Thursday, 17 September 2009


I subscribe to the Thanet District Council's RSS feeds, so imagine my surprise when the usually dull and yawn-inducing press release turned out to be, in fact, a vision for the future. Yes, that's right, Thanet Council's going all Mystic Meg on us, gazing into their crystal ball and choosing to publish its vision for Thanet's future, outlining in some detail what they believe this glorious Isle will be like in the year 2030.

The only trouble is: it won't please those who oppose current plans for the Manston flight path. In fact, Thanet District Council believes Kent International Airport in Manston will be “the commercial centre of Thanet” by 2030 and that it will have “established itself as a major cargo base for the UK, processing 500,000 tons of freight per year, particularly from nearby continental markets.” This doubtlessly won't please some critics – especially since it indicates that the Council regards the Manston fiasco to be a done deal, disregarding those who don't happen to agree with the whole 'night flight' debacle.

I personally don't even have an opinion on whether I'm for or against the idea of a local airport. The lazy part of me thinks it'll be more convenient – after all, I did travel to Naples via Manston last summer so I can't be too principled about it without appearing hypocritical – but the other part of me is slightly dubious about the whole thing. Generally, since Thanet is quite a deprived area at the moment, it's easy to assume that Manston Airport can only be a good thing, economically speaking. However, on the flip side of this we must also recognize that as a signatory to the Kyoto Protocol, the UK government should be attempting to reduce domestic CO2 emissions.

So, let's face it, the creation of a local airport isn't gonna prevent the world from getting any warmer, is it? Then again, it didn't exactly stop 'em from proposing to create an extra runway at Heathrow either, so it's possibly a case of monkey see monkey do, if you'll pardon the assumption that Westminster's being overrrun by damned dirty apes. That being said, I am at least partly sympathetic to green issues, so I guess I'm against Manston Airport on those counts, if nothing else. Then again, I'm sure that Thanet Council will probably argue that their decision to create offshore windfarms will offset the balance in CO2 emissions, but I don't buy that for a second.

Nonetheless, I can see why Thanet District Council claims that by the year 2030 a local airport is likely to have attracted “creative new businesses” to the area. Actually, Margate's future got quite a good write-up, focusing on the Turner Contemporary (obviously!) and emphasizing that the tourism trade is booming thanks largely to a high speed rail link to London and the creation of Dreamland Heritage Park. As for Ramsgate and Broadstairs; generally, aside from mentioning that there may be more boat owners in Ramsgate harbour and a potential ferry service, it looks like they'll remain relatively unchanged. I'm sure this will be a massive consolation to the local residents who'll have to suffocate themselves with their pillows every night to drown out the incessant noise of cargo planes flying above their houses.

Anyway, it's quite a lengthy yet concise piece, quite enjoyable to read, so feel free to check it out and see if you happen to approve of their musings. Despite trying to make their predictions sound like a utopia, I'm sure some will be divided on Thanet District Council's fanciful (and possibly unattainable) vision of Thanet's future, as even I'm a bit skeptical. After all, they are talking about 21 years from now, and even Nostradamus never got it exactly spot on. I'll be 44 years old in 2030, so it'll be interesting to see if these mystical forecasts bear fruit, rotten or otherwise. Let's just hope I'm not too old or too disillusioned to give a monkeys by then, shall we?


  1. I'm sure that we'll have greener & quiter air transport eventually...

  2. Luke I will be 74 assuming I get past lunch time The world population doubled in the last 50 years so by my reconing we are going to have a lot more people and problems by 2030 I am not even sure we have enough oil to last till then so horses and carts all round