South Thanet MP Craig Mackinlay: From Net Zero to Ramsgate Port and Manston

Craig Mackinlay

All will know me not to be one for holding back. I say it as it is across many topics. I examine issues with the odd mix of experiences and training that I’ve had across too many decades. To have a degree in Zoology and Comparative Physiology and then to become a Chartered Accountant is indeed slightly peculiar but allows me to look at scientific issues with the cool head of cost and plausibility.

This is why I’ve become so involved with the analysis of the Net Zero project and my concerns that we won’t improve technology or encourage the public by simply banning things. Great products sell themselves. I always give the example of a smartphone. We didn’t need to ban the Motorola or Nokia to encourage us to buy the new generation of phone that nearly all of us now use – we bought them because they had functions we wanted at the right price. We made a consumer choice on the back of technological advances that capitalism is singularly good at creating. You’d have to be of a certain age to remember the East Germany produced Trabant car, the supposed pinnacle of small car engineering across the old Eastern Bloc. State direction of production rarely ends well. This is at the heart of my concerns about the nudges and bans proposed on the route to Net Zero. Technology will lead the way with consumer products we want at a price we can afford.

I am therefore pleased to be part of the common sense victory to allow the sale of new petrol and diesel cars beyond the proposed 2030 date for them to be banned now pushed out to 2035. Most of our friends and competitors around the world from the EU to Australia and many US States are on the 2035 date, so what is proposed, merely to align with an international norm is hardly revolutionary. Similarly with gas and oil-fired boilers. Doubtless heat pumps will improve, perhaps, but unlikely, hydrogen boilers will prevail, or if scaled up nuclear ambitions can be realised, pure electric heating might be the simplest way forwards.

Investment is being made into Carbon Capture and Storage; if this is achievable at scale and moderate cost then the existing way we live can remain unchanged for a long time yet until the fossil fuels run out. No-one doubts the end point, if not because of the finite amount of fossil fuels within the earth, that we will need to evolve to a new source of power. I have been putting my points about how and the time-frame.

These national issues translate entirely into how we all live in the South Thanet Constituency. It’s why I take an interest in these things.

I am seemingly at odds with the new Thanet District Council leadership about ferries and the Port of Ramsgate. I hope that after all these years, the fits and starts, promises and dreams, that indeed a ferry can be found. Of course I do. We’ve been waiting ten years since the expensive failure of TransEuropa ferries in 2013. Dover has new capacity; older, smaller ships have been taken out of service on the basis of economies of larger vessels – carrying more for little increase in fuel use, and the obvious savings in numbers of crew across fewer bigger ships rather than a larger number of smaller ones. But what do I know?

A fellow MP, a senior Minister, wants to replicate what we’ve been doing on the Ramsgate Regeneration Appliance over these past years – bringing together local groups, engaging the public, liaising with potential external investors and bringing a common sense reality check to plans.

I can hardly bring my regular article to a close without expressing my great joy that a further legal impediment to Manston’s aviation future fell away last week with the High Court’s refusal of a limited judicial review application by local campaigners.

I’ll say it again, RSP’s Manston proposals come at no cost to the national or local taxpayer, it will achieve success or otherwise on the strength of its business plan and ability to attract new customers. Levelling Up Fund grants, of which the £20m received from central government can do so much for Ramsgate and other grant funds for the rest of Thanet (now totalling £50m) are great news but to have private investment of many hundreds of millions from entrepreneurial investors is to be doubly celebrated.

A great week for Thanet and East Kent, and my thanks to RSP Strategic Partners for seeing it through when others may have folded and walked away to other jurisdictions which welcome investment more warmly. We need a revolution of our planning and judicial system else we will simply be left behind internationally with a big negative tick in the UK plc box saying ‘don’t bother, it’s just too hard to get things done’.


  1. “Investment is being made into Carbon Capture and Storage; if this is achievable at scale and moderate cost then the existing way we live can remain unchanged for a long time yet until the fossil fuels run out.”.
    With attitudes like that, we’re stuffed.
    One oil producer is spending 10 times more on exploration and exploitation than on CCS.
    Currently, CCS is way, way off being achievable at all, let alone at moderate cost.
    The Kent coalfields closed because geological problems make them too expensive to be productive.

    • That’s complete garbage Andrew. Have a visit to the mining museum at Betteshanger. Meet one of the guys with a Welsh name whose dad went there to be a Bevin Boy.
      And check out the pre-1990’s condition known as “Thanet Throat”, caused by the low quality, cheap imported Oremulsion burned at Richborough in order to emasculate the N.U.M.

  2. andrew it was nothing to do with geological conditions ,it was political ( thatcher and mcgregor – both now dead) we still import low grade coal from other countries .

    • Because it’s cheaper than digging it out of the ground, especially in Kent.
      The coal seams are too thin to warrant using machines, and so fractured because of faulting that tonnes of overburden and so on has to be excavated for every tonne of coal.

      • In the 60’s and 70’s oil was cheaper than coal, and I worked as one of a number of Central Electricity Generating Board assistant civil engineers building the largest oil fired power station in the world on the Isle of Grain! It had 6 X 660 megawatt units and never worked, after oil became too expensive! Correction, I believe one or two units may have been bought on load during power shortages, but not permanently. After the oil crisis in the late 70’s, and also because North Sea oil couldn’t be used, only Gulf oil, I moved into nuclear power stations, which ironically turned out to be another white elephant!

        One source of cheap re-usable power is Pumped Water Storage, and Britain built 3 of these, and there are over 200 world wide. It is a hydro electric system, but instead of using water from a mountain say, it re-uses water that is pumped back up a mountain, at night using cheap power that is generated, but not used! These could be built relatively cheaply, and fast, recovering power at night, and reusing it at peak times during the day. I bet you didn’t know that Andrew and others!

  3. The usual bollocks from Mackinlay. Heat pumps are already far more efficient than most other forms of heating, producing 3kW of output heat from 1kW of input energy.
    And as for RSP Manston not costing the taxpayer anything, what planet is he on. The DCO cost millions of pounds of public money, and some clown in the DfT gave RSP £8.3 million of our money for ‘delays’ to a project that had not even been authorised.
    Mackinlay it’s clear you switched from science to accounting because you are incapable of critical thought, and accountant to politician when you couldn’t add up. Good luck with your next career move when you soon lose your parliamentary seat.

    • But when the elctricity to run the heatpump costs more than 3 times that of gas, you’re onto a loser before you take into account the cost of a heat pump and that it won’t put out the same amount of heat as your gas boiler and so you need to spend even more bringing homes with a high heat demand upto a standard that makes a heat pump effective. Surely much better to insulate homes properly and run them on much reduced amounts of cheaper gas.

    • Just like Ramsgate Town Council did. Give £10,000 of tax payers money to Jenny Dawes to pay towards a judicial review in Court.

      • Jenny Daws represents thousands of Ramsgate, and Thanet residents Richard, who have donated tens of thousands of pounds to cover the costs of the Judicial Review! I was one of them and have donated thousands so far, and will continue to do so, because the American Hedge fund company that owns Manston will destroy Ramsgate, and cause vast harm to all who live in Thanet.

        • Which is totally beside the point.
          Council Tax & business rates are demanded from constituents to provide services. Which services must be laid out in the Council’s audited accounts. It is not for councillors to vote or to do other than this with those monies. To do so would constitute criminal embezzlement. Wouldn’t it?

          • If this is about the £10,000 from RTC, You need to read the constitution of Ramsgate Town council. Among other responsibilities it has to act to safeguard Ramsgate residents, their health and wellbeing. I can’t think of a better use for the money than assisting in the prevention of a noisy, dirty airport, that has already cost TDC and RTC many thousands.

            You don’t mention the £8.3million gifted to RSP by the DfT for a spurious reason. That is theft on a grand scale.

  4. Boastful: excessively proud and talking too much about oneself or one’s achievements.

    Craig-what are your thoughts on people like say MP’s being the director of an ailing airline freight & passenger company with 2 pence as per their last accounts, while campaigning vigorously for the reopening of a proposed freight & passenger airport already deemed by KCC & an independent investigation to be not viable?

    With the same false promises being made by the same man who started making them in the late 1990’s about local jobs, regeneration of the area etc that he very quickly backtracked on once things were running? No conflict of interest there? No personal financial gain to be made?

  5. Harry Webb. Yes I do. And it’s an old victorian house. They use heatpumps in Norway which is a damn site colder than here.
    Oh, I should add that my total utility bills are around £150/month in winter and as low as £45/month in summer.

    • Well I have old fashioned electric storage heaters and my water and cooking is electric too.
      One can be electric without a large a heat pump. Or the expense and space installing one necessitates.
      What’s the carbon footprint to manufacture and install one where an alternative heating system already exists?

      • I’d say if your heating works and your happy with the bills don’t bother replacing g it until it dies. Conservatives and right wing newspapers are liars when they say everyone has to buy a new car, boiler or whatever. Second hand petrol cars will be around for years, but we shouldn’t be building new ones. I don’t know what the payback time for heat pump emissions reduction is, but for electric cars it’s only a small number of years. Look to the future. Britain could be world leaders in green technology but with this government and idiots like CM we’ll be a third world country importing all our green tech from abroad.

        • I remember all those old fellas in the ’60’s wearing sandwich boards bearing the legend, “The End Is Nigh!”.
          I also remember that the world was going to end and the Second Coming due in 2000. Not to mention the Mayan Calender & 2012.
          Nobody is going to be “stuffed”.

  6. Is there any topic too difficult or obscure for the soon-to-be-gone-and-forgotten-MP? Whether electric vehicles, COVID lockdown, airfreight economics, geopolitics, tax evasion, offshore companies, and even airline ownership, he is not only literate but always right. I would love to know whether he does the research himself, or has somebody doing the research for him.

    What a Prime Minister we could have had, if only he had applied himself to it.

    He will be sorely missed by Chatham voters.

  7. The levelling up funding to support our local fishing fleet is what interests me. I hope we ae going to get space for our fishermen to process and store their catch. I hope it does not all get sold abroad. More fresh fish sold locally at an affordable price would be a tasty and healthy addition to our diet.

  8. Groan!He’s spouting again.Tell you what Craig, anytime you fancy it,I will debate the issues of the day with you in public, especially if a general election is in the offing.
    A degree in Zoology and comparative physiology and a chartered accountant too boot, who would have thought it!
    It’s a pity you don’t apply any of it.
    The thing is Craig, I studied part-time and paid for it,no state help for me.
    OK, coal, Checksfield.Well,the Kent coalfield was never a winner because of the thin seams and water.No firedamp,but water.It killed several mines not least Hamill,Lydden and Coldred.
    If you were going to dig for oil and coal, Surrey is the place.Why do I know this because the area geologist for Kent is my brother in law?
    So Craig, persuade your colleagues in Surrey to promote coal and oil extraction.Good luck with that one.
    Next energy efficiency.Start with insulation.If your house is poorly insulated it won’t matter what heating system is used. Next replace the radiators with bigger ones over a period of time,then fit the air sourced or ground sourced heat pump.
    We thought ahead and fitted PV cells and our energy rating is B and our bills in the summer are negative.In the winter,they are also low.
    So all that green crap works and saves us money.By all means,donate all your hard earned to the energy companies be my guest.
    Craig talks bunkum, because too many want to be persuaded that doing nothing and reminiscing about the old days will make things right,but they won’t.As it is I would save money from your energy costs because you will need it when you all invest in Manston airport.
    Craig is a climate change denier,pure and simple.Carbon capture is only a trial project and for my money,on shore wind,solar and tidal power are much better options but I suppose,if you are willing to invest in a redundant airport.
    He is like is govt, a zombie a do nothing,know nothing,berk.His grasp of economics is poor as is his grasp of reality.

  9. Honestly he is at the point where it’s not worth debunking his nonsense. If you actually believe anything he has said – especially after all the lies – more fool you.

    He is like the Pied Piper for morons.

    The nonsense on show he is flabbergasting and all is demonstrably not true.

  10. Liars, all the MPs, Cllrs, dealing with Manston and other mismanaged corrupt situations, liars each and every one of them. What we have to do now is ensure they are never voted in again and this tory government never get elected for over 20 years. They have lied, and filled there own pockets while decimating this country to the point its on its knees. These people should be imprisoned for crimes against the nation.

  11. Berk is a technical term for someone who lives in a fantasy world,where facts,truth and good sense go out of the window.
    It must be embarrassing for you pink Checksfield to have to defend such a limited,deluded character and a Govt in limbo,which has broken Britain.
    All you can do is snipe from the wings, because you have no answers.

  12. The reason I am hard on old Craig,is because I have seen him in action.I have no idea why he is a climate change denier,bearing in mind he has some kind of scientific qualification, it makes no sense,the evidence is presented to us almost daily,yet here he is touting the magic bullet of carbon capture,which even if it can be scaled up at reasonable cost,only mitigates,not solves climate change.
    His faction in the Tory party is at war with the rest of the party,not just us pinko lefty liberals (i.e a large part of the country at large)and it’s killing the party.There are some kind, forward thinking individuals in the Tory party,but they are being drowned out by the extremists like Craig.
    Let’s take stock:
    A few months ago they insist on opening a new coal mine, ostensibly because the steel industry needed cheaper coking coal.As it turned out the industry didn’t and last week they funded Tata Steel to convert Port Talbot to electric arc furnaces.
    HS2 has been cut down and now one half may be binned,even though it has been Tory policy for years.
    Various green policies binned or put back,leaving the UK’S leadership and opportunities in new green industrials in tatters.Again the car industry in particular is saying meh!and continues to move to an all EV production by 2030,because Govt is still insisting on sales quotas for EVs.
    The Govt says it is cutting or putting back green policies to ‘help the less well off’,yet the poorest rent their housing and minimum levels of insulation are being binned.
    House building quotas are on and off,yet social houses are still being sold off on the right to buy,and there is an epidemic of empty housing,as some owners appear to believe that sitting on an empty commercial or residential property is good business.
    NHS waiting lists are stratospheric,adult social care in crisis,potholes,no buses,railways suffering appalling labour relations,potholes, councils going bust right left and centre.The most incompetent poorly thought-out mini budget in modern history,a constant lack of candour at the heart of government,need I go on!
    What there is in government at the moment is the result of expediency over long term planning and perseverance.
    No one endeavours to persevere anymore.
    The whole Manston malarkey is again wishful thinking over reality,but the die is cast and I hope Craig and the Manstonian fringe will be investing in it,just to prove us sceptics wrong,and may they have the best of British with that.
    So you see Ms Pink Checksfield,I am not criticising for criticism’s sake, I do so from the conviction that things are very wrong in Britain today.Starmer’s Labour party maynot be up to much,but they will have to go some to be worse than what we have experienced in the last 3 years.I think a fair number of the electorate are thinking on similar lines.
    By the way,how many times is Craig going to spend that £20m levelling up grant? From what I can see,it will be but a precursor of what will be needed to set Thanet on the right lines.

    • You forgot to mention Brexit George! Our chocolate teapot MP for South Thanet is an ardent Brexiteer, despite our leaving the EU has been a massive disaster, my guess is our Craig couldn’t name one benefit leaving the EU has been for the country. Oh, yes I remember seeing him on TV saying that VAT is now no longer payable of ladies sanitary products! Leaving the EU has been the biggest draw factor for migrants and Asylum Seekers too, now we are not in the EU, because when we were a member they could have been sent back to the first safe EU country they arrived at, Duuurh!

  13. What are his thoughts about the heat pump roll out and the awful smart meters that have been a total waste of time and money????

    • No mystery about what he thinks about heat pumps,he thinks they are green crap and costly for ‘hard up families ‘,you know,the same families he is happy to be housed in poorly insulated dwellings.
      I have never got to the bottom of the smart meter issue.In part,I think it was driven by a faction in Govt, that were sold on smart meters being a cheap way of reducing electricity by the same type of technologists who promote new IT systems and algorithms for all purposes,but lately I think it is being driven by energy companies trying to cut costs. Either way it has been an expensive, pointless exercise,carried out incompetently and at great cost and inconvenience to the public.

    • We had a Smart Merer fitted, and it’s been a boon.
      No longer do we have to crawl into the under stairs cupboard, with a torch, to get the electricity reading. No longer do we have to grub about in the garden, in the rain, trying to decipher the gas meter readings. It all happens automatically.
      And the bonus is that all the time, we can see how much energy we’re using, and how much it’s costing.
      What’s not to like?
      I think domestic heat pumps are a sticking plaster. Much better would be local ground sourced schemes heating a whole street.

  14. Dear Craig

    Who has the government given the greenlight to manston ? You yourself have an aircraft company and thstsxsay Mr Fraunman has a colourful passed. The independent report says theres no need for manston.

    So why has the government support you ( director of an aircraft company ) and Mr Fraunman a stuck off solicitor ?

    • The Planning Act 2008 (the mechanism for the DCO) isn’t really fit for purpose. It’s original intention was to facilitate the construction of nationally important infrastructure projects. The sort of things whereby Highways England wanted to build a new relief road, or Railtrack construct a new junction. The question of “need” never arose: obviously neither HE nor Railtrack nor their cousins would arbitrarily seek planning permission for some vanity project.
      B7t somehow the Act was increased in scope to allow private enterprise to get involved. And we have two local situations: one a madcap scheme to build a huge theme park on the SSSI Hoo peninsula, the other, Manston.

  15. I see the government has nailed its colours to the mast.
    Today it has announced: 1) the granting of licences to two (foreign) companies to drill the biggest remaining reserves in the North Sea; 2) the rowing back of environmental constraints on housebuilding.

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