The problem here relates to building an airfreight hub at Manston, the prevailing airflow across the UK and diesel related fumes. This all puts the freight hub supporters in the position of trying to get turkeys to vote for Christmas and over the next couple of weeks it is going to be interesting to see if they do.
Anyway before I go down the road of trying to explain what I am talking here let me point out that I am not anti airport, wasn’t even against night flights provided they were linked to the number of day flights so there were economic benefits to Thanet that extended beyond giving half a dozen airport workers a couple of hours overtime.
I have a business in Thanet and passenger transport links, road, rail, sea and air are good for business, however other people’s freight just causes traffic congestion and pollution.
Anyway back to the problem which is called particulate air pollution, which are the little particles released when diesel fuel and jet engine fuel are burnt, too many of these in the air and people start dying.
I looked into this one a little while ago and what was really missing was the number of people in the UK dying, anyway this figure has now appeared in a fairly reliable news source, here is the link http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-30349398
Here in Thanet we have a high background level of particulate air pollution mainly because of being in the east and the prevailing airflow being from a bit south of west to a bit north of east. There really isn’t another part of the UK where you can get more of the UK to the west or upwind of you.
What this means is the background level of particulate air pollution in Thanet is already high to begin with, I have done a couple of blog posts about this in the past, here are links http://thanetonline.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/manston-airport-closure-issues.html and http://thanetonline.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/manston-airport-air-pollution-admission.html
Anyway now I do have more of an answer, as I now have a reasonable idea of how many people are dying due particulate air pollution. Obviously a very big factor here is if you live near to a major road junction where perhaps a ton of fuel is burnt in a month, then the pollution from the diesel fumes it generates will tip you way over the safe limit when added to the already high background level.
With Manston the problem is a bit different, obviously there is the fact that all the freight and the aviation fuel would have to be trucked up and down the motorway system which is upwind of us. Honestly though I don’t think this would make a huge difference to the existing problem. If Manston gets about 50 aircraft full of freight a day and say half of them needed refuelling that would be about 150 fuel tankers and then another 300 lorries to move the freight when you consider how many lorries are on the roads between Thanet and the M25 another 450 a day is just a drop in the ocean.
No the big problem with a freight hub is the fuel used for one freight aircraft movement and the distance the resulting particulate pollution takes to disperse to the background level.
A 747 movement landing or takeoff uses about 1 ton of jet engine fuel which is dirtier that conventional diesel so generates more particulate air pollution. So for every 100 movements 22,000 gallons or 100 tons of fuel is burnt either on or near the runway.
As you can see this is a bit more serious than the fuel burnt at a major road junction, so it is an issue that has to be considered. This is a bit complex as the distance away from where the fuel is burnt to where the level of particulate pollution gets to around the normal background level depends on the wind, but I think five or six miles is about it.
I don’t suppose I really have to draw a diagram here and I guess the new 29,000 per year UK deaths from particulate air pollution figures do have a very real impact on the future of Manston.
On to the relatively minor Manston story that RiverOak wish to become involved in TDC politics having spent over half a million pounds on solicitors and surveyors fees they now seem to be saying that TDC should have spent a comparable amount preparing their case.
I guess if you google the amount a to QC or surveyor earns you can see this would present some problems. for me I guess the £600,000 falls into the “Dear Honourable Councillor” bracket and makes me wonder about their credibility.
Anyway I had a bizarre press release from the Gales about this; here it is:
From: Suzy Gale
Sent: Mon, 8 Dec 2014 9:04
Subject: Manston - Press Release (1)
For information. Please do NOT reply to this email.
For further information please go to http://www.riveroakic.com/news.html
A copy of an Open Letter to Thanet District Council will follow
And my reply:
Sent: Mon, 8 Dec 2014 11:56
Subject: Press Release error
Sent: Mon, 8 Dec 2014 11:56
Subject: Press Release error
Hi Suzie, I think you will find that the link in your email http://www.riveroakic.com/news.html points to the wrong website and should point to the website that RiverOak set up presumably for their Delaware LLC http://www.riveroakinvestments.co.uk/news/
I believe that the confusion relates to there being two separate RiverOaks one the established property hedge fund company and the other the new Delaware LLC set up exclusively to deal with Manston.
Although the two companies appear to have the same management team there are no connecting links between the two websites.
Best regards Michael
How one deals with this sort of thing where a local MP seems to be supporting a foreign company but hasn’t managed to sort out which company or which website I just don’t know, needless to say I haven’t had a reply I would guess they just don’t know what to say.
Anyway I would guess the falling out between the council and RiverOak has now pretty much reached the stage where they are unlikely to become partners in any venture.
We seem to be back where we were when RiverOak tried to do a deal with Ann Gloag, see http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-kent-27411419
Coming back to the pollution issue, if Manston were a small regional passenger airport the particulate air pollution would be very different, the last passenger planes there the KLM ones burnt about 20 gallons of fuel per movement less than a tenth of the 747 type freight planes that were last using Manston.
I guess though this always comes back to the old Manston problem which is as soon as people start talking about a transport hub their credibility goes down the drain because we have all seen a wheel and appreciate that fish don’t make good customers.