Monday, 1 November 2010


Plans for a public consultation on a new night-time flying policy for Manston Airport have been stopped by Thanet District Council.

The night-time flying plans were submitted by the airport to the council in late September 2010. When the plans were received, the council said it would carry out an independent review of the noise assessment report, produced by the airport as part of their application, before any consultation started. An initial draft of this report was received recently and the final report is expected soon, when it will be made public.

Following careful consideration of this draft report and taking account of the considerable public interest in the future direction of the airport, Council Leader Cllr. Bob Bayford and Chief Executive Richard Samuel met with the airport’s CEO Charles Buchanan on Monday 1 November. The airport agreed to revise the detail contained within the proposal. The council will not open any public consultation until this has been received.

The council indicated that elements of the night flying policy needed more clarification to ensure that the public could be provided with a better understanding of how it would be managed, how it would link to the business need for the plans, and examples of how many aircraft movements could potentially take place during the night.

Cllr. Bayford said: “I have met with Charles Buchanan to advise him that, after careful consideration over the last couple of weeks, the proposals that have been submitted have insufficient detail in some areas to be acceptable to the council. We’ve had an initial report through from our consultants, which has confirmed that there are areas of clarification that require further work before local residents are consulted. I believe that, before residents have their say, they need to know more detail and have a full understanding of exactly how many aircraft movements are being discussed. That information is difficult to gauge from the proposals that have been put to us, partly because of its technical nature and this needs further work. I also believe that the proposed upper level of activity is too high and needs to be reconsidered. I am not prepared to start a public consultation until these issues have been resolved. I am pleased to say that the airport has agreed to review these issues.”

He added: “The council remains supportive of the airport and maximising the employment opportunities it can create and sustain, but this cannot be at any price for local residents. As a council, we need to balance the economic benefits carefully against environmental considerations. The proposed night-time flying policy doesn’t fully allow us to do that, as it leaves uncertainties that need to be clarified before we consult the public.

“I have confirmed with the airport that they will receive a copy of our advisor’s report as soon as it’s finalised. From this, they have agreed to develop fuller information that we will consult on. I recognise, as does the airport, that this may take time, but it is important to get this right.”

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