Friday, 1 April 2011

Seaside town spends £39,000 on council job... running beach trips for locals

"Seaside town spends £39,000 on council job... running beach trips for locals

All its residents live within a few miles of sandy beaches.
But that hasn’t stopped Thanet District Council splashing out £39,000 a year on a manager to take children on trips... to the seaside.
For 30 months Suzie Hooper’s sole job will be to head off on ‘rockpool safaris’ and ‘father and son’ outings with children from Ramsgate and Margate.
The salary – £14,000 above the national average – is being paid out of a £98,000 grant from the Big Lottery Fund, which is repeatedly under fire for its choice of funding projects.

Margate beach and promenade: But spending the £100,000 grant on trips to the seaside for children who live nearby has been criticised
The scheme was planned after a council survey revealed several youngsters living in the area, which boasts 20 miles of sandy beaches, had never been to the sea.
But the project has come under fire from local residents who have branded it 'disgusting' and a 'waste of money'.

600 groups hit by £100m arts cuts as a quarter of theatres, galleries and orchestras lose ALL funding
Semi-retired construction worker Ron Greene, 50, who is the chairman of the Arlington House Residents' Association in Margate, described the funding as a 'joke'.
He said: 'It's disgusting that this amount of money is being spent on trips to the beach when we are seeing huge cutbacks on vital services, such as those for the elderly.
'It's a complete and utter waste of money to pay someone to take kids to the beach - that should be something their parents or guardians should do.

Summer fun: Events scheduled for this summer include 'rockpooling safaris' and 'father and son' outings
'There is nowhere in Thanet where you are more than four miles from a beach so it's ridiculous to say local kids aren't able to go.
'Three of my friends have just been laid off by Thanet District Council to save money so what they are doing seems unbelievable.
'These are top notch people they have sacked and instead someone is getting paid £39,000 a year to take kids to the beach. It's a joke.'
Retired engineer Keith Chadband, 70, chairman of the Cliftonville Residents' Association in the town, added: 'This seems to be a very strange idea and I certainly think there are a lot better ways the money could be used to benefit the local area.

'There are lots of communal areas in Margate that have suffered vandalism but it's almost impossible for us to raise money or get grants to repair them.
'The children always go down to the beach by themselves because it's quite safe and only about 50 yards away from town.
'It's disgusting that this amount of money is being spent on trips to the beach when we are seeing huge cutbacks on vital services, such as those for the elderly.
'It's a complete and utter waste of money to pay someone to take kids to the beach - that should be something their parents or guardians should do'
- Residents' Association chairman Ron Greene

'I can't understand what they are going to do with the money because lots of groups like primary schools and clubs already take kids to the beach for free.'
The Footprints in the Sand scheme is run by the council's Thanet Coast Project and was set up to hold children and family events.
Events scheduled for this summer include 'rockpooling safaris' and 'father and son' events on beaches in Ramsgate and Margate.
The £98,000 lottery grant will be used to pay project officer Suzie Hooper to organise community events for the next two and a half years.
The money will not be spent on equipment or to pay other staff members.
A spokesman for Thanet District Council revealed the project was launched after project workers discovered some children had never been to the seaside.
She said: 'Essentially the grant is paying the wages for a person to deliver events for the next two and a half years.
'It is specifically aimed at people who don't go to the beach. Sadly we've had groups go out to schools and ask how many have been to the beach and there are some that don't.

'It is very disappointing because the beach is on their doorstep. You would think people would go an explore what is on their doorstep.'
Project officer Ms Hooper added: 'Over the next couple of years, I'll be aiming to get people more interested and aware of what's available for them on their coastline.
'We want to make people proud of what we have here and get more involved with the wide range of activities along the shoreline.'
A spokesman for the Taxpayers' Alliance criticised the project as a 'waste of money'.
He said: 'At a time when there are such huge pressures on public finances, local residents will be bemused to see this money being spend on this project.
'Children in the Thanet area are living with the beach on their doorstep anyway, it's a waste of money.'
The Big Lottery Fund grant is being administered by Natural England as part of its Access to Nature programme."

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

THREE EVENTS - THIS Sunday with food & drink THEN Fri 25 AND Sunday 27

Community Volunteer Day  organised by
Friends of the Countess of Huntingdon's Burial Ground
Sunday 20th March 12 - 4pm
Meet at the gated entrance to the site at the side of BT and the Post Office Sorting Office on Addington Square, Margate

Come and discover one of Margate's hidden gems
We need your help us bring this secret garden back to life
Help clear the site and get involved with the project for the future
Activities for kids and all the family
Learn to make a bird feeder / make a bird hide
Gloves and tools provided - Please wear stout footwear and something warm

Please bring food & drink to share
Food and drink also provided by "The old Comrades" and their "ELLIE" van

For more information:  / 07932 713292   or  / 07872 028947
The Friends of The Countess of Huntingdon's Burial Ground is supported by the Thanet Wildlife Project, Kent Wildlife Trust, TDC, Natural England, Thanet Coast Project

From: Dane Valley Woods []                    Sent: 14 March 2011 23:04


This winter, with the help of the local community, we have already planted 650 trees of native species – Hazel, Spindle, Dogwood, Field Maple, Ash, Cherry, Oak and Wild Service Tree. We need your help again to plant another 500 trees, continuing to create Margate's very own community woodland. No experience necessary and all ages welcome (under 16s to be accompanied by an adult). We'll provide the tools – just come along dressed for muddy conditions, with sturdy shoes and enthusiasm – it will be your last chance to plant trees with us until next autumn!

Meet at the junction of Dane Valley Road and Kent Road on Sunday 27 March at 10am (CT9 3RX). For more information reply to this email at or call 07806 623201. Oh, and don't forget that the clocks go FORWARD earlier that morning!

Looking forward to seeing you,   The Dane Valley Woods team.            

The Windmill Community Allotment Project
Over 55s Gardening, Volunteer Opportunities
Veg Box Scheme

·         We are running a new project launch day on Friday 25th March at 10.30am; it's a new gardening group for people over 55, which will run on a regular basis every Friday. No experience is necessary, make new friends, keep fit in the open air and use existing skills and learn new ones;  find more details in the attached poster. Numbers are limited. To book a place please call 01843 280 555 or 07717 531 589.

·         There is a variety of volunteering opportunities available at the project; we have a range of activities for you to participate in, learn new skills and meet new people. Whatever your level of experience or field of interest, you will be very welcome! Please call 01843 280 555 or 07717 531 589 and ask about the Windmill Volunteer Opportunities.

·         Our Veg Box Co-ordinator is now in post, so we are looking to launch our veg box scheme in July this year. We will have a number of different venues around Margate initially and then throughout Thanet, where you will be able to pick up fresh, seasonal vegetables every week, grown locally without chemicals. Recipes and top tips to help you use the contents. Health and convenience in a bag! Call Alex on Tuesdays or Wednesdays on 01843 280555 if you would like to know more.

·         If these events/activities aren't of interest to you, they might be to someone you know. Please let others know what is going on at Windmill Community Allotment Project and tell them to drop us a line if they wish to be included in this e-mail newsletter.

·         We are going to be launching lots more exciting activities and events in the near future. We don't intend to bombard you with e-mails, but if you feel you received this by accident, or don't wish to learn more about our project, please reply to this e-mail with an e-mail subject of "Unsubscribe" and we will take you off our list.

Thank you for your interest – we hope to see you soon!


Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Press Release: Save the Date - Opening of the new Thanet Visitor Information Centre

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Emma Dadds
Date: 15 March 2011 14:14
Subject: Save the Date - Opening of the new Thanet Visitor Information Centre
To: Abigail Budd

Dear Colleague

As you may remember in the last edition of 'Tourism Matters' we let you know about the opening date of our new Thanet Visitor Information Centre at Droit House in Margate.

We have some more good news to share with you now about Droit House...

Kent County Council are now working on redoing the surrounding road and paving of Droit House to match with the Turner Contemporary landscaping work. To allow for this work to take place, and to ensure that our new office looks its absolute best we have changed our first day of opening to the public to Friday 1st April, when we shall be open from 10am to 5pm. Please note that our old office (12-13 The Parade, Margate) will remain open as usual until 1st April.

We would also like to let you know, that our High Season will start from Tuesday 12th April which means that the Thanet Visitor Information Centre, at Droit House, will be open every day of the week from 10am to 5pm. Please do check our website for details on when we shall be staying open later into the evening to support the areas exciting new season of events. An example of this, is through our work to support the opening date of Turner Contemporary on Saturday 16th April, when we shall be open from 10am until 10pm.

Should you require any clarification on the above please telephone our Visitor Services Officer, Abigail Budd on 01843 577577 or email

We look forward to welcoming you to our new centre from 1st April!

Best Wishes

The Thanet Visitor Information Centre Team
12-13 The Parade,
01843 577577


Ursuline College phone number 01843 834431


11 Grosvenor Road, Broadstairs, KENT CT10 2BT

01843 604253



MARCH 2011




A woman who planted trees in loving memory of her daughter in Broadstairs' Pierremont Park is begging the council to think again about plans to build in the park.


Mrs Kathy Carr's daughter Ajanta died 30 years ago this month in a tragic drowning accident off Ramsgate seafront when she was ten years old. Her family planted trees in Pierremont Park in her memory.


Mrs Carr said: "I was saddened to hear there are plans to a build a large new community centre in Pierremont Park and that trees and parkland will be lost to make way for this development."


Mrs Carr added: "My daughter would have been 40 this month and the park holds pleasant memories for me and the community at large."


After the death of her daughter, Mrs Carr wrote a book of poetry "The Rich Pattern Of Mind" which, she said, brought comfort to many people grieving for the loss of loved ones.


Mrs Carr said: "It would be a comfort to know the park will always be there unspoilt and peaceful, so people can remember happier times and be at peace with nature."


Mr Carr, who is known for her volunteering work locally, said: "Parks like Pierremont must be protected from development of any kind and preserved for everyone to enjoy."


Opposition to the plans to erect the new building in the park is growing, according to local resident Norman Thomas.


Mr Thomas said: "Every day people ring me and express their anger over the plans. People are horrified at the prospect of the loss of trees."


"They simply don't believe council reassurances that there will be minimum damage.  Many people want a new community centre – but a small, local, much-loved park is absolutely the wrong place to build it."


"And Broadstairs Town council still have serious questions to answer about the funding of the project and also their plans to re-landscape the park by planting semi-mature trees. We have it on good authority that these plans are not feasible. "


A meeting to discuss what to do next about trying to save the park will be held on Friday March 18th in the Park Hut, in Pierremont Park at 7.30pm.


"This is a crisis situation," said Mr Thomas, "Anyone who feels strongly about what's happening to our park should come and discuss what can be done."


For more info or pictures contact Norman Thomas, 01843 604253






CT10 2BT

01843 694253



 "Thanet on Film": - Additional screening due to popular demand


The public will have their last chance to see the phenomenally popular "Thanet On Film II" when the Margate version of the film gets its final public screening at the Ursuline College in Westgate-On-Sea.


The 78 minute film includes vintage footage of Thanet from the 1920s to the 1970s and explores the impact of the decline in seaside holidays on the area.  It also explores the future for Thanet and hopes for the regeneration of the area through initiatives such as the new Turner Contemporary Gallery.


Mrs O'Grady, Assistant Headteacher at the Ursuline College, saw the film when it was screened at the Carlton Cinema recently and felt that it was an excellent way to show her Geography students the changing tourist industry in Thanet, and also other current issues such as the decline of Dreamland, attempts to regenerate tourism and the Thanet Earth Developments. 


Members of the public are invited to attend the screening and tickets, costing £5.00 can be booked in advance by telephoning the Ursuline College on 01843 434431.


"Thanet On Film" will be shown in the Ursuline College, Westgate-On-Sea on Wednesday 30 March 2011 at 7pm.  Doors open at 6.30pm.


Photos attached. More information about the film please call Christine Tongue on 01843 604253, for information about the Ursuline school and how to book, please ring 01843 434431.


Thanet Detectives, behind the scenes - Consultation - some thoughts

Views & info in this email are not necessarily mine.  I am simply
forwarding them on & I do not accept responsibility for their accuracy
or content by circulating them.  If you have any concerns about
contents/ accuracy of this email, please tell me.   If you would like
to be added, or removed, from this mailing list, let me know.

From: N                                       Sent: 10 March 2011 19:27
… At the moment it seems anyone can come up with an idea, and have it
financially supported - that is, anyone who is in the supported group!
Such people can also come up with proposals which then go out for
consultation – tick box, multiple choice answers - to the rest of us.
The problem is that some of the suggestions may be very good.  And who
are we to say that they aren't the wishes of the people?  How many
people would that be? The accusation could be that they just aren't
OUR wishes.
We know what it's like.  You ask the question in a particular way, and
people who will give you the answer you want.  So some people have
said "yes" to some initiatives.
We have the same problem as TDC.  How do we count our numbers?  And
how can we legitimately say it's a sufficient pool of the population
to justify our stance?  How else would we do it?  And at what point
could we say we have truly got the people's vote on something?  …
From: b                                   Sent: 11 March 2011 00:25
I know the whole issue of consultation is difficult, but a good
starting point would be to give people the true facts. The Walkie
Talkie team asked X, and others, ...
"Do you think it's a good idea if the two disused areas of land in the
old town were turned into gardens?"
The obvious answer, from most if not all, was "yes".
The question could have been
"Do you think it's a good idea for the Council to spend £40,000,
through Groundwork, who we represent, to convert two vacant building
plots, scheduled for re-development in the near future, into gardens
to make the Old Town look better for the opening of the Turner
To this question, I am sure the answer would be very different.
As for whether or not you have accessed a large enough sample of
people, if the people felt that what they said was listened to and
acted upon, then public participation would surely increase.  …
Report on the Public Consultation for the Improvement of Queen's Arms
Yard & Margate Media Centre Sites [extract about the disused land –
from report produced by Groundwork]
December 2010
Groundwork was commissioned by Derek Harding, the Programme Director
of Margate Renewal Partnership, to carry out a consultation with
regard to the future development of two disused green spaces in
Margate Old Town. The sites are located at Queen's Arms Yard and
Cobb's Place (land adjacent to the Margate Media Centre).
Using our team of Walkie Talkies and community development workers,
with their local knowledge and existing social networks, the team were
employed to visit residents, shop-keepers and businesses in Margate
Old Town and ask their opinions regarding proposed physical
improvements to the two sites.
Improvements to these green spaces are part of a programme of works to
the town ('The Countdown Plan') to ensure that it looks its best when
the new Turner Contemporary Gallery opens in April 2011.
A questionnaire was developed to enable us to capture people's views
and to come up with some creative temporary solutions for these green
spaces, bearing in mind that use of the sites may need to change over
time. We wanted to get the views of as many people as possible who
have a good understanding of the local area, including the needs of
visitors to the Old Town.
During the month of December the Walkie talkies team took the
questionnaires out into the Old Town and completed a door-knocking
We also held an evening drop-in consultation event on Thursday 16th
December (delayed from earlier date due to the snow). This was not
particularly well attended due to the very cold weather, but the
landscape architect team and Walkie Talkies were able to have some
useful discussions with several local stakeholders and manager to come
up with some innovative ideas, many of which were reflected in the
results of the survey. People who were unable to make the evening
event did phone or email their questionnaires or opinions through to
Additionally, we facilitated an all-day workshop with a group of local
adults with learning disabilities from the nearby Tivoli Centre,
exploring ideas for the two spaces, including creating mosaics and
using patterns such as spirals and shells to create design features.
We had a total of 92 questionnaires returned/completed by the end of
the consultation process and the results of the survey are set out on
the following pages: [extract ends – ask Margate Renewal Partnership,
or Groundwork, if you want to know more.]

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Thanet District Council consultation on Night Flights from Steve Dawe, Press Officer, Kent Green Party

TO: Thanet District Council consultation on Night Flights – DRAFT for comments

FROM: Steve Dawe, Press Officer, Kent Green Party

October 2010

Kent Green Party covers Kent and Medway with a network of local branches and has about 45,000 supporters in this area. As part of the Green Party of England and Wales, Kent Green Party supports initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and opposes those proposals which add to them. Consequently, we are opposed to aviation expansion in the UK and support increased taxation on flights and ideally on aviation fuel to reduce emissions and to push businesses and travellers towards less polluting transport modes.



Manston Airport proposes to have more night flights. To do this ignores the known health impacts of aircraft noise. Research around the world shows exposure to aircraft noise is damaging to health and even impairs learning in children. Since half of the EU’s population is exposed to noise levels likely to damage their health, according to World Health Organisation standards, this is not a minor issue.[1]

How productive will people in Thanet be if their sleep is disturbed, perhaps by noisy freight-carrying aircraft at night? The health evidence collected by researchers throughout the world (see below) is that there is a strong association between aviation noise at night and blood pressure problems. There are also associations with increasing stress and anxiety. Some studies show increases in allergies – especially amongst children. But more worrying is evidence that the learning ability of children is appreciably reduced if they live near busy airports. Near major airports, elderly people are more prone to die at earlier ages from heart and circulation problems.

Manston may opt for more air freight, bringing in higher value light weight items that are passed on to the China Gateway for distribution. Since employment in warehousing is low density ( perhaps as little as 13 jobs an acre) and airports similarly use large areas of land for very little employment, we should all look sceptically at claims of significant jobs from Manston’s expansion – or the China Gateway for that matter. We are still very much in recession and no regional airport in the UK is doing well at present. If successful, Manston and the China Gateway could potentially generate a lot more local air pollution from increased traffic. But oil prices are rising again as we head rapidly to the global peak of cheap, recoverable oil supplies (see below), so success from these initiatives seems very unlikely.

Any believed gain in jobs for Thanet at Manston has to be set against the losses of productivity and skills which are created by ill-health from noise and associated air pollution. What about the alternative of a combination of Pleasurama in Ramsgate, a revived Dreamland and Margate sea front and the creation of all-weather leisure facilities at Manston instead of airport expansion. Couple this with the Turner centre and the possibility of a creative quarter in Margate copying Folkestone’s and you might have an overall economic strategy that is more sustainable than more warehouses and more aircraft. Promotion of the No Use Empty approach to empty commercial properties – renting them at low rents rather than keeping them empty - to local arts groups and other locally-based organisations – could help fill up long-term empty properties. Thanet’s tourism has been day tripper-based for too long: more leisure and cultural facilities could change this.

It is a practical impossibility for the UK to cut greenhouse gas emissions if aviation use is not constrained. If aviation emissions are averaged across households, then each UK household is making about one third of its carbon emissions by the flights its members take. This is accomplished by a small proportion of households making a lot of flights and accounting for a lot of emissions in consequence. Even more surprising, the UK is top in the world for aviation emissions per adult - far ahead of the USA and other rich countries. Currently, each UK adult averages about 603 kg of carbon emissions from aviation use per year whilst the US average is only 275 kg per adult per year.

Journeys to Europe can be made by rail. This alone would cut emissions from aviation significantly.

Domestic tourism and rail travel to the continent can substitute for flights, helping to boost UK tourism revenues. Kent Green Party wants all of Kent’s airports converted to other leisure uses to support domestic tourism, not international flights.

Each year, civil aviation is already getting about £9 billion in subsidies from Government, particularly towards transport infrastructure serving airports. Each year, emissions from aviation in Europe increase by about 6% - the rate of increase of any sector. It is impossible to fight climate change by expanding airports.

It is also clear that both Lydd Airport and Manston, like other regional airports, showed losses even  before the recession. Why on earth would councillors in Shepway want to fly jobs out of the country by supporting tourism elsewhere in the world? Lydd, like Manston, can and should be an all-weather leisure site, not an airport. The rising cost of oil, and the impact of rising energy and food bills upon household spending, may well curb this planned airport expansion before real damage is done. Let us hope so.

Looking at these issues in more detail:

Airport expansion should be stopped on public health grounds. A large amount of research indicates damage to the intellectual development of children exposed to high levels of aircraft noise. Children are a high-risk group vulnerable to the effects of chronic aircraft noise exposure:  Birmingham Airport anti-noise group: See also: S. Stansfeld, M. Haines, & B. Brown (2000): Noise and Health in the Urban Environment. Reviews on Environmental Health 15, p43-82; M. Haines, S. Stansfeld, R. Job, B. Berglund and J. Head (2001a): Chronic aircraft noise exposure, stress responses, mental health and cognitive performance in school children. Psychological Medicine 31, p265-277; M. Haines, S. Stansfeld, S. Brentnall, J. Head, B. Berry, M. Jiggins & S. Hygge (2001b): The West London Schools Study: the effects of chronic aircraft noise exposure on child health. Psychological Medicine 31, p1385-1396; M. Haines, S. Stansfeld, R. Job, B. Berglund & J. Head (2001c): A follow-up study of effects of chronic noise exposure on child stress responses and cognition. International Journal of Epidemiology 30, p839-845.

The World Health Organization has also recently emphasised "the striking contribution of noise to premature deaths from disease".[2] Kent Green Party is calling for airport expansion at Lydd, Manston, Biggin Hill, Heathrow and elsewhere to be stopped on public health grounds.

If a household was guilty of the prolonged loud noise of typical aircraft late at night, its inhabitants could expect a visit from the Police, and, if they persisted, prosecution. However, if noise is made from the overflight of aircraft, those disturbed by it are not protected by law. Instead, aircraft may disrupt our sleep and make our working days more difficult, with the most serious effects upon children’s concentration and ability to learn.

Since we already know that aviation is the fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions in Europe as well,[3] the noise factor provides another reason to curb airport expansion. Kent Green Party will continue to argue for minor airports like Lydd and Manston to be converted to leisure uses and housing. People have a right to sleep and a right to be able to peacefully live and work without major noise disturbances. We will continue to press decision-makers to withdraw the £9 billion subsidy to civil aviation each year and to protect the public from irresponsible aviation expansion.

There are a number of major reports which examine the research on the global peak of cheap, recoverable oil supplies and conclude that a peak in such supplies is imminent – usually referred to as ‘Peak Oil.’

Authoritative reports have been prepared by groups such as: by the UK Energy Research Council:; the UK Industry Task Force on Peak Oil and Energy Security: ; the Hirsch report to the most recent Bush presidency:; Kjell Aleklett et al.,

The previous Government commissioned research on Peak Oil but did not release it to the public.

The current Government is refusing Freedom of Information requests to allow the documents it holds on Peak Oil to be released to the media:

The German armed forces have investigated Peak Oil and conclude that the Peak of cheap recoverable oil supplies is this year, 2010. Their report, leaked to the German media, is clearly concerned about public reactions to the impacts of Peak Oil upon prices. Ref:

Not unlike the Green Party of England and Wales, The Transition Towns movement, active throughout the UK, has based its efforts to make local communities more sustainable upon two concerns: the threat of climate change and the imminence of a Peak in global oil supplies. Since the latter is commonly discussed in meetings of this Movement and in those of other environmentally-aware bodies throughout the country, it is hardly sensible that the Government attempt to suppress information on the topic: particularly as it has major implications for aviation expansion.

What implications might a long-term rising trend in oil prices have? Significant implications include: an inflationary trend because of higher food prices and increasing costs of distribution of goods; the necessity of a relatively rapid transport revolution influencing technologies used in all transport sectors; a need to substitute existing forms of road repair and maintenance with sustainable means of achieving the same objectives. Given these impacts, engaging the public in an early awareness of adjustments they may have to make is highly desirable. Thanet District Council needs to lead on this rather than looking for jobs in what is rapidly becoming the past history of transport.

Recent research shows the effects of aviation[4] and shipping[5] pollution to be considerably worse than previous expectations. This has major implications for the expansion of airports and ports in Kent.

Airport expansion in Kent could be halted by its climate impacts alone. New research shows that aviation emissions are far more damaging than previously thought. With Manston and Lydd both showing major financial losses recently,[6] this provides another reason to accept Kent Green Party’s argument that these sites should be used as all-weather leisure centres to support our expanding domestic tourism in Kent and Medway.

Even more startling is research showing up to 39,000 people in the European Union are dying prematurely each year as a result of pollution from shipping. Since all of Kent’s ports, but particularly Dover, are trying to expand, this pollution now becomes more important as a climate change and a public health issue. Both aviation expansion and Port expansion generate more traffic movements so we need to consider if we really want public money used on road maintenance, or lorry parks or - even worse – new road building when the aviation and shipping industries need to cut their emissions radically and rapidly.

Food prices are rising rapidly, due to more extreme weather events associated with climate change, and because the price of oil is rising once again as some states (notably India and China) shrug off recession. Since we are now roughly at the peak of oil production,[7] and the effects of climate change are likely to worsen until effective policies are followed, it is very probable that air freighted foods will become considerably more expensive. The benefits of increasing local production for a County like Kent are obvious.[8] Kent Green Party is supporting a phase out of air freighted fruit and vegetables and more local production, as in places like Thanet – particularly to meet local needs.

Clearly, stopping long-distance air freighting of foodstuffs is necessary as oil becomes ever more expensive. Isn’t this what Thanet Earth is about? Isn’t this what the polytunnels that cover parts of West Kent are about? However, this is no simple matter: first, these initiatives may have transport and environmental impacts here and impact upon the relationships of dependence which have been created in countries much poorer than our own, including many in Africa.[9] Since about 17% of UK carbon emissions are from growing, distributing and preparing food, we cannot simply ignore these emissions when cutting back on greenhouse gases. A kilo of Kent apples generates about 120g of carbon dioxide in its travel to a home in Kent. By comparison, a kilo of apples air freighted from New Zealand would generate about 300g. Buying organic and buying locally will help keep emissions down, even more so if you grow food in your own garden.

Kent Green Party is calling upon supermarkets, which are claiming policies on climate change, to phase out air freighted foodstuffs and to do so in a manner which helps producers in poorer countries to adapt. Clearly, this means more Kent and UK produced food in our supermarkets.

It is emphatically not the job of Thanet District Council to advocate or support any type of economic activity in the name of more jobs at any price. Decades of doing this in Thanet have failed to prevent the area retaining low incomes, one of the highest rates of empty shops in the UK and generally higher unemployment than the Kent average. It is abundantly clear that Thanet needs entirely different and varied employment strategies to become more self-sustaining and more resilient against external shocks. This has never been more important than at a time when a return to Thatcherite policies threatens a large boost in UK unemployment whilst taxes for the wealthy remain low, tax havens remain open and HM Customs and Revenue managed not to collect £42 bn in taxes known to be due , last year. We have suggested a variety of methods which might help to change this situation, including a wiser use of the Manston site.

TDC’s propose Night Time Flying Policy deliberately understates the impact of noise on public health and offers an over generous time period during the night when night flights might take place. Given the unique characteristic of Thanet, that it has all of its urban area on its periphery at the coast, it is clear that protecting the public from aircraft noise – day and night – has to be a TDC priority. Given the increasing number of people in the UK who work at night, daytime noise levels from Manston should not be ignored. Kent Green Party therefore proposes a complete block on night flights except for emergency landings. We also wish to see a new economic Masterplan for the Manston site, including the phasing out of aviation as a major use other than for aircraft repair or emergency landing facilities. We think the site should be looked at for leisure uses, including the possibility of a major Park perhaps linked into existing walking and cycling routes and using neighbouring land if feasible. This is consistent with the Government’s stated aim of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, whilst continuing the search for new employment for Thanet.

The TDC Night Flights policy takes no account of Peak Oil (see above) or the strength and severity of recession, not the Government’s tendency to reinforce recession through making 600,000 public sector workers unemployed up to 2014. (This would have the effect of reducing the spending of these workers in the private sector, probably leading to 600,000 private sector job losses in sectors such as retail, tourism, home repair and construction,  and in financial services.

We suggest that any decibel level set for the Airport should consider day and night noise impacts, and reflect the actual health and vulnerabilities of people living in the whole of affected area – meaning all those areas of Thanet which might experience aircraft flying over them at less than 500 feet at any point in the year. This is consistent with the idea of a Health Impact Assessment for the affected area, which should be carried out by the Airport at its expense and with peer review of the consultants it uses. This should either take place before any night flights are permitted, or should be considered as a permanent block on night flights if the Airport declines to carry out such a study. Kent Green Party reiterates that it sees no pressing reason for any regular night flights.

The existing consultants reports do not take health seriously as a factor which should be considered with regard to night flights. It would seem that their brief was either insufficiently broad, or tailored to minimise the impacts of increased aircraft noise.

Future housing expansion – planned or possible – in areas under the complete ‘noise footprint’ of Manston are not considered in the documents linked to this consultation. This is unacceptable.

We note the legitimate concern of people in Herne Bay concerning Night Flights at Manston.[10] We wonder to what extent TDC will ensure that people outside Thanet who may already be experiencing noise from Manston Airport may get a chance to comment upon the proposals for increasing night flights.

[1] European Federation for Transport and Environment – T&E bulletin, November 2008.

[3] S. Cairns and C. Newson – Predict and Decide: aviation, climate change and UK policy Environmental Change Institute, Oxford University, 2006; European Federation for Transport and Environment & Climate Action Network Europe – Clearing the Air: the myth and reality of aviation and climate change, 2006.         
[6] About £4 million in the case of Manston and over £1 million in the case of Lydd.

[7] See the website of the Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Caroline Lucas and Andy Jones – Fuelling a food crisis: the impact of peak oil on food security . At:
SEE: Caroline Lucas MEP and Andy Jones – Local Food: benefits and opportunities at

[8] Govt stats on benefits and carbon costs of horticultural trade with Africa:  See also Department of Transport – UK Air Freight Study Report and the Soil Association’s consultation on what it should do about organic produce being airfreighted into the UK.

[9] SEE: East Anglia Food Link: Food and Climate Change