Keith Taylor, the Green MEP for Kent and South East England, has submitted a consultation response to Thanet District Council urging them to maintain the current restrictions on scheduled night time flying from Manston Airport in Kent. In his submission, Keith draws attention to a number of concerns about the proposal to introduce passenger and freight flights between 11pm and 7am. He questions the impact night flights would have on the local economy, the environment and the quality of life for local residents.
In the submission he emphasises the disruption that night flights would cause local residents, especially increased noise levels. Independent assessments have shown that night flights have the potential to cause sleep deprivation and health problems. They would also reduce house prices in the local area. Keith is concerned that local residents’ concerns have not been adequately addressed. The airport’s aim to turn Manston into a freight hub will also result in more disruption caused by an increase in heavy goods vehicles travelling to the airport.
As a Green MEP Keith also raises his concerns about the environmental consequences of an increased volume of flights, especially the rise in green house gas emissions which would threaten the UK’s binding emission reduction targets.
Keith questions the airport’s claims about the benefits of night flights, in particular the claim that this increase will create more jobs
Keith said: “The job creation figures used are widely disputed and fail to stand up to scrutiny. Manston would be best to concentrate on making better use of the capacity they currently have for daytime flights before resorting to inconvenient and disruptive night flights. For the airport to use questionable figures to promise jobs and use the implicit threat of unemployment to persuade the local community to accept the many problems that night flights will bring is especially pernicious in the current economic climate. There is a history of airports promising jobs which they then fail to deliver, and Manston Airport’s case for job creation does not inspire me with confidence.”
Keith continued: “While I welcome development and job creation in the South East generally, and in Thanet particularly, this development offers only uncertain employment potential based on speculative assumptions. I do not believe residents should have to settle for an unsustainable development which will negatively affect the environment and their quality of life.”