KEITH TAYLOR Green Party
for the South East of England
ConsultationThanet District CouncilPO Box 9MargateCT9 1XZ
March 2012To Whom It May Concern,I am writing to raise my objections to the proposed introduction of scheduled nighttime flights from ManstonAirport. I am against all scheduled flights from Manston Airport between 11pm and 7am for a number of reasons:
The Economic Case:
I believe that Manston Airport has grossly overstated the economic case for night flights. Their predictionsfor the future growth of the airport, and the benefits this will provide to the local community, are based onquestionable or flawed claims, as pointed out by various independent reports and assessments (including thereport from Parsons Brinckerhoff commissioned by Thanet council).
Firstly, Manston Airport’s economic assessment fails to account for the current economic downturn andso overestimates the potential for growth over the next few years. It also overstates the likelihood of attracting based carriers for freight or passengers, which is a key part of its economicviability. Manston Airport’s geographic position means it is unlikely to attract significant passenger numbers or to act as a freight hub for the UK as a whole, and is very poorly located for serving theSouth East region. In addition the entire economic assessment presented by the airport is based onopaque figures, using future passenger and freight projections of uncertain origin to calculate thefinancial loss of not having night flights. As a result the claim that restricting night flights is curtailingthe airport’s otherwise inevitable expansion is disingenuous.
There is a similar flaw with the job creation claims made by the airport, for which the figures used are widelydisputed and fail to stand up to scrutiny. Evidence from independent reports, as well as from similar airportsin the UK, suggests that the number of jobs created from an increase in flights is far lower than ManstonAirport claims. In fact, Manston Airport is currently operating at below capacity and losing both money and jobs. Even if it were to be argued that further flights were necessary, there would appear to be room for significant improvements in current operations, such as making better use of daytime capacity, beforeresorting to night flights.
Air Pollution, Noise and Quality of Life:
Not only are the benefits of this proposal exaggerated, but insufficient attention is shown towards thenumerous inconveniences caused by night flights. These include the harms caused by noise pollution,including sleep deprivation and other associated health risks, which were glossed over in the noise reportsubmitted by the airport. An independent assessment by Buenas Veritas confirms that more stringent noiserestrictions should be considered, given the potential harm that noise can cause.