Even in its draft form, the BV report was enough to stop the consultation process in its tracks. I asked TDC's Leader and CEO on 25th November for a glimpse of the draft. On 2nd December Cllr Bayford told me that the final draft had been received and would shortly be published. Sure enough, it appeared on the TDC website on 6th December - more than a month after it was delivered to TDC.
Given the close working relationship between TDC and the airport owners, I expect they passed it onto Infratil straight away - long before the public got sight of it. TDC's press release said that Infratil's next policy submission would follow on from (and be guided by?) BV's final report. Unless Infratil throw up their hands in horror at the report's recommendations and simply leave town, they'll be delivering a new proposal in the New Year. Possibly before.
In the meantime, here's some of the more encouraging quotes from the final Bureau Veritas report:
1.0.4 Even with this [quota count system] in place, it is BV’s view is that the predicted number of people likely to be exposed to significant levels of average night-time noise is not sufficiently justified by the number of passengers and freight activity that are forecast to benefit from the proposals.
This would appear to leave Infratil's night flying proposal dead in the water.
1.0.6 In order to reduce noise impact on nearby residents due to individual aircraft movements, BV would recommend that bedrooms of dwellings predicted to be exposed to 90 dB(A) SEL or more are also included in the sound insulation scheme.
This would be expensive for Infratil to comply with. Below is a street map of Ramsgate with the 90dB(A) SEL noise contour superimposed (the contour is taken from the Bickerdike Allen report). As you can see, that's a lot of double-glazing to install. If Infratil only want the night flying permission to make the airport more attractive to sell, this is a significant obligation for any purchaser to inherit.
1.0.9 BV has reviewed the input assumptions for this [BAP's] modelling and, using these, has undertaken their own independent noise modelling. The results of this have shown the contour modelling undertaken by BAP is accurate and representative of the input data provided.
So the noise contour in the map above is likely to be fairly accurate.
4.2.2 Given the sensitivity of night flights, and the comments in the ATWP [Air transport White Paper] ... there is an obligation to be sure that the economic benefits from those flights do justify the inevitable disturbance that will occur.
"Obligation" is a good word to see in this context. We have yet to see the required economic justification from Infratil.
4.3.2 ... this [quota count] system only controls activity between 23.30 and 06.00 hours, which on its own would leave the shoulder periods uncontrolled (other than by the inherent runway capacity).
One of the ploys in Infratil's proposal which TDC seem to have overlooked is the shortening of the "official" night by 1½ hours by introducing the evening and morning "shoulder periods" of 2300-2330 and 0600-0700. As the BV report correctly points out, flights during the shoulder periods are as unregulated as day-time flights.
4.3.9 ... over 60% of night operations will take place during the shoulder periods, which as indicated above is not controlled by the quota system. BAP also mention that it is generally accepted that the most sensitive time for people at night is the quota count period, and particularly during the hours of 01:00 and 06:00. People are, however, also sensitive to noise when they are trying to get to sleep and soon before waking up in the morning, i.e. during the shoulder periods. Noise impact during the shoulder periods could be regulated by imposing a limit on the area of the night-time noise contour...
At last, some common sense! Regardless of what Infratil may like to call night and day, the rest of us are still doing our best to get some sleep at times that fit into the rest of our lives, and planes late at night and in the early hours will be disruptive. So BV's suggestion is to limit the sound footprint of the airport.
4.3.10 An indication of the severity of night noise controls is given by considering the average quota count per aircraft movement within the night quota period. The policy proposes an annual quota of 1995 created by 1081 movements, giving a quota count per aircraft movement of 1.85. The current regime at London Heathrow permits ... a quota count per aircraft movement of 1.45. The corresponding figures for Gatwick and Stansted are 0.62 and 0.67 respectively.
Yes, you read that right - Manston want to create twice the nuisance of Gatwick and Stansted, and more even than Heathrow.
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