Manston DCO issues: Noise and night flights

Noise and night flights

A revised noise mitigation plan has been submitted to the Planning Inspectorate by RiverOak Strategic Partners (RSP) for the latest deadline in the Development Consent Order examination for the Manston airport site.

The firm is applying for the DCO in order to purchase the land and create an air freight cargo hub and associated businesses.

However, the land is owned by Stone Hill Park which has submitted a planning application to create up to 3,700 homes, business and leisure and associated infrastructure.

The Planning Inspectorate hearings opened in January and are due to conclude in July.

Major issues to be examined include noise and night flights.

RSP noise mitigation

In the revised mitigation plan RSP say the airport will be subject to a total annual air transport movement limit of 26,468 with a General Aviation movement limit of 38,000. The proposal is for an annual quota during the Night Time Period (11pm-7am) of 3028 movements.

The site would have an overall operating capability of 83,220 movements per annum.

RSP data predicts 33 Air Transport Movements (ATMs) and approximately 16 non ATMs on a typical busy day in all years. In Year 20 there is predicted to be 72 ATMs during a typical busy day and 7 ATMs on a typical busy night.

Measurements in the RSP report say a significant adverse noise level is measured at 63db (decibels) during the day flying period, 55db at night or 80db for more than 18 nightly events.

Anything 69db and over is labelled as an unacceptable level. Aircraft noise is measured by a quota count of Effective perceived noise in decibels (EPNdB).

Lowest is 84 – 86.9 EPNdB with a 0.25 quota count whilst the top end is 96 – 98.9 EPNdB with a quota count of 4;  99 – 101.9 EPNdB quota 8 and anything greater than 101.9 EPNdB equalling a count of 16.

RSP says it will limit noise impacts by introducing the cap on annual air transport movements at the airport  and with the use of a night-time ‘noise quota’, common at other UK airports, where aircraft are given an independently assessed score known as a quota count according to how noisy they are. An annual quota is imposed on aircraft movements. This provides control over the total amount of noise from aircraft.

Other measures will be:

  • A scheduled night flight ban between the hours of 2300 and 0600
  • A ban on the noisiest aircraft (with quota count 8 or 16) at night
  • A noise insulation scheme for residential properties
  • A noise insulation scheme for sensitive non-residential buildings
  • A commitment to regular and ongoing consultation with schools
  • A purchase and relocation assistance scheme for residential properties
  • A clear and transparent process for identifying eligibility for noise insulation, purchase or relocation
  • Annual reporting on matters relating to noise
  • The establishment of a Community Consultative Committee and a Community Trust Fund (which will receive funding from the airport operator under the plan;
  • A ban on routine training flights other than for General Aviation
  • A ban on open field testing of jet engines at night
  • Reverse thrust limitation procedures
  • Low power / Low drag approach procedures
  • Monitoring of noise levels from aircraft and fines for noisy aircraft
  • Fines for aircraft that stray from approved flightpaths without good reason

Emergency flights and flights operated by relief organisations for humanitarian reasons will not count towards the quota.

The report says the airport operator will seek to operate take-offs from Runway 28 and landings on Runway 10 as a method of reducing noise over built up areas.


The document lays out plans for payments due to noise mitigation estimated at insulation policy and Part I claims: £4m for up to 1000 properties at £4000 each and relocation costs of £1.6m for up to eight properties.

Measures will include secondary glazing, high performance double glazing, roof insulation, sound insulated doors; and mechanical ventilation.

The document says the airport operator will provide reasonable levels of noise insulation and ventilation for schools and community buildings within the 60 dB LAeq (16 hour) day time contour.

A purchase and relocation assistance scheme will mean the airport operator buying the property for its market value and  giving relocation assistance payments of £5,000; and 2.5% of the purchase price for the property up to a maximum of £15,000.


In its document RSP says: “RiverOak Strategic Partners Limited (‘RiverOak’) has always been aware that the issue of noise created by the operation of a redeveloped Manston Airport would be one of the issues of principal concern for
the residents of the districts of Thanet and Canterbury.

“RiverOak understands those concerns and wishes to offer a range of commitments on future noise related activities at the airport in the form of a Noise Mitigation Plan. The commitments are designed to provide clarity to residents and reduce their concerns to the extent possible.”

No Night Flights: ‘Sound levels’

Campaign group No Night Flights says noise from night time crafts could reach more than 85db, saying: “RSP are proposing allowing 747-400 aircraft to operate at night and we know from authenticated historical data that these will produce a noise footprint of over 85 dB (max) affecting most Ramsgate residents, plus many living in the St Nicholas conservation area and in the Reculver/Beltinge areas.

“The evidence shows that the applicant will be subjecting over 30,000 people to sound levels much greater than the threshold for “onset of potential sleep disturbance”. Yet the applicant appears to want permission not to count the first 17 times he does this each night. Nor has he provided the contours which the professional bodies say would be most revealing of the extent of the disturbance at night caused by his proposed development.”

The No Night Flight  submission adds: “According to RSP’s business plan, and the metrics they have chosen, nobody will be woken by aircraft noise in the first 20 years of Manston operating as a 24/7 freight hub. Of course, reality is different, as the complaints made to KIACC (Kent International Airport Consultative Committee) when the airport was open attest. Just one 747-400 night flight in a night caused awakenings and resulted in complaints.”

No Night Flights say historically airport operators have sought permission for scheduled night flights despite there being available day time capacity, saying that they could not attract cargo business without them.

The group say they fear quota count 4 aircraft will be used at night and any air movement caps could be overturned. They also say most cargo flights are not scheduled, meaning a ban on scheduled night would be ineffective.

They add: “The absence of an explicit ban on planned night flights in the application and the proposal for a negotiable quota tend to suggest the applicant’s intention to prop up an airport operation at Manston by capturing the bottom end of the freight market – noisy QC4 night flights banned at the majority of other UK airports.”


Noise will be the subject of an issue specific hearing for the DCO to be held on March 22 at Laurence Suite, Building 500, Discovery Park. Doors open at 9.30am, hearing starts at 10am.


  1. Don’t be fooled by “A scheduled night flight ban between the hours of 2300 and 0600”. Freight flights are not scheduled, so this statement is meaningless.
    “The proposal is for an annual quota during the Night Time Period (11pm-7am) of 3028 movements.”. So that’s 8 flights a night, 365 days of the year. Our politicians, Roger Gale and Craig Mackinlay, insist that no night flights are planned, They are lying, or stupid, or most likely, both.

  2. Absolutely Phil. Most cargo flights are not scheduled, a ban on them at night is meaningless and indeed, Roger clearly cannot have read the business case which does indeed outline night flights, as we’ve all known since the start. The RSP sound monitoring figures are absurd and ill conceived and so what if we all have triple glazing? Are we supposed to stay in all day? Do people really think a plane 400 feet over the harbour every 5 minutes during the day plus one plane an hour through the night louder than Heathrow allows is a good idea? The compensation suggestion is an insult and RSP merrily continue to suggest ruining our town and the end to our tourist regeneration, all wrapped up with a huge level of support from both MPs but interestingly, not TDC according to their official representations. RSP should be ashamed of themselves for their insulting business plan. Say no to RSP. Say no to a cargo plane over your head every 5 minutes. Say no to the certain ruin of Ramsgate. Leave the multiple times failed airport in the past and let Stone Hill Park keep the heritage aviation alive through their own plans. Let’s stop the politicking and start getting on with supporting the economic regeneration of Ramsgate which started once the failed airport failed for the last time.

    • Our two MPs should be ashamed as they are working for their own ends, residents must be made aware of the risk to their health from the emissions that aircraft give off known as particulates, some get in the lungs and cause cancer the smaller ones get strait into the blood stream,40,000 died from these in the UK last year. flying the number of aircraft that RSP talk about will cause a serious health hazard to young and old, this venture should be stopped in it’s tracts as soon as possible.

  3. Well said Phil and Emmeline. RSP in their recent written responses say they want 127,000 ATMs per year plus a Quota Count of 3028 night flights.

    That is a helluva lot of cargo flights flying over head at 300-500 feet. This will kill our towns and villages.

    We have been and continue to be thrown under the bus by our MPs, some (current) elected Councillors and the (current) leader of the Council.

    As reported above there will be night flights and the noise insulation scheme does not avoid significant effects to residential, school and community receptors including to 7 schools under the flight swathes.

    RSP have offered no mitigation whatsoever to protect these school children.

    Our MPs, some elected (current) Councillors and the (current) leader of the Council have actively and aggressively supported and promoted the interests of the cargo hub developer, RSP, over the interests of their constituents – the people of Thanet. We deserve better.

    We already know that the houses that were earmarked for the Manston site have just been pushed out to green belt land around it without any additional infrastructure, like schools.

    When the necessary public safety zones around the runway are ordered this will displace even more houses to our already crowded towns and villages, with no extra schools, GPs or amenities being built to support them.

    We need to stand together on this. This affects us all.

  4. Let’s get Manston up a running. Do not need 4000 houses and that means at least 6000 cars. RAMSGATE will be gridlocked. There are no Doctors Dentists Hospital will see more delays than ever.

    • WE ARE GETTING THE HOUSES ANYWAY. I am sorry for the shouting but i find it unbelievable that this has not gotten through yet.

    • The area does not need a cargo hub airport either. Ramsgate would be an intolerable place to live if RSP’s plan became reality.

    • How (assuming anyone wants a noisy dirty cargo hub on their doorstep)? During its short and sad life, it lost £100,000,000. So who’s going to stump up the vast amount of money to keep it open? How much, Nigel, are you prepared to invest in order to be woken every night, several times a night?

  5. The RSP plans display a complete disregard of the people living in Ramsgate,Herne Bay and the villages whose lives and property will be blighted by the number of movements planned by the company. The contempt that this firm has shown to those whose lives will be detrimentally affected has been scandalous with concerns treated with contempt by the directors of RSP at their various presentations. This contempt has been supported by members of the local Conservative and UKIP groups who have actively promoted the plans of RSP …… can only but wonder why politicians would wish to ally themselves to a firm whose individuals have such an extremely dubious track record..

  6. I take it they these comments mean people would rather have 3700 houses for Londoners to move down here then and create even more chaos on infrastructure, doctors hospital water schools all of which i way over attended now

    • For the 10,000,000th time, maym, we get the houses, and the associated pressure on the infrastructure, anyway.
      What we don’t want want is, in addition, a noisy, dirty airport ruining our towns.

  7. How can an airport which will rely on aviation fuel being brought in by tanker on a motorway which is only a double carriageway, plus it will have to take the haulage from the airport as well. The M2 can’t take that extra load.
    Why would you fly your goods into an airport stuck out on a limp without with a fuel supply, and little motorway to the car park which is the M25.
    Can’t go by rail as there is no railway….
    It’s madness

  8. Maym, have you seen the plans by Stone Hill? They include building local provisions for health and education, unlike the revised local plan where TDC is going to shove thousands of houses which are coming anyway onto the green belt. If there is an airport, and let’s hope there is not, the houses are still coming. I am confused why people do not understand it is not simply airport OR houses. Besides which, what’s wrong with Londoners? This comment does nothing for community cohesion, sorry to be critical. I’m from London, stop attacking Londoners. It is bizarre and rude.

    • Well said Emmeline. The choice is:
      1) Airport plus houses on green belt with no added facilities
      2) Houses on airport site with schools, shops, medical centre
      Option 2 also includes a runway suitable for heritage aircraft, so Spitfires could fly again from Manston. If a cargo hub is built there then there will be no Spitfire flights – Roger Numpty Gale take note.

  9. Maym- that is not what you should infer from the earlier comments. If we must have new housing, it would be better if they went on a brownfield site and not on agricultural land or countryside. I don’t want an airport, and I’d much rather not have thousands of new houses. But the intrusion on Ramsgate (and other) residents by the kind of airport RSP say they want would be absolutely bloody awful.

  10. The capability of the airport is much greater than the 83,000 ATMS stated here. This is from PINS website. “The ‘physical capability’ of the proposed airport is still 83,220 (for the cargo stands), 43,800 (for the passenger stands) plus about 36 (for the recycling stands) = 127,052 ATMs.” RSP are doing everything they can to obfuscate & mislead everybody of the true impact of their proposal. Yet another deadline has passed with no mention of any credible & legitimate funding whatsoever from them. It also seems their claim to have applied for a CAA licence is a lie too as they never paid the £38k fee so the application was dropped.

  11. I remember getting p*ssed off with Virgin doing bounce landing training and looking out of my window in Ramsgate almost capable of reading the tyre brand off 747’s.
    I dont want to go back to my life being ruined by some rich fat gutted Yankee red neck or Middle Eastern wealth fund or some Chinese oligarch who doesn’t even know where Manston is.
    Yer! so SHP Are a bunch of shysters but at least they are quiet about it.

    So the way I see it is noisy overseas shysters or quiet UK shysters, I prefer the quiet ones.

    • Well said Ian. When you are stuck between the devil and the deep blue sea, you have got a difficult choice to make. Any support for an airport, is support for houses being built on every scrap of green land left in Thanet.

  12. At least it’s out there now, finally!, admission of night flights and lots of them. Local MPs have lied about night flights, lied about scale of this proposed cargo hub, lied about everyone ‘getting their old airport back’ and now is time for us all to unite behind the truth of this proposal and fight the devastation to our way of life and our kids futures. Time to see our local representatives for what they are. Town wrecking, divisive, delusional, self serving liars

  13. Don’t buy a house near an airport then complain about the noise, Manston was an airport for decades, if you’ve lived in Thanet as long as you make out you should be used to it. My house is on the flight line, we had planes on approach and take off regularly and barely noticed.

    • I grew up here under the flight path and it was intolerable when KLM took over. NO ONE bought a house near a cargo hub proposing over 3000 movements per night. For the sake of Ramsgate let’s hope RSP’s ridiculous plans get the boot.

    • Manston WAS an airport for decades, during which time it lost £100,000,000.00. But it hasn’t been an airport for 5 years. Peace, quiet, relative tranquillity have filled the air, rather than polluting jet exhaust and noise. People have moved here since the closure.
      A question for you, Lew: you say that you barely noticed the planes. Would you say that your sleep has been disrupted by the peace, quiet, and relative tranquillity that we’ve enjoyed since the airport closed? Would you say that the absence of disruption has degraded the quality of your life?
      If that is the case, then rather than inflict a dirty noisy airport on the rest of us, why don’t you seek solace by moving to Hatton Cross (convenient for Heathrow) or Kegworth (just under the flightpath for East Midlands Airport)?

      • No. Manston was an airfield for decades run by the RAF and the USAAF and then later just the RAF. It was an airport for a few short years and in that time it never, ever made a profit. The RAF left because it was isolated and not useful for the modern military. It never made a profit for the same reason. I think most people have fond, nostalgic memories of the airfield and perhaps that is why they are in support of a return to aviation there.

        When the RAF left so did any pleasure that was gleaned from the site. What is being proposed is much larger than what was there before and the effects will be much worse. this proposal will mean that the life expectancy of the residents of Thanet will be lower than average, many people will suffer with respiratory problems-particularly the very young and old, and children will do worse at school to mention just a few of the effects that the WHO have published. The only possible argument for the airport is the economic one and that is flawed. Crawley is the most deprived area of Sussex.

        This proposal will mean that every scrap of green land left in Thanet will be built on with Manston, like a huge, polluting Central Park in the centre. Sounds rather dystopian to me.

    • Lew, living under a flight path with one or two passenger carrying aeroplanes a day for two or three days a week is not a problem – I agree, often barely noticeable, with the exception of maybe when I could see the pilot eating his sandwiches… Living under a flight path with freight aeroplanes which are huge, old (therefore noisy) and dirty 24 hours a day, 7 days a week is a whole different proposition. There WILL be night flights because it won’t be viable without them.

    • No less an authority than RiverOak itself acknowledges that were a cargo hub to be opened at Manston then there would be serious consequences for some people living in Thanet.

      • But not for airport supporters! They wouldn’t hear the racket of low-flying planes, and pollution and stress wouldn’t affect them!

    • This is a completely different operation to anything seen at Manston before. Freight – and more flights a day than Manston had in a YEAR

  14. It is about time RSP were kicked out of the application , sued by SHP the owners of the land for the costs of defending this land grab and lost time in building the mixed use development that provides everything that Thanet needs. RSP go away and leave us be

  15. Lew, do you not think there would be a difference between 3 flights a week and a flight every 5 minutes day and night? Surely you can see there would be a huge difference in noise impact?

    I also think you’ll find it was an airport for about 20 years when it operated commercially and it went bust successively. Hardly a track record to be proud of, nor evidence to inspire confidence in another try.

  16. I once went on a beach holiday where the beach was situated under the flight path. It ruined my holiday and I will never go back. Is that what people want for Thanet which relies so much on the tourist industry?

Comments are closed.