Friday, November 30, 2007

Big Bird Donates Large Cheque

A local environmental group is set to embark on a new tree-planting project thanks to sponsorship from Kent International Airport and Oasis Hong Kong Airlines.

Trees for Thanet gets young people involved in helping to improve the countryside around them by planting trees on Saturday mornings throughout the winter.

Many of its members are from Ursuline College in Westgate and are carrying out Service to the Environment as part of their Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.

Since its formation in 1996, the group has planted 7km of hedgerows and 20,000 trees around the countryside in Birchington and Manston with the help of more than 300 youngsters between the ages of 14 and 18.

Trees for Thanet relies completely on sponsorship and fundraising to carry out its work.

The latest project, a new hedgerow on the busy Shottendane Road in Birchington has been made possible by Kent International and Oasis Hong Kong Airlines, who use the airport regularly for pilot and crew training, agreeing to split the £3,000 cost.

Young members from Trees for Thanet visited the airport on Tuesday 27 November to receive the money that will allow them to get to work.

They were met by Matt Clarke, Chief Executive of Kent International Airport, and Gerard Clarke, UK General Manager for Oasis Hong Kong Airlines.

The youngsters also got up close with the Boeing 747-400 series aircraft used by Oasis, which is one of the largest and most modern airliners in use today, and were shown round by the crew.

Work on the new project gets underway on the 15th December and it will see more than 2,000 hedgerow trees planted in a 530 metre double row hawthorn ‘wild-life’ hedge along the Shottendane Road between Park Road and Minster Road, with 26 wild cherry trees situated at 20 metre intervals.

Paul Wells, Trees for Thanet Project Leader, said: “We believe that the development of Kent International Airport is a vital strand to regeneration in Thanet and that care of the environment locally can go hand in hand with excellent commercial development.

“The group is very grateful to the airport and Oasis, as we rely solely on financial backing like this, supported by our own fundraising efforts. The results of our previous projects are there for all to see and we can’t wait to get started on this one.”

Matt Clarke added: “It’s a pleasure to hand over this money to Trees for Thanet, who do fantastic work improving the local countryside, while getting children involved in community and environmental interests at the same time.

“The airport also passes on a special thanks to Oasis Hong Kong for getting involved with this initiative.

“Infratil has always recognised the key role that facilities like airports play in communities and we are keen to offer our support to projects like this. I am sure it will be a great success.”

Gerard Clarke also commented: “With our pilots training at Kent International Airport, Oasis Airlines is proud to support local community initiatives.

“Trees for Thanet is an extremely valuable scheme and we are very pleased to help them improve the local countryside. We look forward to seeing the results of this project."


Anonymous said...

What a brilliant initiative! We hear so much rubbish spoken by so called environmentalists about the airport, so it is great to see the Airport and user Air company getting actively involved in a local environment project. Good for them. This is so much more positive than seeing supposed treehuggers chaining themselves to things!

Also good to see an environmental group acknowledging the commercial benefits of the airport for a change.

There is some common sense out their afterall! Good on these youngsters!

Jeremy Jacobs said...

Perhaps Manston will become London's 4th one-day

Lucy Mail said...

Oddly enough, far more CO2 is released into the atomosphere by rotting trees, Worldwide, than every single internal-combustion engine, on the planet, combined.

We're going to need scrubbers before long!

terry said...

can we have some contact details/website address etc i`m sure poeple would like to help.

DrMoores said...

Theee's a hyperlink in the story.. you'll see it's a different colour. That's the link to their website

Anonymous said...

Are thinking of volunteering then Lucy mail 9:37

Tony Beachcomber said...

My computor was a bit slow and I saw the title "Big Bird Donates Large Cheque" before the picture came. For few seconds I thought Jo Brand had made a donation to a political party.
How could I make such a mistake ?

Tony Beachcomber said...

Annon before my previous, you realy have got a brass neck, that's realy asking for a slap.

Anonymous said...

Like 6.17, I think these youngsters are doing a wonderful job. I don't know what amount of carbon will be locked up in the trees they will be planting but if it also improves wildlife refuges in Thanet then they and their sponsors are to be congratulated.

stuart said...

Don't get me wrong, it is great this is happening and good to see youngsters involved in community projects but £1500 each from HK airlines and KIA seems a very small donation, considering.

Amy Jones said...

Not really, Stuart. Oasis has only been going for just over 1 year and Infratil has a lot to do still to develop Manston. Trees for Thanet are delighted to be sponsored and £3000 is generous sponsorship for one project. We do not know what other community projects they both support!

Anonymous said...

Why does this feel like a bribe?

Anonymous said...

In what way is support to youngsters to plant hedgerows and make a contribution to improve the local environment,a bribe?

Anonymous said...

Well now lets see.
Oasis have come in for quite a bit of stick lately from allowing their training aircraft to circle endlessly around the Island showering aircraft pollution all over us. The press has been bad.The public have complained a lot. Don't tell me I have to spell it out for you more than that.

Anonymous said...

How cynical you are 3.35pm! I thought that Manston was an airport and planes will go round and round airports. I think the Doc reported a month or two ago that Oasis had taken on board the annoyance factor of week-end circuits and my experience has been that they now tend to visit on Tuesdays.One might consider that sponsoring a local environmental group is a small way of seeking to improve their relations with Thanet and I for one think its perfectly acceptable.

Lucy Mail said...

Shouldn't be too much in the way of CO2 locked up in the trees. That'd be a by-product of their decomposition. Not that that's likely to happen unless they plant them outside Mac Donalds, where the monkeys are likely to get all excited and pull them over.
As for bribery, I remember my mother telling me, almost constantly when I was a child, that money doesn't grow on trees. I later discovered that the stuff that they make money with, does, in fact, grow on trees, rendering the whole bribery thing a bit of a grey area.
Thinking back on it, she told me quite a few whoppers. All that stuff about Santa, tooth fairies and that Marty Feldman was my father.
Why do parents do that?

Anonymous said...

Sponsoring a local environmental group is certainly cheaper and easier than actually doing anything about the environmental damage your company is doing. I am not cynical at all. I just don't live in La-la land.

Anonymous said...

I think 3 grand is a fairly cheap piece of greenwashing for this huge business. Good PR and they get to sound green, despite dumping untold CO2 into the atmosphere over Thanet. I would be interested to read how Dr Moores offsets his polluting emissions from his own business use of aircraft. I am sure that as a local councillor this would be only equitable, seeing as a good lot of his CO2 is emitted over our Isle.

DrMoores said...

I planted six trees last month.. happy now??

Amy Jones said...

Lucy, CO2 locked up as wood in hedge?
Trees for Thanet had to cut out a damaged hawthorn(taken out by plough on back of tractor)in their Millenium Hedge in Park Road and decided to weigh it with a spring balance. It had been in the ground since 1998; weight was 27kg. The Group has planted over 20,000 plants so we're looking at 540 metric tonnes of wood (mainly carbon) likely to be locked up around Birchington; so Doc you can have a tonne or two on us!

Mr Friday said...

Is it just me or does anyone else not get terribly excited about the effects aviation has on pollution ? The advent of low-cost flights has made much of the world reachable for people who would never have previously thought about going there. Someone told me the gross impact was less than 2% of the total global CO2 emissions - is that right ?

On a lighter note, I read recently that if the entire world population painted their roofs white it would start to reverse global warming instantly. Like the theory ?

Eastcliff Richard said...

Of course it's a bribe. And not a very big one, really, when you consider the amount of damage Oasis are doing to the Ramsgate environment.

The tree planters should be ashamed to have allowed themselves to be so easily manipulated.

Amy Jones said...

Good to see you have recovered from your trip to Eatern Europe, ECR, and welcome back. Trees for Thanet were expecting some 'flak' from your direction!

Consider the situation from their point of view for a moment; an airport at Manston is a reality that history has left us with and cheap air travel and training flights are also a reality that we in Thanet can do little about other than request that week-ends be avoided (The Doc was involved in that I think). Oasis now come down on Tuesdays.
Trees for Thanet can only achieve its goals with money from sponsors, the co-operation and involvement of farmers and landowners and the enthusiasm and energy of its young members. Since 1996 these three elements have come together successfully around the countryside immediately north of the airport.

As a result of Trees for Thanet projects, there is now a 5km permissive bridleway around the headlands and hedgerows of fields that until 2001 were cultivated right up to verges. These headlands are now used all week and at week-ends by walkers, dog-walkers and horse-riders from the many stables in the area and provide a safe and pleasant environment. The populations of lark, partridge, hares, voles, shrews, field-mice, kestrels, weasels,to name a few,have all grown in the area and within yards of busy 'country roads'.

The pollution caused by a huge increase in car-drivers using this area as a 'rat-run' to get to Westwood Cross (increased litter thrown from cars; cars in fields due to speeding; and noise and air-pollution) far outweighs the noise and pollution from the airport at Manston or the flights by Oasis Hong Kong Airlines.

Trees for Thanet, when seeking in the summer, sponsors for a project, approached Infratil and Oasis Hong Kong Airlines, simply on the basis that they would be aware of the impact their operations have on the area and would be willing to sponsor a successful and thriving group of young people in improving the environment to the immediate north of the airport. In a positive way, they are contributing to our local environment and in a way achieving some carbon off-setting and I for one am delighted that they have done so.

They are in fact demonstrating far more care for 'our' local environment than many of our 'local' car drivers and passengers hurtling along Manston Road. Come out with Trees for Thanet when we do a litter sweep and see just see how our own 'locals' have utter dis-respect for 'their' Thanet Countryside.

I can only put the case for sponsorship by Infratil and Oasis Hong Kong Airlines as I see it and it might help explain why an environmental group of 'tree-huggers' is quite happy to accept sponsorship whilst other environmentalists are chaining themselves to airport fences! I think it is fair to say that rather than 'talking', 'campaigning' and looking 'green', Trees for Thanet's philosophy is get out there and do something actively and positively to improve our environment in even a small way in Thanet. Look at their blog and see how they have put that philosophy into practice.

Anonymous said...

Well. Whadya know.

Anonymous said...

Most commendable Dr Moores. I assume you will planting 6 a month, as this will probably just about keep track with the amount of CO2 your commercial enterprise produces.

Eastcliff Richard said...

Amy - Well, some of this is news to me. So Oasis only ruin the Ramsgate environment every 9 minutes on Tuesdays now? Where and when was that announced as a formal policy? It's certainly an improvement on ruining the weekends, but could we have it in writing please, not just word of mouth?

I'm sure the Doc has been involved in massaging the airport's PR to some extent, and why shouldn't he? He's got a vested interest as a flyboy. I've got a vested interest in living in Ramsgate and not having a 400 tonne lump of aluminium flying over my house, rattling the windows and spewing hydrocarbons over me every 9 minutes. So I'll continue to do whatever it takes to point out the harm it's doing to the local environment and economy.

I sympathise with your tree-planting, Amy, and I'm sure you're doing great things for the north of the island. I take your point that many people on the island don't give a toss for its natural beauty, which is a shame because it is a great asset in attracting people to the area. TDC understands this to some extent, what with Thanet Is Beautiful and all, but suffers from a rather schizophrenic attitude when it comes to Manston, which will clearly be detrimental to the Thanet environment if it is not regulated properly.

So I'm afraid I do see this funding they've given you as a cheesy publicity stunt, which has nothing to do with being green, and everything to do with placating the growing body of opinion against Oasis and their oozalum flights. I'm sure you're well meaning, Amy, but you've been used.

Anonymous said...

Poor ECR. Have you ever gone a single day without putting Thanet down or slagging off anyone who tries to make things better?
We may not be a witty as you are, but we actually care about where we live and encourage improvements no matter how small or what the reasons behind them are.
As the saying goes...If its so terrible here for you, why don't you leave instead of being Thanet's Mr Negative.
People outside Thanet read your blog and probably think we're all as warped and angry as you are. Still maybe thats all you have in your life and you should change your ECR to
E.ndless C.austic R.anting.

Anonymous said...

11;57 You should go and lie down. If you get any more sanctimonious you'll disappear up your own carbon footprint!