Monday 8 December 2014

The big Manston Airport story, how it relates to 29,000 UK deaths and if the Manston Airport supporters get their way will it kill you or members of your family?

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

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 and

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
To: undisclosed-recipients:;
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 

A copy of an Open Letter to Thanet District Council will follow

And my reply:

From: michaelchild
To: suzy
Sent: Mon, 8 Dec 2014 11:56
Subject: Press Release error

Hi Suzie, I think you will find that the link in your email points to the wrong website and should point to the website that RiverOak set up presumably for their Delaware LLC

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.

I may ramble on here.             
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

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.   


Anonymous said...

As the man said, the disorganised ramblings of an uneducated shop assistant.

Anonymous said...

Interesting and how many deaths or illness would be attributable to Manston airport? Especially the low level illegal flights over the town essentially drenching the public in fuel toxins? 500 extra deaths a year?

Michael Child said...

Oh dear anons I have to say I was hoping for some coherent argument showing that I had made some error in my assessment of the situation.

This is about particulate air pollution not some mystical notion of drenching us in fuel toxins but the dissipation of particle density upwind mostly from engine ground activity and the takeoff path slightly north of west from the runway.

My take being that many of those involved in promoting a freight hub would have some experience in aviation and would be aware of the issue.

I would expect that the problem would be mostly upwind of these activities affecting mostly the areas of high population densities on the coast between Broadstairs and Minnis Bay.

Underlying my argument is the assumption that were the cpo to go ahead with the proposed intention of creating a freight hub, then at some point before a level of activity at Manston that would be profitable was reached, the environment agency would step in and limit freight aircraft movements, making the whole thing unviable.

To me it looks like a thinly veiled attempt at a land grab, whereas say a partially publicly funded cpo by KCC with an element of private indemnity partner wishing to provide regional passenger services and heritage grant funding to expand the existing museums activities I could understand and would have the critical factor – some way of ensuring continued aviation activity on the site.

With a TDC lead cpo and a sole indemnity partner whose main track record activities are housing with no verifiable aviation related track record and with no public investment to ensure the aviation aspect of the site remained, it looks like a group of foreign hedge fund operators trying to make a hostile land grab from a UK company with a proven track record for providing employment.

Anonymous said...

Spot on Michael.

There is no mandate from the people for a CPO.

This nonsense will be over by Friday morning.

Anonymous said...

Certainly a problem if Riveroak apparently have £100 million in business lined up and they only have a 5 year business plan.

That equates to £20 million a year = £55,000 per day = 100 flights per day (based on an assumption someone gave of £500 income per aircraft).

But where is the evidence of all this business anyway ?

Anonymous said...

Time now for the Cabinet to come out and represent those of us who would have to live with the implications of bunch of hedge-funders let loose on the development site.

Postal-vote mandate required at the very least but really, with no more than 100 active supporters in the Manstophile ranks, why the hell have the council run scared of a bunch of plane-spotting anoraks for so long?

TDC. Grow some and let the owners get on with digging up the runway as soon as possible and bringing real wealth to Thanet.

Enough is enough.

Anonymous said...

I'm amazed more hasn't been made of the impact a cargo hub development will have on the health of Thanet residents. I'm very worried to read that residents in Broadstairs will be affected. Maybe Ruth would like to comment?

Anonymous said...

If RO have £100 millions available they could have offered the owners a lot more in the first place and they would not have needed a CPO.
If RO wanted a UK airport they could have made a bid for the recently closed Blackpool airport.

Anonymous said...

"Mr Riveroak" doesn't want to pay a sensible market rate - just look at the Canary Wharf where they offered £2.2 billion when the latest offer is of £2.6 billion is considered too low......

Anonymous said...

I just want to know when this fiasco is going to end. The whole area is being dragged through the gutter over a CPO that nobody actually believes in. Off the record they all say that it has no chance, but on the record they are all pretending to support it. The only people who actually believe that a CPO is feasible are the pro-airport supporters, and this is because they don't listen to the problems.

Anonymous said...

The Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations were introduced for precisely this reason. Any major infrastructure project has to have an Environmental Impact Assessment so that those who make the decision on whether or not to go ahead with it, do so in full knowledge of the likely consequences. The story of Manston is a story of subterfuge and manipulation. People in positions of authority have sought to evade the environmental regualtions to develop and airport without going through the proper process. They are at it again. If the intention is to create a large cargo hub, this is a change in the nature and scale of use which requires an Environmental Impact Assessment AND planning permission. It cannot be authorised via the process of CPO. This has been alluded to in legal advice supplied to Riveroak. They have been told that a CPO can confer no rights other than to restore what was there prior to closure and that any expansion will require a planning application. This being the case, it is not conceivable that councillors could authorise the CPO without simultaneously considering a full development application.

Anonymous said...

I laugh when I see comments like "Vince Francis - I think these guys mean business" when Riveroak take out a page in the Thanet Extra....

I think can probably afford an advert in the Extra with the loose change that is down the back of the settee !!

Anonymous said...

I also love comments like:

"Peter Archer chris barton there is only 2 choices like it or not river oak with a tdc compusory purchase order to re open the airport or out of your hands the chucle bulldoze building plans all over manston to make maximum profit for the owners not the people of thanet. i know the choice i'd make what would your choice of the only 2 choices on offer."

It's almost like he thinks that Riveroak are going to run it as a charity and give the profits to Thanet!! Riveroak are in it for a big profit and SMA are playing into their hands.....

BlueSkyThinking said...

Not forgetting that this was the first stage of the process I.e. 'Is anyone out there interested in re-opening a failed airport', it was always obvious that no credible airport operator was interested, even at £1.

That only the one outfit raised its skirt at the old place should have told Iris all she needed to know if she wanted to market-test the viability, notwithstanding Ann Gloag's dismissive comments about Riveroak of Delaware or wherever they've set up camp.

Our, yes our councillors ( are you reading this, Manstophiles and Ribbon-litterers of Maidstone, Folkestone, Canterbury, Holland and Spain who don't have a vote in matters Thanet? ) are about to be remembered for the right reasons and will benefit at the polls next May.

They won't be remembered for destroying Ramsgate in order to profit a bunch of American speculator-investors in America that's for sure. Their legacy will mean too much to them.

The CPO process will be dead in the water come Friday morning.

One last thing. Take your eye-sore ribbons away with you and post them to Steve DiNardo. I'm sure he'll remember them long after he's forgotten about this corner of East Kent.

Anonymous said...

Anon 14.14

I wonder if the Thanet Extra have allowed them pay for it bit by bit, you know, in 'tranches' like they wanted to buy the airport?

They couldn't quite get the Extra to CPO a double page spread for them. God, they must hate us Brits!

Anonymous said...

Well obviously you take down most of the normal peoples comments and leave all the three pickles comments! TUT TUT not too fair eh? but then as stated below
"Comment moderation has been enabled. All comments must be approved by the blog author"
Like TDC you manipulate facts and twist the truth to fit your fantasies!
And yes I will stay anonymous, maybe the veiled threats in the past with other sites forces me to, but then all three Pickles hide behind different names and faces so just joining in really.
Oh yes your bit on pollution, (the only bit of rubbish I bothered reading) have you ever thought just how much the planned 22,000 new houses in Thanet and the aprox 30,000 cars that will go with them will produce. Go back to your books and find some facts instead of fiction!

Anonymous said...

Save Manston provides so much amusement, someone suggesting a rewording of a petition (vote of no confidence in TDC) after people have signed it !!!

"Paul Messenger - I've just Pm'd Matthew Hughes who started this petition and asked him to revise it to read "The Labour led Leadership" as it would be useless using it's present wording"

Anonymous said...

The problem with the likes of Vince Francis and Nick Toy is that they haven't done any research to back up their campaign. They think they can get their own way by posting abuse on the internet and, particularly, behind the veil of the appalling Manston Loud Hailer blog run by Keith Churcher. At thisstage, reasoned argument is the only thing that can sway the council, and they have no reasoned argument because they don't really understand the issues. Meanwhile Manston Pickle is increasingly influential because many of the pitfalls they identified weeks and months ago are emerging and coming to the attention of councillors.

Anonymous said...

Well I laughed at the first comment which used Michael's self deprecation as a weapon against him.

I thought. "I wonder if the comment person is educated ? Perhaps in the ways of Compulsory Purchase Orders. Will he grace the threads with his erudition ?"

Then I thought "is this something about capital M ?".
The cause of endless ill tempered exchanges in which neither side is open to argument. And at some point both sides blame the referee

Margaret Thatcher, Manston Airfield, Marmite, Margate, Man Made global warming, Monetarism ....... mmmmmm

Anonymous said...

I find it quite sad that anyone who questions the current 'offering' is considered anti-airport or "a Pickle"...

I love Manston and enjoyed seeing what used to fly in and out BUT

The saviours Riveroak are hiding behind a new company with no comeback should anything go wrong.

They think a 5 year business plan is sufficient to seize someone's properly, though if they have £100million of business lined up it should be easy.

They hide behind a confidentiality agreement so they don't have to disclose their funding.

The Save Manston lot are campaigning for an airport that will save people travelling to Gatwick or Heathrow when Riveroak aren't proposing anything like that, they are just proposing freight.

Riveroak will be rubbing their hands with glee that they are being shown is such great light when their plans are far from great.....

Michael Child said...

Just a reminder here that comments that don’t comply to the comment guidelines don’t get published, so if for example you are unable to express yourself without obscenities there really is no point in commenting.

On this front the pro and anti freight hub are running about three all at the moment.

Looking around the web I am wondering if there is a place for yes to an airport we can fly from and no to a freight hub we can’t fly from petition. Personally I am still convinced that much of the failure to save the airport is down to the distraction of supporting what looks like a group of American bankers engaged in a hostile land grab for real estate purposes.

That said the Discovery Park purchase was a game changer and at the moment looks like the most beneficial option for Thanet.

Sorry about the word verification, it turned up despite the fact I have it turned off and it won’t go away.

Michael Child said...

Just checked the word verification, it seems that although it is showing you don’t need to fill it in as comments still publish.

Anonymous said...

How many companies have been sued for deaths around Heathrow? A large concentration of aircraft fumes and people there, no evidence so far? That would set a precedent surely.

Anonymous said...

Don't 11:58 do tell us when you find out....but the health effects around Heathrow are monitored. Is that WHY TEC and infraction removed the Manston monitors or just to reduce the fines?

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Michael Child said...

18.58 having checked your comment it appears to be potentially libelous so I have deleted it.

God help us said...

seems the CPO is off as no partner has come forward. Needless to say Save Manston groups are livid

Anonymous said...

if riveroak has all that amount of fright lined up why are they not talking to the owners and not the duffers at TDC

Anonymous said...

15:41 Infratil could probably afford the fines but wouldn't be able to explain away the high pollution levels....TDC did their dirty work for them...