Wednesday, 23 February 2011

After the collapse of Manston and Infratil

The collapse of the night flights consultation on Manston airport in November means more farce – following on from the 2008 BAWC non-consultation and EUJet in 2005 when the planes were already flying.

Perhaps it’s best to take stock of the future of Manston – given at least two of the Infratil Chiefs describe the loss-making venture as unviable.

Clearly Infratil and TDC deliberately removing noise and air monitors makes them little more than the IG Farben of the skies.

Neither a multinational airport company nor a council could be unaware of the dangers of not just removing them but repeatedly failing to replace them.

Nor can Messrs Carter and Gale, working with Infratil rather than jailing them, with the rather absurd glory scheme for another train station in Thanet to somehow serve a derelict airport.

How will KCC and the Environment Agency manage the cleanup of Manston after Infratil collapses? There's been no investment beyond the Kent taxpayer propping up 10 years of failure.

Good companies such as Vattenfall gouged for some radar funding and the aviation businesses misled by Manston's safety measures.

Perhaps greater stock should be taken of political and public sector reform from the waste and public health danger.

While Manston built on the East Kent drinking water supply for 250,000 people simply beggars belief.

Again not so much that it’s happened but that so little has been done to rectify the problem.

While every day with banned overflights simply allows the public health danger to the public to continue.

Thanet already has a death rate differential of 25%: the population dying at 63 years old rather than the Kent average of 81 years old. Perhaps 400 or more unnecessary deaths each year.

Too much public funds have been wasted in foolish bloat schemes such as Manston’s SEEDA tax-carpark, KCC airlines-USA and EUJet, EKO’s million pound council bloat or pseudo-0% payrises.

The collapse of night flights and Infratil means that Manston airport can once again be a meadow.

A meadow?

Surely these must be calls for more housing. An industrial estate. A combined bypass/dual carriageway/underpass/train station. Maybe one-hit wonder regeneration programmes such as a multinational cargo airport just isn’t big enough?

If Kent is collapsing under the weight of tarmac with bureaucrat-building industry grand schemes surely a meadow is rather feeble.

Except of course it’s required to clean and replenish the already depleted underground reservoir.

In fact all of Thanet is essentially built on the drinking water supply.

All under your feet.

Take a look around your streets: the removal of trees, grass verges, flowerbeds, paved gardens and driveways, roadside hedgerows and hedgerows from the fields around Thanet all reduce the water catchment for the water supply.

Never mind a cargo airport. Or industrial estate. Or Thanet Earth.

The creeping infill and backfill of pointless housing projects – Thanet already has 3,000 empty homes: perhaps a population shortfall of 10,000 people – adds to the problem.

And should we be spending £80M in Thnaet on a road rather than regeneration? How can a new road provide any opportunities except for Kent Highways and the road-builders?

Major pollution sites such as Manston, Thor mercury banned 20 years ago, a plethora of petrol stations, and Richboro derelict power station add fuel to the problem. Often directly into Pegwell Bay and the sea.

While with Climate Change of hotter summers and the risk of flooding and overflowing or broken sewers, the preservation of the aquifer is more crucial than ever.

Thanet’s glorious microclimate of sunshine and dry spells already means that along with South East England we have less drinking water than Syria.

Yet the collapse of night flights and Manston means something better than a cargo airport.

A real future for Thanet for new generations.

An emphasis again on tourism and a year-round economy.

Vigorous support for progressive companies such as Pfizer and Viiv.

Building programmes for specialist skills and refurb rather than pointless new build.

Town renovation programmes for ongoing investment and jobs.

An overhaul of the KCC construction-cabal of Jacobs, Murphy, Balfour, Land Securities et al, and Party brown-nosing between Maidstone and Thanet.

Rejuvenated farmscapes and new creative industries.

A night-time economy beyond pollution, gun-runners and banned 747’s.

A sustainable future in fact.

The collapse of night flights if anything heralds a new sunrise over Thanet.


Joe said...


Tim Garbutt said...

Every inch of field is needed to refill and clean the aquifer. Why reduce the amount of rainfall needed or use pesticides.

There are plenty of other fields that can be used for allotments.

More importantly for green space why is there not a Climate Change surcharge on land to protect natural land, green belt and farmland? Otherwise every piece of land is seen as profitable only for developers and councils to stick houses on.

While in Kent we have 9,000 empty houses - enough for a population about the size of Margate.