Manston Night Flights consultation – ends 2nd March

Thanet District Council is holding a public consultation, lasting for 28 days and ending on 2nd March. Its aim is to find out what the public think about Manston’s recent night flying proposal. All local residents in the area are encouraged to respond and send in their views. The consultation is not question-based, it simply asks for respondents’ opinion of the proposals.  It will give more weight to the opinions of those living under the flightpath. The local opposition campaign, No Night Flights, is concerned that the proposals would mean there would be scheduled night flights; these would be freight, not passenger flights; the new proposal wants to shorten it to 11:30pm until 6am- rather than the normal 11pm to 7am; restrictions would only apply to this new shorter “night” – there would be no restrictions on the period 6 – 7am, or 11 – 11.39pm; Manston want 659 flights a year in this new shorter “night” – an average of 1.8 each night… could be none on Monday, none on Tuesday, 5 on Wednesday



The analysis of the results will be weighted by post code – the opinions of people who live under the flight path or near the airport will carry more weight.

When Thanet District Council are dealing with the replies, they will (presumably) sort them into piles of “For”, “Against” and “Other”.

Anyone responding should make sure that it is immediately obvious to anyone reading your email which pile it should go in – “For”, “Against” and “Other”  –  use the first line of an email (or the subject line) to say they are against Manston’s night flying proposal.

Respondents must include name, address and post code.

 There is likely to be an eventual vote in Council in May.

More detail on the No Night Flights blog at



These are the reasons given by No Night Flights, to oppose them:


Night Flights? No thanks – and here’s why…

The Proposal

  • scheduled night flights are currently banned, but the airport already has the flexibility to handle late arrivals
  • the proposal is for SCHEDULED night flights… you will go to bed every Monday night knowing that you will be woken at, say, 1:30am and 4am

TDC’s report says

  • these night flights are for freight, not passenger flights
  • the proposal exaggerates the economic benefit – night flights won’t necessarily make jobs
  • the proposal understates the noise nuisance from night flights


  • night time is from 11pm until 7am – this is the standard definition, as used in the existing agreement, and throughout the aviation industry, and in national and international legislation
  • BUT… the new proposal wants to shorten it to 11:30pm until 6am – stealing 1½ hours of your night!
  • restrictions would only apply to this new shorter “night” – the other 1½ hours would be completely unrestricted, just like the daytime


  • if Manston had the same proportion of night flights as Heathrow, there would be 15 night flights a year
  • Manston want 659 flights a year in this new shorter “night” – an average of 1.8 each night… could be none on Monday, none on Tuesday, 5 on Wednesday
  • between 11pm and 11:30pm, there would be no limit on the number of flights
  • between 6am and 7am, there would be no limit on the number of flights
  • any plane due in before 11:30pm that’s late would be allowed to land between 11:30pm and 6am
  • any plane due in after 6am that’s early would be allowed to land between 11:30pm and 6am
  • in practice, this proposal would mean unlimited flights between 11pm and 7am


  • the European Court of Human Rights says that sleep is a human right
  • never mind the decibels, here’s a rule of thumb: if it wakes you up, it’s too loud
  • even if it doesn’t wake you, night noise can disturb your sleep patterns, leaving you less rested, and with raised blood pressure
  • even if it doesn’t bother you, spare a thought for your family, friends and neighbours who are bothered by the noise
  • anyone who suffers from anxiety or depression, will experience increased suffering
  • sleep deprivation means children perform less well in school
  • sleep deprivation increases the risk of accidents at home, on the roads and at work
  • noise isn’t just annoying: it’s dangerous, and can even be deadly


  • after 11 years, Manston employs just 110 people, some part-time. 66% live in Thanet.
  • the average pay at Manston is lower than the average pay in Thanet
  • most of the “jobs” Infratil say will be created are imaginary – the result of totting up tiny statistical fractions of jobs: the fuel delivery driver in East Africa, the barber in Ramsgate who cuts the pilot’s hair, etc
  • the aviation industry has become increasingly automated, and less reliant on people – just 20% more people could handle double the current UK air traffic
  • Manston recently admitted that if they doubled the amount of freight they handle, and increased the passengers from 30,000 a year to ¾ million a year, they would create just 23 new jobs
  • jobs created at and near airports are heavily outnumbered by jobs lost in the domestic tourism and hospitality industries


  • Manston has plenty of spare capacity in the daytime
  • the proposal has no fines or penalties if Manston breaks the limits


TDC’s website page about the consultation. 

Manston’s 2011 Night Flying Proposal


The independent report commissioned by TDC that critically assesses Manston’s proposal.




The Thanet DC letter to residents about the consultation:


Dear Resident,

Thanet District Council is currently out to public consultation on proposals for regular night-time flying at Manston Airport. The proposals were submitted by Infratil, owners of the airport, on 27 October 2011 and included an aircraft noise assessment report and economic assessment, which are technical reports explaining the implications of the proposal.

After receiving the documents from Infratil, the council then commissioned specialists Parsons Brinckerhoff Ltd, to carry out an independent assessment of the proposals and technical details. Their report reviews the environmental and economic impacts.

To view the proposals and independent assessment, please go to or visit Thanet’s Gateway Plus in Margate or the council’s Ramsgate District Office in York Street.

The council is now carrying out a 28 day public consultation to provide members of the public with an opportunity to comment on these proposals.

All comments must be submitted in writing either by e-mail to or by post to Consultation, Thanet District Council, PO Box 9, Margate CT9 1XZ.

The consultation closes on Friday 2 March 2012, any responses received after this date will not be accepted.

Please note that legal advice has confirmed that, at this stage, the council is only being asked to provide a response to the proposals. The council is not in a position to make a decision on the night time flying policy at this stage. The feedback from this consultation will therefore be used, along with the findings of the independent assessment, to help draft the council’s response to Infratil.

For more information on this consultation please go to  





Gloves are off in row over night flights at Thanet’s Manston airport

 January 31, 2012

Thanet Times

THE chief executive of Manston’s Kent International Airport has hit out at Thanet District Council’s assessment of night flying.

Charles Buchanan told a meeting of business leaders that plans to weight assessment of a consultation in favour of those living under the flight path was unfair to the rest of Thanet.

  1. The gloves are off in row between Thanet District Council and airport management over night flights at Thanet's Manston Kent International Airport
  2. He also criticised a statement by the authority that said an independent report into the effect of development at the airport “challenged” claims by Infratil, which owns the airport, over economic benefit and noise pollution.

Last week, Thanet council announced it will carry out a 28-day in-house consultation on Manston night-flying policy.

The council says the consultation would preserve “the key principle” of giving more weight to the views of people living under the flight paths.

Mr Buchanan said the views of all Thanet residents should be treated equally, adding: “It is quite clear that there are people from across Thanet who will benefit from the job opportunities created by the night flights and we employ a lot of people in Margate.

“To weigh it in favour of those who just live under the flight path is not fair. All people should have their equal say.”

But Labour council leader Clive Hart said that those who are affected by the environmental impact, as well as the economic impact, should have more of a say.

He said: “It was always going to be that way. Other people are affected, but the argument goes both ways.

“Both people under the flight path and elsewhere in the isle are affected by employment issues. But only people under the flight path are affected by environmental issues as well, so their comments should be given more weight.”

Conservative former council leader Bob Bayford accepted that people living under the flight path should be given more say but that only a consultation carried out by a private company could give an accurate picture of people’s views. He said “If you ask people to respond in an in-house consultation, the people most motivated to respond are those who have a negative view. The people who are not against the airport basically won’t bother.

“If you use a proper market-research company, that is skilled in gauging opinion, they will get the views of the whole population. That is what they are skilled at doing.

“The other problem is that there will be activists going around encouraging people to respond negatively. Everyone is affected, so they should all have a say.”

The consultation is due to begin on Friday (February 3) for a period of 28 days and will be open to all residents in Thanet. Responses to the proposals can be submitted in writing to Consultation, Thanet District Council, PO Box 9, Margate CT9 1XZ or by e-mailing  Full names and addresses must be provided with each response.

People can also submit responses direct to the airport, via its consultation page the-airport/planning/night-flight-policy

For the latest in the night flight debate, see Friday’s Isle of Thanet Gazette