We have watched the video posted on the ‘Wildlife Conservation in Thanet’ webpage on 3 December and, unfortunately, it contains a number of inaccuracies about the proposed redevelopment of Manston Airport, which was recently consented by the Secretary of State for Transport. We are happy to put the record straight.
First, the notice that Nik Mitchell has come across is one that RiverOak is required by statute to display in the vicinity of any land subject to compulsory acquisition. The land in question here is the water outfall pipeline from the airport to Pegwell Bay, whose current ownership is unknown. RiverOak is regularising the situation to give it a clear owner, and by doing so is taking on the liabilities of maintaining and repairing the pipeline which should be of benefit to those in the vicinity and the natural environment.
There is no truth in the rumour that the old hovercraft terminal is to be used, the only land involved in this vicinity is the underground pipeline mentioned above.
Furthermore and most significantly, the video confuses two different outfalls. The one shown in the video is an outfall for runoff from Sandwich Road; the one to be used by the airport is separate and about 120m to the south-west. The land plans accompanying RiverOak’s application do show a link from the highway to the airport pipeline, but this is only for access rights, since access from the public highway is needed if RiverOak is to maintain the pipeline.
It is a legitimate concern that the water that runs through the airport pipeline does not cause any issues for Pegwell Bay, which RiverOak accepts is a highly protected natural site.
Accordingly, included in the project are two new drainage ponds that will be used sequentially for cleaning the water to be discharged from the site (Work No. 23 in the DCO). Furthermore Requirement 13 obliges RiverOak to produce a drainage plan, consult the Environment Agency, Kent County Council, Natural England and Southern Water on it, and have it signed off by Thanet District Council before the airport can operate. These bodies should ensure that the mitigation and monitoring will protect Pegwell Bay.