Wednesday, 13 May 2009

INTO THE BLUE TO GO GREEN

Last night at Thanet Council's Overview and Scrutiny Panel I questioned Cllr. Roger Latchford who leads on Regeneration about the Council's commitment to carbon unfriendly tourism events such as the Air Show, quad bikes and previous powerboat races. Despite signing the Nottingham Declaration he said the Council remains committed to tourist events such as these.

I find this an interesting juxtaposition. As I noted last night, he is rightly proud of initiatives like Thanet Earth, London Array at Ramsgate Port and Thanet Offshore Windfarm which is currently being constructed. Indeed it was good to hear that all 4 major local supermarkets are taking produce from Thanet Earth. We also talked about a major sign alongside Thanet Way to highlight Thanet Earth. I think this would be a good thing branding Thanet as somewhere where green initiatives are welcome.
It was disappointing though to find out that there will be no review of green initiatives by the Council for 12 months. Whilst this is a corporate policy I think it is wrong. Signing the Nottingham Declaration means you need to take action in 2 years so this seems a complacent approach to me. We will be half way through before things can be changed.
It is also regrettable that the Council is not going to take the opportunity to say this year will be the last air show. Cllr. Sandy Ezekiel as Leader when signing the declaration committed to
"achieving a significant reduction of greenhouse gas reductions from the authority's own operations"

Unlike Manston Airport which is a private business, the Airshow is a Council initiative so by putting money into aviation fuel the effect is to both burn our money, and to burn our future. I think it will be hard for the Council to meet its commitment under the Nottingham Declaration if it continues to promote tourism based on planes.
I saw today an initiative that I think Thanet should engage with more. When looking at conservation I always think of the land. Of course Thanet has miles of glorious coast and Marine Conservation Zones offer a marvelous opportunity. The scheme has only just started. It will not get fully going until 2012. A South East version of a site like this would be a good start.

This offers opportunities for walks at low tide and diving. More boat trips to see seals and other initiatives. Far more sustainable tourism than an airshow. Something that can be enjoyed every day of the year. Our past, our present and our future.
Roger Latchford said last night that the air show was only 30 minutes. That's the worst short term thinking I've heard of in quite a while. It is regrettable that Thanet Conservatives don't get conservation.

5 comments:

  1. We have little enough to attract the tourists to Margate as it is; banning the air show when it's so successful is a ridiculous idea! So I'm with Roger here.

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  2. Laurence Davies14 May 2009 at 12:04

    I entirely agree with the thrust of your blog on this subject. This area has much to offer people that live here and visit. It is regrettable that the powers that be seem to continually fall back on events like the airshow. We have plenty of aviation possibilities on a smaller scale that could be developed in conjunction with the two museums at Manston. Develop tourism by all means but make it sustainable and not gone in an afternoon!

    Changing tack slightly I would take Thanet Councils commitment to green issues a little more seriously if they had not suspended the roll out of wheeled bins to suitable properties

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  3. Airshow day is the busiest day of the year for some traders who depend on tourism 365 days a year and you want to stop it? I am sure we can do both. The airshow has thousands of people here in Thanet who wouldnt otherwise visit. Shall we cancel the folk week as well in case someone uses an elecctric guitar? The airshow is entertainment for the masses and you want to deprive them. WHY green issues or point scoring because where I am standing you are not winning on either count sorry Mark the issue for me is a non starter. We need everybody behind Thanet and behind all types of events Green Purple and even Pink.

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  4. Laurence thank you. Peter and Don it is how our children and grandchildren will judge us. We know about climate change but the Council is chosing to ignore it. Clearly we shouldn't cancel this year's air show, but it should be marketed as the last ever and come up with an alternative for 2010. I also want tourism that is based on repeat visits, not just a one off festival on one day. That would be better for the local economy.

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  5. We "know" about climate change? I don't think anyone really "knows" this, & I'm not at all convinced that it's man-made, just like many scientists. Having said this, I'm against unneccesary pollution & waste of course.

    Also, I know that I personally am "greener" than the vast majority of the people I know (I haven't added any offspring to the over-populated planet; I don't drive a car, preferring to walk or cycle pretty much anywhere on a bicycle made from old cycle parts; I don't own a washing machine, preferring to do all washing by hand, I could go on). So I'm not going to feel too guilty about watching an air show once a year...

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