The Labour Party in South Thanet is clear on the threat presented to our communities by the proposals of RiverOak Strategic Partners (RSP) for a 24/7 cargo hub on the old Manston site.
In order to force central government in allowing a compulsory purchase of the site from its owners, RSP have to be able to demonstrate that an airport would be of national importance which means they have to demonstrate that it would handle over 10,000 flights a year. They say they would anticipate over 17,000. Bear in mind, the old Manston airport had about 500 flights a year.
Examining all the evidence, Labour is confident, as are independent aviation experts, that not only is a dedicated hub airport not a viable proposition, but that, even if it was, it would not bring the benefits to Thanet that we need so desperately. In fact, it would have very many damaging effects on the health and wellbeing of residents as well as on our environment and our economy.
Labour wants jobs, investment and regeneration for the area and the plans of the owners represent much more opportunity for us in all these areas.
RSP have made clear now their plans for scheduled night flights. Local residents have always been opposed to this and the World Health Organisation is clear on the seriously damaging impact of night flights.
Many local people have been told that their choice is between an airport and thousands of houses. This isn’t true. The amount of housing that Thanet is required to have will not vary, whatever happens to the Manston site. If houses can’t be built on that site, they will be built elsewhere in Thanet and all the concerns about strains on infrastructure remain.
There is another opportunity to question RSP on their plans with a second round of consultation. Please visit their site and either attend a consultation or feedback online/via email.