Standing room only at packed meeting

Over 400 people turned out on a Friday night in Ramsgate last night to hear about what they needed to do as ‘interested parties’ in the Development Consent Order (DCO) process.  There is a less than 30 day window for anyone negatively affected by the proposals in the application from RiverOak Strategic Partners (RSP) to register with the national planning inspectorate (PINS) as an interested party.  The room was packed, with all chairs filled, more being set out and standing around the room and out of the door.

See our previous post about how to register – either as an individual or as a member of a concerned group e.g. School parents, residents’ association, music studio workers, Brownie group and so on.  NNF Guidance on registering here.

Quick link here to register directly with PINS.

The meeting heard from committee members of No Night Flights.  The background to the failed airport was outlined as an update on where we are now and how we got here.

An overwhelming majority of residents in the hall remember the misery of flights overhead when the airport was open and that was with very few flights annually.  There was anger, frustration, sorrow and fear expressed in the room.

Paul Luxmoore, Executive Headteacher of Coastal Communities Academies, responsible for many schools in Thanet, spoke powerfully about the damage this proposal would inflict on the children of Thanet. He said that ‘he shuddered’ to think of the negative impact on their education, their life opportunities, their health.

41325054_10160804640935173_3677679782876676096_n

 

Some evidence on noise, sleep and health for  you

  1. A large-scale statistical analysis of the health effects of aircraft noise was undertaken in the late 2000s by Bernhard Greiser for the Umweltbundesamt, Germany’s central environmental office. The health data of over one million residents around the Cologne airport were analysed for health effects correlating with aircraft noise. The results were then corrected for other noise influences in the residential areas, and for socioeconomic factors, to reduce possible skewing of the data. The study concluded that aircraft noise clearly and significantly impairs health, with, for example, a day-time average sound pressure level of 60 decibel increasing coronary heart disease by 61% in men and 80% in women. As another indicator, a night-time average sound pressure level of 55 decibel increased the risk of heart attacks by 66% in men and 139% in women. Statistically significant health effects did however start as early as from an average sound pressure level of 40 decibel.[6]
  2. ^ Tödlicher LärmSpiegel, Nr. 51, 14 Dezember 2009, Page 45 (German)
  3. The researchers at Imperial found that volunteers’ blood pressure increased noticeably after they experienced a ‘noise event’ – a noise louder than 35 decibels – such as aircraft travelling overhead, traffic passing outside, or a partner snoring. This effect could be seen even if the volunteer remained asleep and so was not consciously disturbed.Aircraft noise events caused an average increase in systolic blood pressure of 6.2 mmHg and an average increase in diastolic blood pressure of 7.4 mmHg. Similar increases in blood pressure were seen also for other noise sources such as road traffic. The researchers found that the increase in blood pressure was related to the loudness of the noise, so that a greater increase in blood pressure could be seen where the noise level was higher. For example, for every 5dB increase in aircraft noise at its loudest point, there was an increase of 0.66 mmHg in systolic blood pressure. 
  4. What is a ‘noise event’? Any noise louder than 35 decibels. Blood pressure increases after people experience a ‘noise event’ even if they remain asleep. A study, published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, showed that an increase in night-time aeroplane noise of 10dB increased the risk of high blood pressure by 14 per cent in both men and women.
  5. Research from Imperial College London (2008) Dr Lars Jarup from the Department of Edpidemiology and Public Helath at Imperial College London – “Our studies show that night-time aircraft noise can affect your blood pressure instantly and increase the risk of hypertension. It is clear to me that measures need to be taken to reduce noise levels from aircraft, in particular during night-time, in order to protect the health of people living near airports.”
  6. Noise pollution: non-auditory effects on health Stephen A Stansfeld and Mark P Matheson  http://bmb.oxfordjournals.org/content/68/1/243.full
  7. In 1992 in Germany, Munich airport was relocated to a new site 50km away ‘Old’ Munich Airport – Children studied showed aircraft noise had a negative effect on memory and reading comprehension.  Three years after the airport moved to its new location, the same children showed improvements in long-term memory.  ‘New” Munich Airport.  Within three years, children living under the flight path of the relocated airport were showing deficits in long-term memory and reading comprehension.  https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0934885999800145  http://www.noiseandhealth.org/article.asp?issn=1463-1741;year=2003;volume=5;issue=19;spage=31;epage=40;aulast=Matheson   http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/4603189.stm
  8. “There is increasing evidence that air and road traffic noise might be related to high blood pressure,” says Stephen Stansfeld, professor of psychiatry at Barts and the London School of Medicine. “Exposure in school to aircraft noise is also linked to reading impairment in children. http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2008/sep/23/healthandwellbeing.pollution
  9. Dr. Hans-Friedrich Doering and Dr. Hans-Werner Tuettenberg
D: Exposure to noise has hormonal and somatic-nervous effects. During the day-time the body has defence mechanisms to resist stressful noise. Then, the somatic nervous system is in a phase of production or performance in which the body is used to work and disregard what disturbs.

Q: And what happens during the night?

T: While sleeping, during the Vagus phase of the somatic nervous system, everything is being done that was put aside or left over from the day.

D: During the night the waste material of the cells (cell garbage) is being processed, mental as well as physical. Because of that, dream phases are indispensable.

T: Sleep occurs in specific cycles and nocturnal aircraft noise chops up these cycles.

Q: What does that mean?

D: The recycling work is being blocked or simply said: the cells cannot regenerate, the head is not decongested. Garbage piles up. This leads to disorders of the heart and blood circulation system, the metabolism, the lipids, the immune system and the digestive functions.

T: In people who are chronically exposed to noise the risk of a noise-induced myocardial infarction is 10 times higher than the generally known health risk of cancerous air pollutants. Furthermore, aircraft noise can also lead to considerable hormone shifts and disorders in pregnant women.

  1. The following interview is from an article about noise, published in the “Koelner Anzeiger” and “Leverkusener Anzeiger” (Germany) on Wednesday, April 21, 1999, the 4th International Noise Awareness Day. It was translated by Hans Schmid, Right to Quiet Society, Vancouver, Canada.  http://www.areco.org/499noise.htm

Dr. Hans-Friedrich Doering “Our job as medical professionals is to work with the patients and also to tell them that as the immediately afflicted they have to defend themselves. Health damage from aircraft noise, especially during the night, is objectively demonstrable. Legal steps can then be taken by patients’ associations.”

Bernhard Greiser for the Umweltbundesamt, Germany’s central environmental office 2009. The study showed that aircraft noise clearly and significantly impairs health, with, for example, a day-time average sound pressure level of 60 decibels increasing coronary heart disease by 61% in men and 80% in women. As another indicator, a night-time average sound pressure level of 55 decibels increased the risk of heart attacks by 66% in men and 139% in women. Statistically significant health effects did however start as early as from an average sound pressure level of 40 decibels.

Pre-examination Period

Read full info below but quick link here to register directly with PINS.

What does this mean?

A quick update on the Manston Development Consent Order (DCO) process.

  1. Application: No time limit.
    1. 17/07/18 RSP re-submits application for the upgrade and re-opening of Manston airport primarily as a cargo airport, plus some passenger servcies, with capacity for 12,000 plus air cargo movements per year, including numberless night flights (limited only be an overall annual noise budget bigger than Luton’s) plus acceptance of aircraft banned from Heathrow and Gatwick at night on noise grounds (QC4 rated aircraft)
  2. Acceptance: Up to 28 days
    1. 14/08/18 PINS announces acceptance of the application (just within the statutory deadline). For a summary of relevant reasons for acceptance see PINS checklist from p4 here.
  3. Pre-examination: 3 months after the applicant (RSP) triggers the process
    1. 03/09/18 – 08/10/18 (30 days from applicant publishing acceptance of application) interested parties may register directly with PINS.  NNF guidance on registering – here.
    2. Before 03/12/18 (within 3 months of publishing acceptance) an Examining Authority (EA) Inspector(s) appointed to assess issues.
    3. Shortly after 03/12/18 EA invites interested parties to Preliminary Meeting.
    4. Three weeks from EA invitation to interested parties (perhaps late December 2018) Preliminary Meeting held to set procedure plus detailed timetable and deadlines for submissions to Examination.
  4. Examination: Up to 6 months
    1. To consider written representations and hold hearings (perhaps February to August 2019)
  5. Report and recommendations: Up to 3 months
    1. 3 months to issue report and recommendation(s) (perhaps October – November 2019)
  6. Decision: Up to 3 months
    1. 3 months for Secretary of State to make a DCO (or to refuse development consent) and issue statement of reeasons (perhaps January – February 2020)
  7. Post-decision: Up to 6 weeks
    1. 6 week window for Judicial Review in the High Court.

WE ARE AT THE PRE-EXAMINATION STAGE.

It is at this stage that, before 8th October 2018, all interested parties need to apply to PINS to be registered. Being registered means that you can contribute at the Examination stage of the process.  If you do not apply to be registered as an interested party before 8th October, you will have no further opportunity to contribute your views.

PINS say about registering:

In this form, your representation must include an outline of the principal submissions you intend to make in relation to the application. You cannot reserve a right to make a representation later without providing an outline of the points you intend to submit at this stage.
Please note that your representation must not include material:
  • that is vexatious or frivolous
  • about compensation for compulsory acquisition of land or of any interest in or right over land
  • about the merits of policy set out in a designated national policy statement.
The information you include in the representation section of this form will be used by the Examining Authority to carry out their initial assessment of principal issues and to decide the best way to examine the application.
Here you must provide an outline of the main points you intend to make in relation to the application. Failure to provide this will mean that we are unable to register you as an interested party. Please aim to limit this section to no more than 500 words.

On a scale of 1-10 how surprised are you?

We learn today that RSP has withdrawn its application to the Planning Inspectorate for a Development Consent Order for the Manston site.

Whaaaaaat? – we hear you cry.  Yes, yet again their cast-iron, superbly-professional, expertly-put-together portfolio of evidence and business plans seems to fail to pass muster.  Why do we conclude this? Well, the letter produced below says that they will be resubmitting.  Why withdraw in the first place?  It can only be, surely, that they’ve been given the nod, or have worked out for themselves, that their submission is unlikely to be passed in its current form.  Yes, current form – the thousands and thousands of pages of documentation that they have consistently assured their followers would guarantee smooth and swift passage.

So, is it the inadequacy of their consultation that is being called into question? We certainly hope so.

Does it have anything to do with the fact that Stone Hill Park has submitted more detailed plans to Thanet District Council (TDC), plans that are likely to have more substance as regards environmental impact assessments and that will be publicly available shortly? Hmmmm.

BirchamDysonBellLetter080518

What IS Kent County Council’s view on Manston?

With potential now, given Sajiv Javid’s recent letter to TDC (see previous blog post), for KCC to play a role in getting a Local Plan for Thanet approved, many are asking about KCC’s view.

Over the years, the Conservative-run KCC supported the development of Manston as an airport believing that it could be a major contributor to the East Kent and wider economy.  Facts, evidence and circumstance changed their mind.  In 2015, this was Paul Carter, Leader of the Council, on the changed view at the end of a damning report on both the failure of Manston over the years and the prospects of RSP, particularly when set against the owners’ record.  The full report can be found here.

“The truth is that Manston has failed over a prolonged period of time to run as a commercially successful airport.  Kent County Council gave strong support to various  investors but the reality of commercial aviation at Manston Airport led to very significant losses. In fact, in the 16 years since it was taken into privately ownership it has incurred losses by those who have tried to operate it in excess of £100 million.

The objective now must therefore be to make sure that we have owners who want to do exciting things on the site and that the land is not left abandoned. Bristow Group had chosen Manston as its location for the regional search and rescue base; when the airport closed the company decided to locate that base at Lydd. Kent County Council is pleased that this vital service will still be located in Kent. Lydd Airport is also starting a substantial investment programme to extend its runway and construct new aviation facilities.

Surely it is now time to look at a B Plan for Manston.  The driver must be to seize the best opportunity to create  a significant number of new jobs and bring prosperity into East Kent.  RiverOak has not managed to convince Thanet District Council that there is a viable business plan. We believe the new owners have got a credible plan and the financial ability to create substantial numbers of new jobs which will bring prosperity and economic growth to East Kent.”

No Night Flights repeatedly, over the years, sought to produce evidence to help change the minds of Paul Carter and others at KCC.  Given overwhelming evidence and conversations with owners’ Infratil and Ann Gloag following the demise of the airport, Carter and the administration at KCC became convinced that there was no viable aviation option at Manston, that there were no viable operators with viable plans, that the owners had credible alternative plans and that the economies and communities in Thanet, East Kent and wider Kent deserved real investment and real regeneration.

Makes sense to us.

Time for an intervention

TDC councillors were warned.  Warned by officers at the council.  Warned by Sajid Javid, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government.  Warned by us.  Warnings galore.

Warned about what? Warned that failure to produce an evidence-based Local Plan would result in intervention in our local planning affairs.  We elect local representatives to do exactly that, represent us and make local decisions in the best interests of local people.  What that doesn’t mean is populism.  What that doesn’t mean is decision-making by gut instinct or emotion.  What that doesn’t mean is politicking in one’s own interest or narrow party political interest.  It means looking coolly and calmly at the evidence before you and acting accordingly.  TDC councillors rejected that approach, against the advice of officers, and were warned that their responsibilities, as given to them by the electors of Thanet, could be taken from them meaning that decisions about our local communities could be taken by outsiders at either regional or national level. Cheers for that.

Despite assurances from a Conservative councillor that Sajid Javid had been in conversation with Roger Gale and Craig Mackinlay and that Javid had offered assurances about extra time being given to TDC to deliver a local plan, we now see Javid doing exactly what he threatened to do to all councils failing to deliver a local plan. The urgent need for local plans to deliver the housing desperately needed to help solve the national housing crisis is driving this and Javid is clearly in no mood to pander to councils’ nimbyism.
So Javid says “In summary, …the District COuncil resolved to reject the recommendation of officers to publish the draft Local Plan and is therefore failing to meet its deadline for publication of a Plan, in accordance with your published Local Development SCheme.” NOte: “reject the recommendation of officers”
He goes on to say ” The District Council’s argument to justify this failure sets out two inter-related circumstances – the local debate over the future of Manston Airport and the need to undertake further work to identify alternative sites after the Plan failed to proceed. I consider that these are not exceptional circumstances….”.
NOT exceptional circumstances. Much as the airport supporters want to claim that Manston is of unique, national significance, in the real world, it’s simply not the case.
We wait to see what intervention looks likeliest from the proposals in the letter and can only hope that this prompts more sensible, evidence-based thinking, such as KCC has previously shown in relation to Manston, than seems possible within the TDC chambers.
Meanwhile, local people aren’t happy. And rightly so.  They’ve been fed fake story after fake story.
LetterreplanfromTorysupporter