Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Gazette letter: dig up Manston runway and jail Infratil

Dear Editor

It’s good to see the Gazette letters page expanded – can we have more of Frederic Stansfield with the previous weeks view that Manston requires large cannon pointing across the Channel presumably at Paris or Berlin or Moscow. It’s certainly no more daft than LibDem Russ Timpson’s space-cadet view of Manston as the Cape Canaveral of Kent.

But surely not one but four lengthy letters from Save Manston SMA and SUMA and Why Not Manston, and with two letters from Riveroak’s PR agency and Riveroak’s lawyer, is a bit much even for the pro-Manstoners?

I’d hope you’d print this somewhat lengthy letter to stimulate debate on a non-airport future for Manston. For my view (since at least 2004) is that the runway should be dug up to protect the East Kent drinking water aquifer under the runway.

And Infratil’s directors should be extradited from their last airport in Wellington, New Zealand (Asia’s most dangerous airport?) to face corporate manslaughter charges from removing the pollution monitors and faking the cancer data, and fines for years – horrifyingly with TDC/KCC’s active assistance even now.
While Messrs. Gale, Mackinlay and Wells are surely overdue in providing their resignations given that they all made reopening Manston their main if not only policy in the 2015 election.

Rather it seems they deliberately misled SMA etc by promising to reopen the airport but realising the aquifer pollution would prevent that. Now, in less than 18 months of re-election (if not sooner with Leader Wells) they have achieved nothing at Manston and indeed done nothing.

An election wasted. They must go. If not also repaying their salaries and pensions. And Gale’s knighthood looks even flimsier than Philip Green’s.

It’s surprising too that Peter Evans the TDC Planning Chair has resigned over Manston yet he lives in Rainham some 50 miles away. How many other TDC councillors and civil servants are making decisions for Thanet while not living there? At least LocalCraig is open about bussing in supporters from Tory head office, as detailed by Channel Four, despite it being illegal.

And Why Not Manston has the failed PCC candidate Henry Bolton popping up with his views from Folkestone. And LocalCraig Mackinlay seems ever more confused as to whether he lives in Chatham or Ramsgate. It’s Chatham – a Medway slumtown that hardly bodes well for Ramsgate’s regeneration especially given the new Brett mega-cement works, and his Live Animal Exports Bill filibustered by his Parliamentary colleagues so as to urge unpaid interns in Parliament(!).

As with Wells and Gale, Craig has a political career now lying in rubble.

Ruth Bailey erstwhile Manston MP bizarrely mentions the aquifer pollution in her Gazette letter as somehow a problem for the SHP New Town but not a problem for a cargo airport. No doubt her friends and family and neighbours will be concerned at her cavalier approach to contaminating them.

Roger Gale MP similarly wrote on low-level radiation at Manston that precludes SHP but not an airport. Both of these bizarre characters ignoring the basic fact that Manston as an airport caused such pollution in the first place.

While Leader Wells has similar form in mega-projects with his £1M Broadstairs Scout hut cancelled around the same time as he jumped ship to UKIP from the Tories and glosses over his role on the Manston Committee in charge of the Environment.

While the corruption of Pleasurama and Dreamland and GIAA £500k Port fraud on his watch are shrouded in secrecy – as is his role in Brett- to prevent awkward questions from the public on how our tax has been spent.

The silence around the Thor mercury contamination, suggests an even larger toxic legacy from Wells and Gale and Mackinlay. Perhaps they should be on trial with Infratil and the KCC Toxic Three of Paul Carter, Alex King and Geoff Wild too?

In Flint Michigan, the contamination of the water has resulted in jail sentences for councillors and civil servants. Kent Police and the CPS have certainly been far less active than Flint Police so far.

I would say that Manston’s future is neither an airport nor SHP New Town – nearby Discovery Park is still only 2,000 jobs, down from 7,000 when it was Pfizer. And the Gloag/SHP/Stagecoach Manston pollution fines are as overdue as Infratil’s despite TDC’s best efforts at whitewash. Scotland’s richest woman paid only $1 for the Manston/SHP site from her Infratil friends – and not one cent in pollution fines yet.

Both TDC and KCC seem infected with the idea that every piece of land needs to be sold for housing or mega-cement projects such as the Road to Nowhere or Parkway railway.

Certainly Manston and the aquifer need to be protected as parkland and the sooner bulldozers move in to dig up the runway the better – but what do Thanet’s public think as they are the ones drinking and bathing in the water from it?

Tim Garbutt, Ramsgate


* good that the Brett Port mess has been cancelled by KCC but a full inquiry is needed as to how Leader Wells and TDC councilors developed this since July on the quiet and on the rates...even a large crane and mini cement works slipping through
* More on Trump later but what relevance a far right idiot to East Kent is I do not know

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