Saturday, 27 June 2009


Let me introduce you to comedy punk sensation Paul Carter, (in)famous for his tracks I Hate Work and F*** Off. Paul takes an alternative view of life but he always turns up for his gigs.

Last night his namesake Cllr. Paul Carter Leader of Kent County Council (KCC) let down a good crowd who had turned out at the Kent International Airport Consultative Committee (KIACC) meeting at Manston to hear him speak.

The audience as well as the committee were extremely angry that despite Paul Twyman, the Chair of KIACC having spent months negotiating with Cllr. Paul Carter's office to ensure a convenient date for Paul. Carter could be found, he had reneged on the commitment to attend.

Apparently, Paul Carter pulled out at the last minute due to a 're-arranged family event'. However, a message from his personal assistant seemed a less than courteous way to do this. Many considered he should have telephoned Paul Twyman as Chair of the meeting to apologise personally, and start rescheduling a future appearance.

In politics timing can be everything. Perhaps Cllr. Carter was concerned the public might object to his recent 8% allowance rise voted through at County Hall. Certainly that coming straight AFTER the elections breeds cynicism, and with politicians currently having very low public regard with the ongoing expenses stories, Paul Carter may have failed to recognise this.

As Chair, Paul Twyman, proposed a motion that Cllr. Carter be reported to KCC's Standards Committee for his failure to attend the statutory committee's meeting.

The motion was carried by a majority of the committee although Cllr. Latchford and Birchington Parish Councillor John Worrow didn't support the motion. Parish Councillor Worrow who seems to be shadowing Cllr. Latchford at all public events, watched carefully to see his Thanet District Council representative's reaction before voting. Dressed in a very similar fashion to Roger Latchford, he appeared to some to be a "mini-me" of his mentor.

Ros McIntyre from Broomfield gave an excellent presentation on why her research showed that aircraft flying into Manston didn't need to fly over Herne Bay, Hampton and Broomfield.

Is the public aware that KIA only has seven scheduled flights per week, six freight, one a holiday flight to Jersey? The freight flights bring in mainly produce from Kenya and other areas of Africa. Matt Clarke of Infratil may talk up the airport endlessly but it is clear that the parent company in these difficult times can't carry the loss Manston makes for ever.

Speakers from the floor included Steve Higgins from Stop Manston Expansion Group, Cllrs. Dave and Liz Green, Cllr. Gerry O'Donnell and many local residents not all of whom have concerns about noise or night flights. Several supported night flights and airport expansion for the jobs it might create. It was noted that the slide of the number of jobs actually in existence seemed to change to the next one before they could be totalled. Perhaps the presentation could be put into the public domain for those like myself who were not present?

One Birchington resident wanted lorries off the road but supported the airport and China Gateway for job-creation, perhaps unaware of the HGV traffic China Gateway could produce.

I was not present but am grateful to a number of those present for helping me compile this report. I will be happy to publish comments from anybody who was present who wishes to add further information.


  1. It is clear that with todays newspaper reports showing that 60,000 young adults will not be able to get a place at college next year, and even worse news that tax receipts this year will not cover spending on benefits that Thanet needs whatever jobs it can gets its hands on right now. So this is even more reason ro support the airport at Manston.

    The benefits culture is alive and kicking in Thanet and unless we find decent jobs for people we live here we are committing future generations to a life without hope. Not only for meaningful work, but for the effects of reduced spending on health, education, pensions and all the other things we need for a secure future.

  2. Of course everyone living here wants jobs created to kep young people in the area but I fail to see how an expanded airport would do that or what guarantees we'd have the jobs would go to locals anyway. How many locals work at Westwood Cross? How many at Thanet Earth? How many jobs would be created at the airport if, as seems likely, freight is the main area of business?

    I support expansion but I feel the Master Plan is far too optimistic and unrealistic. Nothing that was said on Friday gave any indication that this airport is viable in the current economic climate. If it couldn't be made to pay in the good times how can it do so when owned by a major investment company who wouldn't hesitate to chop off any underperforming part of the business? As Matt Clarke said in reply to someone 'Infratil is an investment company with world-wide interests'. There's no sentiment or loyalty where big business is concerned. Infratil thought they'd make money or why buy Manston. If they can't...

  3. I understand that many members of the committee had had to rearrange their diaries and personal committments to be at Friday's meeting, because this was the only date that Paul Carter could attend. I am told that the airport CEO had even cancelled a trip to Paris to be there. In the words of Mel Brookes: "Gee, it's great to be the King."

  4. "several supported night flights"

    Hmm, well there was very posh elderly lady who thought the airport would be excellent because 'getting to Heathrow is terrible these days'. She doesn't live anywhere near the flight path. She also thought Paul Carter had every right not to attend since he does a 9 to 5 job.

    Then there was the old boy who remembers the RAF flying around at all times of the night. He felt those concerned at the prospect of night flights were running Thanet down and destroying it's chances.

    Apart from that.....

    I reckon if TDC showed they had control of the situation and were genuinely on the side of those under the flight path, and Infratil stopped bullshitting and installed secondary radar, allowing the public to view flight paths in real time, and redesigned ATC paths along sensible lines, most folk would not be as concerned as they are at the moment.

    TDC appear to be grasping the idea, little by little. Infratil are belligerant. On the one hand Matt Clarke said he wanted the airport to be treated like most of the other commercial airports in the SE and get extensions into night time, yet on the other justifies his lack of investment in secondary radar by saying the airport isn't busy enough.

    Tell him that when he starts behaving well he can ask for extensions.

  5. How many members of S.M.E.G. were there?

  6. Well Peter, if you'd decided to become more informed about the airport and the issues surrounding it you'd have been there and been able to count for yourself. I don't know how you can be so blithely supportive of KIA whilst retaining a position of such ignorance.