Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Manston Night Flights - An Open Letter to Clive Hart

Dear Clive

The headline in today's Thanet Times, 'Labour's 'NO' to flights at night', leads many to believe the policy of Thanet Council's Labour Group is now one of total opposition to 'any' night-time flying activity at Manston airport.

If this is the case, I am disturbed and surprised. Most of your group have previously accepted, and voted for, some night time activity. The fact that the current s.106 agreement, which was drafted and approved under the previous Labour administration, made specific provision for a future night-time flying policy and demonstrates Labour's consistency over the past decade. Indeed, the working party which oversaw the drafting of this agreement included some of your current and most senior councillors.

For the sake of clarity, I formally invite you to publicly declare your position. This needs to be a simple 'Yes' or 'No' to the question ' Does the Labour Group on Thanet District Council completely rule out night-time flying activity at Manston Airport?'

At the moment, the 'No to Night Flights' lobby appear to believe you are solid supporters of their position. The remainder of the Island's population deserves to know whether this volte face is really true.

Kind Regards

Bob Bayford


Anonymous said...

If you are afraid to take "night flights" to the electorate on may 2011 you should refrain from discussing it

craig under the flightpath said...

It doesn't really matter how they answer the question. It is amazing how once steadfastly declared opposition to night flights dissolves once an electoral objective has been achieved. Look at Roger 'Dodger' Gale! He has always had my vote in the past. Never again.
As a footnote, why do people feel the need to post their comments anonymously? If you are proud to have your opinion why hide your identity?
Simon, I do hope you won't seek to cast a political angle on the objection to night flights. I am a lifelong Conservative supporter but I am also a deeply skeptical person and insist on all the details before I make a decision. It appears that representatives of all parties are keen to jump on every bandwagon that has 'job creation' attached to it without requiring any proof.
The claims by Infratil that they could create the same level of indirect employment in Thanet from 611 direct jobs by 2018 that it takes Stanstead over 8000* direct employees to create and the fact that no-one at TDC seems willing to challenge this is shocking.
I am not a no night flights activist but could become one if pushed.
*In 1999 Stanstead claimed 2720 indirect employment from 8770 direct employees using formulae developed by Heathrow. Infratil claim they could create 2189 indirect employment from just 611 direct employees by 2018.

Bluenote said...

The important thing is that TDC are in receipt of all the information and have heard the arguments of all interested groups before any final decision is taken. Sadly, it would seem that the Labour group have chosen to pre-judge the matter.

Hopefully the right decision will ultimately be taken based on what is best for the people of Thanet has a whole and not on the rantings of vociferous minorities or to suit political posturing purposes.

Anonymous said...

Comment from Cllr Clive Hart - Leader of Thanet Labour Group at TDC.

"I'm pleased to see that the Conservative group at TDC agree with us that the current night flying application is unacceptable.

I wish to make it absolutely clear that our Labour Group is supportive of the airport and maximising the employment opportunities it will create, but this must not be at any price for Thanet's residents.

We certainly do need to balance the economic benefits against environmental considerations. However the proposed night-time flying policy does not appear to do that and leaves far too many uncertainties, that is why we decided not to support the application.

We have not ruled ourselves out of any future debate because the current application is not being treated as a planning application and therefore the rules on predetermination simply do not apply. Indeed, one of the matters of concern in making our own decision was that we felt that any changes such as the those sought at present may well require planning permission".

DrM. said...

So what Clive is saying, is the "Labour Group is supportive of the airport" but remains ambivalent and possibly opposed, to the question of night flying, as a contributory factor to the local economy.

Then returning to his statement he says "Furthermore we feel that any changes such as the one sought at present may require planning permission"

but previously wrote:

"The current application is not being treated as a planning application."

However, my own understanding, added in the earlier post, is that any substantive change in the s106 has to return to council and so once again, I repeat my own concern that a political position has appeared from the Labour Group in advance of process which is unhelpful.

Whether this is in fact predetermination of any kind, is still firmly up in the air - forgive the pun - at the moment!

Readit said...

Thanet District Council is so embroiled in Party Politics, it has lost sight of its community responsibilities.

Recent headlines:

“Core Strategy response Phase II delayed until after local elections May 2011.”

“Night flights consultation delayed pending further negotiations (until after the local elections May 2011).”

perhaps they should read:

“Council salaries stopped until after local election May 2011.” Or better still

“Councillors SACKED at local elections May 2011.”

Thanet needs to declare UDI (Unilateral declaration of Independents).


Then we might not be at the bottom of the league.

Fed-up Thanet Resident.

DrM. said...

Let's examine what you are saying for a moment 'Readit'

So you stop the salaries and sack the councillors and declare UDI. Who then makes the decisions. Do you really believe you can lock all these people together in a council chamber without interest groups appearing spontaneously?

It's not a perfect system by any means but it's the only one we have and works better than the majority of societies that wouldn't let you have a democratic opinion.

And if you declare UDI do you really believe your council tax would be enough to keep the wheels rolling? Of course not!

We are facing the greatest financial challenge in generations thanks in part to the foolish over-confidence of the last government. Everything you have come to recognise in local government and the welfare state is about to experience change in a way we haven't seen since the end of the Second World War and Thanet, along with similar, benefits dependent seaside communities, will shiver uncomfortably in this chill wind of change.

Tony Beachcomber said...

I think the whole issue of the expasion of Manston and the inclusion of night flights a more complex issue than a straight yes or no. I think the majority of people in Thanet would like to se Manston prosper but not at a terrible price with the remainder being the entrenched anti airport. As I see it there has to be a agreement and public consultation to how much we as a community are prepared to agree to. Obviously only a fool would give any operator a blank cheque to do as they please, on the other hand for the airport to develop there has to be some sort of compromise agreement. So I would think it is just a matter of reaching a satisfactory agreement and for councillors not to be rushed into it which does place a lot of responsibilty on the local councillors. I also think it is a good thing for councilllors to express objections , taking in factors like peoples concerns, enviromental impact etc.., before agreeing to any application.

Anonymous said...

I, as a Thanet resident would just like to say "why don't Infratil fill all the free daytime slots for these freight movements before asking for night use"?. They knew the previous owners had to abide by the 106 agreement before buying. I think they are just testing the system to see what they can get away with!

If the Labour party in Thanet is saying they are against night flights then they join the sensible parties that live near any UK airports where residents will not put up with night flying. They also know they will need votes in the coming elections.

DrM. said...

Airports and air-freight don't operate like a road haulage company. In Manston's case it appears to be receiving much of its traffic from the Middle-east and Africa and on a global basis aircraft are routed and flight-planned according to traffic patterns. You may have noticed that Transatlantic flights leave and arrive from America at certain peak times to fit busy trans-atlantic routing.

The problem with the Middle-east and in particular, Africa is one of delays and time, they are ahead of us. So if an aircraft loses it's ideal slot, it can find itself taking the next available option, which gets it into UK airspace at night with nowhere else to go short of an emergency diversion.

Readit said...

Dr M
You failed to consider the sublety of the word "Independents" not "independence"

Readit said...

If Infratil get a night-flight expansion they will just sell-off the airport to Middle-east CabbageAir or the Chinese as their directors are already considering, knowing they have exploited every loop-hole in an incomplete 106 agreement. Mr Buchanan was brought in as the "right " man for the "right "job, that is the only meaningful job recently created at Manston.

Chris Wells said...

"If the Labour party in Thanet is saying they are against night flights then they join the sensible parties that live near any UK airports where residents will not put up with night flying. They also know they will need votes in the coming elections."

Interesting thought Anon 750pm. I wonder which it is? Joining the 'sensible' party or needing the votes, given the number of Labour District Councillors in Ramsgate?

The Conservative Group met last Tuesday, two days prior to the Labour Group, but felt no compuction to rush to the press unless and until the proper steps were taken by the proper authority ie The Council.

I wonder why the Labour Party is so desperate for the press coverage, now claimed to be not accurate, and the cheeky,disingenuous comments from their leader about others joining their stance......

Yes, anon, its all about votes and headlines for them. The very last, tattered vestiges of integrity for the Labour Group just fell to earth. And took any sense of responsibility and accountability down with the crash.

Readit said...

Considering the heading of this post I can't see many "yes" men (persons) here!

Anonymous said...

DrM, if you think you and your party (locally) are best placed to get Thanet out of 'this mess', remember who has had both hands on the steering wheel for the last 7 years (locally).

I'd say if Thanet councillors were wiped off the face of the earth tomorrow (hopefully whilst holding hands with some senior officers), someone walking down any street in Thanet (sober, drug free) will more often than not make a better decision than you idiots have on any major votes that have come your way

DrM. said...

I wonder 9:18 why you might think that. Put another way, people like me - the idiots I guess - attempt to make informed decisions in the public interest. I find rather too often that people like you draw conclusions or deliver opinions from information sources and rumour that is frequently lacking in accuracy or substance!

Anonymous said...

don.t people put up a load of rubbish on your web site and you print it i am sure this just upsets people all the more bring on nights flights and lets bring work to thanet and if passanger flights come to thanet look at the money saved by people whom go to gatwick at a great cost to there pocket this is just a thing with c hart he winds up the public with al this rubbish and they belive it