What to make of Sir Roger Gale? Is he the tame member of parliament for the Belize-owned Riveroak Strategic Partners? What is his obsession with RSP and with Manston about? What is his position NOW?
Gale has aimed to set the record straight on this just this week.
“I’ve been called the member of parliament for Riveroak, I’m not, I’m the member of parliament for Manston!”
Strange. Isn’t he supposed to be the member of parliament for North Thanet? Representing ALL the residents of North Thanet. We’ve long wondered why, as Paul Francis asks here, he’s been like a ‘dog with a bone’ over Manston.
Sir Roger, or Sir Riveroak as many call him locally, isn’t always so quick to deny that he has an intimate and strong relationship with RSP. In this video clip from the Save Manston Airport Group’s AGM in January 2016 (1.45 minutes into the clip) , Gale says:
” I know I’ve been called the member of parliament for Riveroak and I actually wear that as a badge of honour!”
As a member of parliament, Sir Roger is held to high standards. We are all entitled to hold him to those high standards. Telling the absolute truth about RSP and their proposals regarding Manston is the very least we can expect.
Gale has told residents time and again, very publicly on radio and TV, that there will be no night flights.
On his Facebook page, in a post, dated August 9 2016, Sir Roger, stated:
“To set the record straight RiverOak has confirmed that they have no plans to operate scheduled night flights…”
“…I for one would not countenance, and would not expect the Conservative Group on Thanet District Council to support, any proposal that involved scheduled night flying.”
In an interview with BBC Radio Kent, on 25th April, during the 2017 General Election campaign, he was questioned by presenter Maggie Doyle he was asked directly if freight would be flown in during the night. He answered:
“No, there is no proposal and no need to fly freight in at night.”
In the same interview, he added:
“The RiverOak Strategic Partnership has made it absolutely plain that they have no desire to fly planes in in anti-social hours, I am content with that.”
In RSP’s ‘clarification’ on their night time flying proposals, they continue to insist that they won’t schedule night flights but, at the same time, say that some non-scheduled night flights ‘cannot be ruled out’. They also state that they will accept what they call flights ‘carrying time-sensitive cargo with a very specific delivery window’. In addition, they say they will schedule up to six passenger flights between 6am and 7am which still falls within the accepted definition of ‘night time’ (11pm -7am).
Not so clear then. Quite contradictory, in fact.
In addition, what they have been very clear about is that they are not putting any limit on the overall numbers of night flights. The quota count, or noise budget, they have asked for exceeds that of Heathrow and what they have asked for would allow noisier planes that allowed to land at Heathrow.
Excuse us, Sir Roger, member of parliament for Riveroak or Manston, whatever? Doesn’t this all directly contradict what you have been so vocal in telling your constituents and the wider public for many years now?
What exactly is Sir Roger’s position? Will he now turn against RSP given that they are directly asking for night flights?
We’ve been given further very useful clarification this week with this response to a member of the public from the Planning Inspectorate (our highlighting):
Thank you for your email. I apologise for the short delay in providing this response. Beyond the acceptance tests applied to a submitted application for airport-related development (as set out in s23 of the Planning Act 2008), the Planning Inspectorate does not dictate the operational characteristics of airport-related applications made to it. It is for an applicant alone to decide whether or not its airport-related development needs to allow for night flights to be operated. If an airport applicant intends to operate night flights, its Environmental Impact Assessment will need to include an assessment to identify the likely significant effects arising from those night flights, along with a description of the measures envisaged in order to avoid, prevent, reduce or offset them. If an airport applicant does not intend to operate night flights, or have the option to operate night flights, there will be no need to assess the impact of night flights as part of its Environmental Impact Assessment. An applicant must submit a draft Development Consent Order (DCO) with its application and the draft DCO must set out the authorised development that the Applicant is seeking consent for. If an applicant chose to do so it could include within a draft DCO for airport-related development provisions which set out, for example, the parameters associated with any night flights that an applicant wishes to operate (eg their frequency, the circumstances under which they may operate etc). The draft provisions provided in the draft DCO submitted with the application will be subject to examination by the appointed Examining Authority (ExA). Anybody who registers to become an Interested Party at the appropriate time in the Pre-examination period (as advertised by the Applicant) will be able to make representations to the ExA about any of the provisions in the draft DCO. The ExA will make a recommendation to the Secretary of State about whether development consent should be granted, and if so, what provisions are to be included in the DCO, including any provisions relating to night flights if the applicant requested these in its application. The Secretary of State will make the final decision on these matters. The authorised development will be prescribed in a Schedule to the DCO, if development consent is granted. If you have any further questions about the process, please do not hesitate to contact us again.
Kind regards Richard Price |
National Infrastructure Case Manager
Major Applications & Plans
Temple Quay House,
Bristol BS1 6PN
RSP are actually being a lot clearer than Gale is. RSP has said in their documentation that their plans for night flights mean ‘a permanent, major, adverse impact on the quality of life’ in our communities. Isn’t it about time that he came out and said this himself if he continues to support RSP? Isn’t it time he came clean and admitted that the outfit he is so proud to support is intending night flights?