Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Collecting local guide books and starting with the Red Guides

So wot’s it worth, in this case one of the Thanet red guides, the same book sometimes being called Margate, Ramsgate or Broadstairs but not Thanet.

This one is the 7th edition which is thought to date from around 1922, a time when there wasn’t much between travelling to Thanet by boat or train.

What it’s worth is really related to where it is, most bookshops have a few of these usually priced between a couple quid and a fiver each and if they have the one local to their area then it’s probably around a tenner and I would think an astute person who reckoned the value of their time at less than the minimum wage could eventually get all of the ones the wanted for about the cost of posting them.

If you find yourself in a bookshop a long way from Thanet and you want one of these guides cheaply, best to ask. On the whole in terms of value for money they are pretty good.

So some sample maps and pages next

 Interesting WW1 Richborough photo in this guide

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Manston Airport Consultation Response, Air Pollution.

Over the past year I have looked at the potential air pollution problem that we would get if we had an airfreight hub at Manston.

One reason for this is that I have felt for years that the Thanet air quality was worse than I expected for a coastal area. I put this partly down to the prevailing wind direction and the direction of the major roads, partly down to the landmass that the wind often blows across, in a sort of long way from Cornwall to Kent type of way, partly down to the proximity of industrial Europe, partly down to the wind blowing from the port of Dover.

Anecdotal evidence is a difficult one, but people seem to agree with me and no doubt people who read this will have their own thoughts.

Coming back to the Manston issue, from about a year ago I started totting up the amount of jet engine fuel that would be expected to be burnt at Manston, if it became a freight hub. I followed this through into the health implications and I suppose didn’t like or quite believe the answers.

I have tried the figures on different people including some who are very pro any sort of aviation at Manston and so far no one has come up with a counter argument.

In terms of advice about completing the consultation pins or The Department for Transport have just allocated a dedicated email address for the Manston DCO which is

The picture is of particulate pollution levels around Los Angeles Airport.

Here is my draft response to the air pollution part of the consultation

The main issue with construction of an airfreight hub at Manston would appear to be the recent life expectancy reduction issues related to particulate pollution, this is the problem that has lead to the national government considering a diesel car scappage scheme.

In a general sense the fuel used in jet engines produces similar particulate emissions to the fuel burnt in diesel road vehicles and the particulates produced from tyres landing on and running along runways similar problems to road vehicles.

Where particulate fuels are burnt in commercial transport mitigation in terms of emission filtration becomes more economically viable with the larger engines in lorries and shipping. For smaller vehicles, cars and vans the shorter term solution looks likely to be moving to petrol with the prospect that in about ten years we will have moved away from fossil fuels in private transport.  

In environmental terms this is a different but related problem to global warming, in simplistic terms the focus has moved from rising sea levels drowning people in a hundred years time, to particulates killing people in significant numbers now.

With jet engined planes as detailed in the PEIR there has been some progress very recently the most encouraging being recent work by NASA see the underlying problem being that filtration isn’t an option.

Most of the available studies showing levels of particulates produced at airports have been made at Los Angeles airport LAX, when using them for comparison it is as well to remember that LAX is a very busy airport and that Los Angeles is already a very polluted city, so everything is as it were scaled up. In terms of visualising the issue Los Angels has approximately the same prevailing wind direction as Manston.

Current mitigation in the UK is mostly focused on a reduction in ground movement fuel burnt. 

Expectations in the shorter 3 to 7 year period will probably include the use of bio fuels and the relocation of some activity from airports upwind of densely populated areas. 

Expectations in the longer 8 to 15 year period may be focused on alternative fuels and fuel storage such as hydrogen and electric motors.

My efforts to discuss this problem with the RiverOak environmental team have been unsatisfactory so far, I tried at the previous non statutory consultation and was given a contact at Amec Foster Wheeler but have had no reply from him to my first email 10.7.7017 also sent to pins.

I attended the statutory consultation at Canterbury where the environmental team members I spoke to appeared to have no concept of the volume of fuel burnt at an airfreight hub and seemed to equate it to that burnt at a busy road junction.    

Obviously the expected fuel burn figures at Manston are contained in the PIER in great detail, but for anyone trying to understand the problem and who isn’t conversant with large engines I have added the following paragraph to help with approximation.

The metric tonne and the imperial ton are almost the same weight, there are 250 gallons of fuel to a ton or tonne. A 747 type plane burns approximately 5 litres or 1 gallon of fuel per second so cargo plane allowances are usually measured in tonnes. The takeoff allowance for a 747 is 2.5 tonnes and the ground movement (landing or takeoff) allowance around 1 tonne.

The proposed Manston site has been designed to minimise the ground movement time, but with the on the ground part of takeoff and landing I think it reasonable to assume that in excess of a tonne of fuel will be burnt on the ground for each movement.

To put this in some sort of proportion a large diesel car does about 40 miles to a gallon and a large lorry about 10 so when thinking in terms of government concerns over road junctions, a car would have to travel 10,000 miles to burn a tonne of fuel.

The minimum number of freight plane movements at Manston, for the Manston project to qualify for a DCO is 10,000 per year so it would follow that the intention is to burn more than 10,000 tons of jet engine fuel per year at the Manston site.

The complexities of increasing flying activity dovetailing with aircraft emissions reducing over future years makes calculating figures for reduced life expectancy from projected activity difficult.  

The most significant aspect is probably the greater than expected distance drift of the smaller and most harmful particles from LAX, the only airport where the measurements have been made and published in a fairly comprehensible way.

This combined with the increased mortality rates related to particulates described in the PEIR and on reputable websites such as wikipedia means the freight hub would result in the premature deaths of a significant number of local, people i.e. kill them.

Discounting all of the other factors but burning 10,000 tonnes of fuel on the ground between when landing aircraft’s wheels touch the runway and leave it on takeoff, which would seem to be a very modest assessment based on 10,000 movements. Taking Thanet’s population as around 125,000 mostly located to the north and east of Manston. Taking the prevailing wind direction to be between south-westerly and westerly. Considering that there really is no lower safe limit for airborne particulate pollution, however significant mortality levels like those found near road junctions are being taken in the 10 to 20% ballpark when considerably reduced life expectancy and diesel car scrappage is being discussed, so this looks like a significant issue.

Obviously in situations where the problem already exists and mitigation efforts have already started then those involved can be seen as applying duty of care and so on.

In terms of embarking on a major project in the face of current scientific information appearing to say that the project would kill a significant number of people, there may be matters related to, duty of care, precautionary principle, liability to litigation and so on that would apply.

I have avoided a long list of citations and links to online documents but for search and reference assistance, the first LAX particulates pollution results were gathered by and the main work was by USC Assistant Professor Scott Fruin 2014, the most recent publicly available results of corroboratory testing and research, which also has links to the important sources is now available on line, here is the link to it  

FB comment added to modify res

Georgina Rooke Hi Michael, as i'm sure you know i'm very sympathetic to your views. i guess the concern i always have though with the particulates / life expectancy angle is why would the government treat Manston and less densely populated towns in Thanet any differently to London and Londoners? I think one way to strengthen your argument is to remind the government that the majority of freight is shipped in the belly of passenger aircraft. in other words, if you looked at fuel burned per ton of cargo it would be marginal when carried by passenger planes compared to dedicated cargo planes, because those planes are flying anyway and the fuel being burned to carry the weight of the plane is being burned anyway to carry the passengers. In the case of dedicated cargo planes all the fuel (and therefore all the pollution) can be attributed solely to the freight so the 'pollution per tonne' is higher for dedicated cargo planes

This then becomes a much stronger argument I believe. The government should encourage use of passenger flights for cargo and discourage dedicated freight planes as a way to mitigate the risks of particulates until the industry can move to Biofuels.


Sunday, 16 July 2017

A bit of the Canterbury blitz and a minor ramble Manston draft consultation response 2

I bought a publication today that was published in 1942 about the bombing in Canterbury on 1st June 1942, I am assuming that the copyright has expired on this and so am putting some of the pictures here to mark the 75th anniversary albeit belatedly.

I spent most of today in Canterbury, hence the purchase, some of the time I spent fiddling with my watercolour from the downstairs window of Chocolate Café. This was mostly hazily sketching in figures so that perhaps a couple of watercolours down the line I can produce something that shows the perspective and gives the feel of the café customers in the foreground and the people in the distance.

I haven’t had much time for painting recently and it was a very pleasant bit of relaxation today, as well as the bookshop being busy at the moment I have this difficult and complex Manston DCO consultation which has to be competed and submitted by next weekend.  

Despite rsp emailing me promising to look into the problems with their consultation website not working properly, nothing has happened to improve it. Important webpages only show even numbered pages of documents for example.

As with my draft response to the business case, see I have published my draft about the noise compensation issue below. I should stress here that this is a daft and that any useful input would be helpful.     

Manston Airport DCO Consultation Draft response Noise Pollution and Compensation

My understanding from the PIER assumed flight paths, aircraft, engine types and so on is that.

1 The flight path over Ramsgate has to remain the same and changes to flight paths which may happen during later stages after the DCO submission will have no significant affect on overflying Ramsgate.

2 That the noise impact on homes and businesses within Ramsgate will be significant and that plans to mitigate them should be at a fairly advanced stage prior to DCO submission as the DCO process is front-loaded.

3 That aircraft noise mitigation in airport expansion is mostly a matter of compensation and as an application for a DCO that would authorise CA must be accompanied by a Funding Statement which should demonstrate that adequate funding is likely to be available to enable the CA within the statutory period following the DCO being made, and that the resource implications of a possible acquisition resulting from a blight notices should have been taken account of, I am therfore assuming that the whole compensation issue has to be presented in one consultation response.

4 That the issues related to the Ramsgate conservation zone and the number of listed buildings likely to be affected by noise should by this stage have been at least partially addressed in order to approximately assess sound insulation and cost with a view to determining compensation levels related to the resource implications. 

5 That negotiation related to sound insulation within the conservation area between rsp, English Heritage and TDC conservation officers is already occurring.

Due to issues with accessing the PEIR documents and consultation website, see my emails, ref (Ross RiverOak Strategic Partners Manston Airport consultation team) I am uncertain that I have managed to view all of the consultation documents. So please accept my apologies for saying that documents that should be there are missing are actually there, if this is the case.

Obviously I am no expert in airport expansion DCOs and have only been able to find examples of two which are expected to be submitted in the UK one being this Manston one and the other being for the third runway at Heathrow.

In terms of percentage expansion and therefore the difference to historic noise disruption the Manston project would the by far the greater civil aviation expansion based on previous activity at Manston.

In view of the front loaded nature of the DCO process and the expectation that there would only be small and unavoidable change after the application stage I had expected the PIER to be more compete in terms of already addressing solutions to known and fundamentally unalterable environmental problems.

Previous submissions for Manston expansion have included noise contour maps for unavoidable parts of the fightpaths, most especially related to the necessity to overfly the densely populated town of Ramsgate because of the location of the runway. I have been unable to find these within the PEIR. 

A comprehensive noise pollution plan would seem to be particularly important as the possibility of nighttime flying appears to be envisaged as part of the application.  

Although the Heathrow expansion is at an earlier stage in progressing towards the DCO I am assuming that their noise mitigation and compensation package would be broadly similar to the Manston one. Although I suppose that as Thanet is an economically depressed area and therefore has higher levels of poverty some less comprehensive scheme may be envisaged related to the population being poorer with lower levels of employment and home ownership.

I also asked about the funding and compensation issue at the previous non statutory consultation and followed this up by email to pins 5.8.2016, the pins advice encouraged me to write to RiverOak which resulted in an email correspondence between me and rsp director George Yerrall who said, email 32.8.2016:-

“Dear Michael,

Thank you for your patience in awaiting my response.  I was away on vacation with my family and I try to “unplug” when I am away.

Your list of questions is hard for me to process as it contains numerous requests to respond to something said to you by a “RiverOak rep” as well as a number of assumptions you have made that seem factually difficult to understand such as your assumption that the airport would be “classified brownfield and that the cpo land compensation will be based on an open market valuation for brownfield land in southeast England., plus blight compensation.”

However, as you know, the PINS consultation process is very transparent and all of your issues will be addressed and published in due time.  I understand that waiting for answers can be frustrating and that is not my intent.

Thank you again for your patience and I look forward to addressing all of your concerns in the near future.

Best regards,


From this I inferred that the statutory consultation document pack and website would contain, a site compensation plan, blight compensation plan, noise compensation or draft noise compensation plan. Having failed to find anything and having had no response from rsp about the issues with the consultation website and documents, I am providing the link to the Heathrow noise compensation plan for your information

Added to this would be the airport site value compensation I understand this is 283 hectares, designated brownfield. Independent valuation puts southeast non agricultural land prices, residential in the av £4m per hectare ballpark with the lowest in Dover at about £1.75m and industrial in the £1.1m ballpark. My assumption from your airfreight hub job forecasts is that your own assessment of the potential site value would be seen as profitable commercial, so that you would see the minimum site value as nearest equating to industrial. This would put your assessment of the minimum site value in the area of £300m, with the worst-case scenario rising to cover those parts of the site that the current owners intend for residential use being considerably higher. There is also the of course the situation where the airport was available as a failing business with no alternative viable commercial plans and could probably have been bought in the £10m ballpark so I assume this could be taken as a quasi best case scenario

In trying to comprehend how the CA and potential blight acquisition compensation could be covered by provably legitimately sourced investment that would be acceptable to the DFT and enable the publication of a transparent funding statement, which is an integral part of a DCO requiring CA, I have drawn some conclusions.  My understanding is that rsp isn’t an aviation company but an investment conduit and I find it difficult to see major investors attracted to a project with uncosted and potentially open-ended compensation liabilities. I am therefore assuming that potential investment, in the event of the airfreight hub scheme failing, would be covered by the potential residential site value of what I understand to be a brownfield site. I am also assuming that any blight acquisitions would increase in value considerably were this to happen.

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Thanet the North Foreland, Minster, the Deer Legend and so on from the 1864 Ramsgate and Broadstairs guide.

By 1864 the railways had become the way to get around in Thanet, Ramsgate Sands Station opened in 1860 so both Ramsgate and Margate had competing railway companies.

In terms of coming down to holiday from London, there was a choice between the railway companies and the paddle steamers, once here excursions by train and boat formed part of the holiday experience.

After the post the other day using the 1866 Railway guide for Margate and Herne Bay I have moved on to the 1864 one for Ramsgate and Broadstairs. To be perfectly honest we are entertaining this evening and having cooked for the ten of us here, the majority of which are young, three of us who work and the other seven in full time education, three of us have retired to the living room leaving those suffering from youth to get on with stuff.

The guide seemed an appropriate diversion, we do a cheap reprint, here is the link if you are thinking of buying originals of this type of guide the card cover is the scarcest bit, with ones that have been bound often together without covers worth much less.

The next scarcest bit is the folding coloured picture at the front (frontispiece)

The sample pages for this one worked OK, see and I seem to have got to the bit around Minster, so here are some pages which should expand if you click on them.

Mick Donovan at York Street Gallery in Ramsgate

The current exhibition is by Mick Donovan Exhibition - 12 July - 19 July

Friday, 14 July 2017

The Manston DCO consultation noise compensation post

With only a week to go before the Manston DCO consultation completion deadline I have been trying to work out the situation about noise compensation for those people who live at the end of the runway approach in the bit where aircraft can’t turn so have to fly over houses.

As far as I see this is mostly a swathe over Ramsgate about a mile and a half wide with the runway line going up the middle.

The main place I looked was to see what happens with other airports using the DCO legislation and because DCOs are fairly new, the only other instance where they intend to use a DCO is the third runway at Heathrow.

In the case of Heathrow the situation is fairly clear, if they want your land, your house or your business then when it is subject to the cpo it will be subject to a current market valuation based on the value of your house if were unaffected by the airport expansion and they will pay you this plus 25% see

If you equate Heathrow to Manston the distances don’t look quite the same as at Heathrow the airport own much more land at the eastern end or the site, beyond the end of the runways. So the bit they describe as the wider zone, if applied to Manston and Ramsgate would appear to reach across to the coast.

Here they are offering to buy your property for unaffected market value plus 25% and or offer a sound insulation scheme.

I have to admit I was expecting something like this in the RSP documents but haven’t been able to find anything.

This surprises me because for the DCO to be accepted pins or the DFT, however you like to think of them, have to have proof that RSP have the funds to pay for the compensation and I don't see how they can do this without knowing how much the compensation will be.

The big added difference with the flight path over Ramsgate is the conservation zone and the listed buildings which would be much more expensive to insulate if double-glazing were to be allowed by English Heritage.

My understanding is that however the flight paths are arranged flying over Ramsgate is essential.

I suppose there is also the possibility that what is seen as normal compensation for airport development at Heathrow wouldn’t apply at Manston, but this would seem unlikely.

So have I missed anything or have I misunderstood something.

Here are the books that went out in the bookshop today lots of magic, so the answer may be there. 

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Margate and Herne Bay

I have been out bookbuying in Herne Bay and Margate today, a few camera photos mostly looking out to sea at the ships, sorry some are a bit squiff and blurry, here is the link

I am now sitting down after supper reading the All about Margate and Herne Bay guide for 1866 that I publish, here is the link 

I was going to recommend that readers read the sample pages there when I discovered that the files are damaged and don’t work too well so here are some so you can join in (click on the page to expand it)

 and I will try to mend the other pages in the fullness of time.

More books from store to bookshelves here in the bookshop in Ramsgate, an interesting indicator of local people’s reading perhaps, here is the link