Concerns over noise and air pollution at Manston Airport

We have today (12th July) submitted our consultation response to RiverOak Strategic Partnership’s consultation into the future of Manston airport.

We are concerned that the environmental and social impacts of noise and air pollution outweigh the claimed economic benefits. In contrast, the opportunity to convert this brownfield site to mixed commercial and residential use offers more realistic employment opportunities and would help of safeguard the best quality agricultural land which would otherwise be required to meet Thanet’s objectively assessed housing need.

Manston airport by Simon Moores, flickr

Director Hilary Newport said “We don’t think a new airport here would provide any overall social or economic benefits, and there is a real danger of converting the site into an airport is that is highly unlikely to be viable, and would therefore again become a blight on the area, and retard the more useful, and economically and socially beneficial uses for another decade.”

CPRE Kent also considers the negative impact of night flights on surrounding communities to be unacceptable.

The consultation period closes on 23rd July. You can read our consultation response here.

12 July 2017

Airspace and runway concerns

CPRE Kent has taken part in two consultations on airports – the UK Airspace Policy consultation and the Department of Transport Runway Consultation.

We do not accept that there is a case for additional runway capacity in the south east. Under-used runways exist within the UK and to add capacity in the south east will only further aggravate the north-south economic divide. Plus, there will be further impact on the environment and it will further damage the UK’s efforts to control carbon emissions, there will be additional pressure on transport and housing and more people affected by noise and air pollution.

Read our response here.

Photo by Chris Sampson

Photo by Chris Sampson

In the Airspace consultation we raised concerns about flight paths and noise including:

  • More call-ins by the Secretary of State to changes in flight paths – there have been three major changes to flight paths at Gatwick over the past four years (the ADNID trial, the concentration of approach routes to the east of the airport, and the concentration of departure routes). These changes have caused thousands of complaints, yet none of them would have fallen within the proposed criteria for call-in so it needs to be much wider.
  • We consider the proposals for compensation to be inadequate. The proposals for increased noise insulation would only apply very close to the airport and would provide no benefit to those who wished to open their windows or spend time out of doors. Compensation for new or changed flight paths should be paid by the airport concerned.
  • We are disappointed at the proposal to retain unchanged the guidance which states that noise should be given priority up to 4,000ft, while noise and climate change should be given equal priority between 4,000 and 7,000ft. We do of course recognise the importance of limiting climate change emissions, but we are aware that many of our members are severely disturbed by the noise of aircraft at heights of 4,000 to 7,000ft and even higher. This is particularly true in areas where ambient noise is low.
  • We strongly oppose a policy of transferring some noise controls to the airports. It would be wrong in principle to put such controls into the hands of a commercial business, which will always put profit first.

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Aircraft noise – important debate

Campaign group Gatwick Obviously Not has been lobbying Gatwick to fully implement the findings of the Arrivals Review .

This set out 23 practical steps to improve noise, the key recommendations are:

  • To reduce the number of aircraft holding over land
  • To improve use of continuous descent arrivals which would generate significantly less noise, and increase the sequencing and spacing of arrivals
  • To accelerate the modification of the Airbus A320 family of aircraft to reduce the whining noise they make during the approach phase of flight
  • To establish an independently chaired noise management board to oversee joint strategies to deal with noise around the airport
  • To develop a comprehensive online complaint management system

Now four MPs have written to National Air traffic services and the Civil aviation Authority to ensure these are implemented in full. See the letter here:

Photo by Chris Sampson

Photo by Chris Sampson

Plus Tom Tugendhat MP has secured a Debate in Westminster Hall (in the Palace of Westminster) tomorrow (Wednesday 20th April) at 9.30am on ‘The effect of aircraft noise on local communities’:

This is all good news for communities in Kent who have been blighted by aircraft noise and Gatwick should work fully with NATC and the CAA to ensure everything is done to alleviate this.

Gatwick is running a community engagement plan – find out how you can get involved here:

April 19th 2016

End to aviation at Manston?

The announcement of the apparent end of Manston Airport’s history of aviation came today with the news that the majority holdings of the site have been bought by property developers.

It seems new owners Trevor Cartner and Chris Musgrave, part of the consortium behind the nearby Discovery Park in Sandwich, intend to redevelop the site rather than to re-open the airport. Their regeneration plans could include commercial, manufacturing and residential uses and represent a potential boon to Thanet and the surrounding area, with the promise of up to 4,000 jobs.

However, thDSCF1464is will only be the case if the plans are firmly linked into Thanet’s emerging local plan, subject to full public consultation, and consider the environmental constraints of the area.

The site could make a significant contribution to the wider development needs of east Kent, potentially protecting greenfield sites from development. We hope that the local authorities will grasp this opportunity for a properly joined up planning strategy for the wider area.


Manston – while we have never opposed the development of Manston as a regional airport, we remain sceptical about its ambitions to become a successful international airport.  It has been operated as a fully commercial airport since 1992, and yet a succession of owners have not been able to make it a prosperous going concern.  Even though the latest owners Infratil have encouraged KLM Royal Dutch Airlines to fly from Manston, they are still proceeding with its sale.  The continuing promise of jobs that are never realised is just maintaining false hopes amongst Thanet’s residents.  We also remain opposed to night flights, believing that the disruption to the sleep of local residents and possible associated health aspects are untenable impacts from this very small gain in custom for the airport.