Monday, September 14, 2009

Airport Consultation Explained

I’ve been pottering around over nuclear reactors today, busy getting irradiated and carrying a piece of paper from Magnox and the CAA authorizing me to enter these strictly prohibited zones. What did make me a little nervous though is how I might possibly display such a permission document to any passing armed Eurofighter, should anyone hit the big red panic button at Sizewell A?

I discovered, just in time, earlier this morning that one reactor security officer at least was on holiday and hadn’t passed on the information to his relief.

Anyway, now glowing as if I’ve eaten several bowls of ‘Ready-Brek’, I’m back safely in time to read on some of the other ‘Blogs’ some information on the on-going Kent International draft airport consultation, which isn’t strictly accurate and so I’ll try and put it right here.

First off, this report is a ‘draft’ for members of the Airport Working Party to consider before they endorse any part of it. This includes having the opportunity to disagree with anything that is stated or add in anything they feel is missing. The council stands accused of being rather ‘fluffy’ about the detail which is quite complex in parts, so you may be pleased to hear that a ‘plain English’ document will shortly be released, which I hope will answer most people’s questions or concerns on the subject.

This is not a referendum but a consultation in several parts, which will involve councillors, businesses and local groups as well as residents. Council officers will take a mini exhibition to target the harder to reach areas (not accessible to the Gateway vehicle) and most importantly, this will be carried out during evening/weekend hours which is in contrast with what you might have read on other Blog sites.

If you look at the different audiences the Council is trying to reach on this very important subject then it’s true to say that officers are doing everything in their power to ensure that the views of a wide cross-section of the population are being sought and the reason for going to busy places like Westwood Cross and the supermarkets, is to engage with those who wouldn't normally take part in a council consultation. Pollsters MORI, will also be commissioned to compile a postal questionnaire and a telephone survey.

It might comfort some readers to know that the consultation officer lives directly under the flight path and so is working vigorously to ensure that everyone has a chance to express a view. The results will be required for a final report to go to the Cabinet in January 2010 and then a report will then be needed with Cabinet recommendation to go to meeting of the Full Council in February 2010.

The results of the consultation will be quite transparent and will be published online, through local news and media, direct to members and direct to any respondents who have left contact details as part of the consultation.

I hope that clears up any confusion or exaggerated reporting of the facts that you may have read elsewhere!


JP said...

The consultation does appear to be broadly cast, and quite right too. Well done TDC.

However, can we please have some clarification on the detail of the proposal?

This proposal would allow the scheduling of jumbo jet freight aircraft to overfly Ramsgate at 3am, yes, or no?

Is it acceptable to be consulting on this proposal without any noise quota figures on the table?

At what point to TDC consider the costs outweigh the benefits?

Anonymous said...

If only you could fly higher, then you would know the jobs with the most occupational ionising radiation exposure are commercial flight crew - cosmic radiation

Anonymous said...

If by 'consultation officer' you mean Head of Regeneration and Planning Brian White, he does not live 'directly under the flightpath'. He lives in Broadstairs. Which brings me no comfort whatsoever.

Anonymous said...

And sorry to bang on, I know it is late, but I am not one of the usual gremlins, just a casual observer and a member of the Thanet electorate.

That said, now you seem to be allied with a company that is based at Manston, do you honestly believe that anyone could view your opinions as unbiased? Furthermore, should you not declare a conflict of interest and withdraw from any vote on the proposed night flights? Which, as you have singularly failed to point out in your attempt to 'clear up any confusion' involve a request from Infratil to introduce a quota system which would allow them to fly anything over Ramsgate all night long?

Maybe you could clarify why Thanet Council have accepted a proposal from Infratil which does not even specify a cap for the number of flights they want over Ramsgate throughout the night?

DrM. said...

I would hope, that the "plain English" explanation document I refer to in the text will answer many if not most of the questions. I'm afraid that I have other tasks to attend to and so can't offer readers a Q&A soapbox here.

Cosmic radiation is a danger for crews flying at over 40,000 on a regular basis and as such their exposure is monitored. At times of high Sunspot activity it becomes more of a concern but the busiest flight levels are commonly between FL 30 and FL40.

The officer responsible for the consultation exercise is not Brian White who as you quite correctly point out holds a planning role.

As I am a working pilot and may as a consequence appear 'biased' or prejudicial in my opinions I have already sought the advice of the Council's monitoring officer and will not be voting in the debate.

chris bailey said...

At my college we use a different tool for working on our projects online.
Its free and needs no installation since its online, go to
pretty useful for me since i usually do my projects on the laptop. -chrisman

Anonymous said...

Neither will the rest of us.

JP said...

I know you must be busy but instead of alerting us to the risks of cosmic radiation could you find the time to answer some more pertinent questions please?

This proposal would allow the scheduling of jumbo jet freight aircraft to overfly Ramsgate at 3am, yes, or no?

Is it acceptable to be consulting on this proposal without any noise quota figures on the table?

At what point do TDC consider the costs outweigh the benefits?