monitors and pollution at TDC's door.

And we have only silence from all our MP's councillors and civil servants.

Were they really conspiring to downgrade monitoring at an airport slated for expansion?

And for the last 3 years?

Removing monitors, fudging the data and the process, ignoring KIACC complaints and so on.

This from our MP's, councillors and civil servants who are funded by us and live and work amongst us.

Silence from Richard Samuel - the TDC CEO and Chair of KIACC when the forst monitors were removed

Silence from Brian White - the 106 monitor and airprot expert

Silence from Roger Latchdford - no calls for night flights since July?

Silence from Sandy Ezekiel - for 3 years no mention of monitors?

Silence from Roger Gale - excepot a call for an airport parkway station

Silence from Steve Ladyman - only an airport survey with no mention of cancer

Silence from Laura Sandys - an airport?

Silence from 56 councillors.

Are Infratil or TDC the criminals in endagering the public?

Here's Matt's note and my reply:

--- On Wed, 10/2/10, Matt Clarke

From: Matt Clarke
Subject: Airport Comments
Date: Wednesday, 10 February, 2010, 15:21

Hi Tim,

I have noticed on my google alerts
your comments about Infratil removing pollution monitors from Thanet.

I kindly invite you to retract that statement as it is
untrue. TDC is responsible for maintaining the monitoring system,
not the airport, although the airport contributes to the cost
in line with the s106
agreement. How the Council chooses to maintain its monitoring
system is up to the elected representatives.

Please also explain the allegation of faking air quality monitoring
reports – we take this allegation seriously and need to know the
basis on which it is made to allow us to look into it. As the Council administers the testing system we are very keen to ascertain whether there are any issues with the data. What do you mean by breaches in the s106 agreement?

Many thanks,


> From: tim garbutt
> Subject: Re: Airport Comments
> To: "Matt Clarke"
> Cc:,
> Date: Thursday, 11 February, 2010, 9:24
> Hi Matt
> I have a letter from Rowland Gunn confirming the removcal of noise
> pollution monitors from Manston in 2006.
> This is true isn't it?
> Would it be further fair comment to describe Infratil as thus
> deliberately endangering the public?
> This would be a criminal offence.
> Clealry if Infratil choose to remove the monitors then that's an act
> outside of the council's jurisdiction - except for the monitoirng
> and/or requirement to replace.
> I note there is no Cabinet minutes confirming or requesting or
> approving the removal so Infratil would have acted unilaterally to
> downgrade pollution monitoring.
> With regard to the 106 I note that there are restrictions on
> overflights, training flights etc that have been both breached and
> with the training flights unilaterally changed by Infratil.
> I also note the public meetings reported in the press where statements
> from Infratil and yourself on the 106 have been reported with
> "disbelief and shouts of rubbish from the floor".
> Clearly Matt it does seem that Infratil and yourself have acted to
> endanger the public and remove monitoring and fail to install
> monitoring - all very surprising for an airport due to expand and a
> multinational airport company.
> The issues on false noise and air data are matters for TDC:
> who is your liaison there?
> These issues have repeatedly been detailed to you and Infratil at
> KIACC meetings and the explanations have seemed little more than
> flannel if not deliberate deception.
> I haven't detailed the issues of water pollution here or the lung
> cancer rate in Thanet: what is Infratil's expectations of health
> impacts such as cnacer etc from its operations?
> I'll copy this to the local elected representatives here and in NZ (as
> you know I'm standing for MP on a "close the airport and stop the
> pollution" ticket) and feel free to discuss any of these points which
> are matters of fact and fair comment in the UK or your return to NZ.
> Kindest regards


And still the planes fly.

Over the towns and people and onto the drinking water supply.

Time for Change

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Manston and Heathrow cancer

Very shocking that Kent NHS confirm lung cancer around Manston is higher than surrounding areas of Heathrow.

Not surprising though if the monitors are removed and the 106 is breached to allow low-level flights over the population dousing them in aviation fuel.

I've written to Justine Greening who's the MP for Heathrow:

Hi Justine

As MP for the Heathrow area, I’m writing to you following the Sunday Times article yesterday on falsified DofT and BAA documents relating to Heathrow.

You might want to refer to the fact that Infratil airports here at Manston airport in Kent and owners of Prestwick in Scotland and Sydney and Auckland airports have repeatedly removed noise monitors, faked air monitor data with the assistance of the local council for expansion – so that East Kent now has a lung cancer rate worse than the surrounding areas of Heathrow.

And Manston is built on the drinking water supply – a fact that Paul Carter the Leader of KCC ignores in pushing to move Boris Island southwards away from his constituency.

Along with total breaches of the 106 regulation agreement.

Section 2d of the Environmental Information Regs should provide any information from BAA etc – subject to a Public Interest Test ie for BAA not to relase information it’s in the public interest for the public not to know.

Hillingdon council recently confirmed that DEFRA attempted to remove monitors from Heathrow and AEA (the Government airport/environment) authority often - incorrectly -advise that no such monitors exist.

Also that “low” pollution readings are actually “high” readings.

I’ve been so appalled I’m standing as a “Stop the pollution” candidate.

It seems to me that the regulation of airports by CAA is so flimsy as to be negligible.

While Kent Air Quality actually monitors air quality by not monitoring it.

Shouldn’t all noise and air monitor data for airports etc be centrally specified, published and verified by Police and NHS?

Should Infratil and BAA be jailed – they can hardly claim not to know that airports and pollution aren’t dangerous?

Equally with 4 airports around the M25 all at under-capacity and no tax on aviation fuel it looks as though the construction and aviation lobby has had Parliament over a barrel for years.


For Thanet we still have no confirmatio of why the planes continue to fly at low level over the towns and land on the drinking water supply.

Nor the likely early death rate and shortened life statisitics: a figure of c.1,100 has been cited by TDC but no details

Thanet has an early death rate - compared to the rest of Kent - of 11 years: dying at age 69 in Thanet but age 81 in the rest of Kent. The kind of death rate more usual in the Third World.

Obviously a lot of air pollution at low level directly onto the popualtion.

Silence from our MP's and councillors and civil servants: are they simply ignoring the danger to public health? Brush it under the carpet and wait - maybe hope for fewer deaths?

The airport could simply be closed now with Infratil leaving and the repeated safety breaches on record.

And still the planes fly.

Time for Change.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

And still the planes fly and the cancer rises

Last week there were at least half a dozen overflights of the town I understand.

All of them – as with the hundreds each year since Infratil began – banned under the 106.

Yet Infratil even reworked the 106 themselves to allow the training flights. While the radar has never worked beyond Infratil’s vague promises of doing something sometime.

And with the removal of the noise and air monitors, all of this is extremely dangerous to public health – especially as the pollution levels are not being fully recorded.

The NHS has sent me their latest information which confirms Thanet has higher lung cancer levels than…the areas under the flight patch around Heathrow. Europe’s busiest airport.

Thanet must be receiving high levels of aviation fuel discharges at low levels directly onto the local population.

And we have silence from our MP’s, silence from KCC, silence from Thanet’s councillors and silence form the Gang of Four.

Not a public statement at all in all these years.

Except support for airport expansion – which is made easier by removing the monitors.

No monitors. No data. No health problems.

Even with the night flights fiasco of last July now kicked into touch it makes you wonder what the civil servants and councillors thought they were doing?

Removing monitors to enable cancer jobs?

Removing monitors to fast-track airport expansion?

Removing monitors but keeping quiet to keep their jobs?

Clearly developing an international airport is a bit beyond them – without even considering it’s built on the drinking water supply – but they seem unable to even run 3 small towns effectively.

Closing the tourism services while maintaining large cash reserves, increasing the civil servants by 30% in 3 years and still remaining one of the UK’s worst councils - and an early death rate that’s nearer to the Middle East or Africa than Kent.

While cheap frauds such as the Pleasurama Caribbean tax haven and Swiss bank are one thing but then the senior civil servants are defrauding the public by claiming they’re on 0% pay rises that are actually 30%.

I’m not sure how that’s any worse than MP’s claiming for non-existent mortgages or moats or rocking horses.

It’s not. It’s deliberate fraud.

All public funds need publicly accounting for. To issue statements that they’re 0% increases is simple fraud.

It's the fill your boots school of governance.

And all the councillors and civil servants think it’s acceptable. Certainly not enough to speak out.

At least the payouts and pensions fraudulently claimed can be repaid. But what about the lung cancer? That doesn’t scrub out of your lungs easily. Nor your children’s or grandchildren’s or your relatives.

And our MP’s, civil servants and councillors walk and live amongst us and think it’s acceptable to stay silent and to allow the flights to continue.

What are they hoping? There won’t be a crash? The flights will stop in a few months? Someone else will do it for them?

We have fools and knaves, if not mere scum and petty fraudsters, for ever more incompetent governance.

What has been going on?

The Americans had it half right: it's not: "No taxation without representation" it should be "No taxation without effective representation".

Still no sign of the civil servants costs: salaries, pensions, expenses, cars – and the councillors don’t even review them at council meetings!

No sign of the ChinaGate expenses.

No sign of the EKO invoices: some business if it’s costs upon costs for the existing civil servants and councillors.

And more to the point if these are the fools and knaves getting us into this mess how will they be able to get us out?

Lung cancer higher than around Heathrow. You couldn't make it up could you.

Time for Change.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Ramsgate Town Council failure

Unbelievable isn’t it.

The first town council in 35 years and its selling the Council chambers of over 100 years.

Its only act in 6 months is to agree to the sale of Albion House – where all the Town Council’s have sat. And to move a couple of hundred yards away to the Customs House.

Absolutely ridiculous.

We seem to have elected a Town Council that’s little more than TDC in miniature.

With the sale of Albion House – which the public own already via TDC and RTC – what benefit is there?

Certainly the sale costs could then be set against moving to the Customs House(!) or more likely to drop into TDC’s accounts to be used for whatever purpose.

Albion House would be lost to development much as the Old Town Hall beofre it, and the public would then be paying RTC to fund its use of the Customs House.

Let’s hope the various costs are published, the developer details and the vote on the move.

We’ve had a delay of 2 years to establish the Town Council and now it’s simply selling off its own assets in its first 6 months.

In 6 months RTC seems to have become merely ceremonial or asset-stripping.

And the traditional council role of huiring more civil servants from a pool of 750 and increasing tax to fund it.

A council of no purpose beyond feeding itself.

This move is simply doing TDC’s work of covering funding failures for it – perhaps not surprising given most of the RTC councillors are TDC councillors: like muck to a blanket they seem to stick and perpetuate the same mistakes.

I’ve my doubts given the performance of TDC as one of Britain’s worst councils whether any funding provided to either organisation would simply be sprayed up the wall much as the existing £60M tax-take or £16M per town.

With none of the councillors even viewing the TDC payroll and costs how can they possibly make judgements on the best use of those costs.

Whether it’s best to sack a few of the civil servants, re-bill the lack of repairs at Albion House, reduce pensions, resale TDC’s offices or any other permutation.

Or even to get the TDC Regeneration Dept to secure some regeneration funding.

No. Better to sell it. And rent a new one.

Rather it always seems to be selling the assets the public actually wants.

And an asset in Albion House that the public already own.

Yet Broadstairs Town Council manages not to sell its offices. Margate Trustees manage not to sell their offices.

I doubt any of the RTC councillors would have been elected with a manifesto on selling Albion House.

And we wonder why the towns are a mess for decades.


Failed. Failed. Failed.

Time for Change