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Thanet Ground Water Quality
You would have received the documents that where sent regarding the area of the runway and the chemicals/compounds found in the underground aquifer
This application whilst welcome - does not address some of the issues/concerns.
What is not helpful is that this planning application is the wrong way round in that no discharge consent is in place to direct other matters of the application in more detail. For clarity when the discharge application is live then I believe a four month public consultation applies? You could say that we have a cart before the horse arrangement with this application.
The Thanet population is paying to have compounds and chemicals scrubbed out via their water rates and the application partly lies within a major aquifer. Currently an expensive reverse Osmosis systems/hyper filtration is in place to scrub out these pollutants. These pollutants have entered via the airport area it is alleged yet no one can identify where from and why?
Thanet's potable (drinkable) water is blend of water from Plucks gutter (river Stour). Lord of the Manor Source Protection Zone (SPZ) 1 and from the Wingham Well. It's all then held at the Southern Water works near the Airport. The Source Protection Zone (SPZ) 2 lies within KIA. The fact is that dilution of potable water is becoming less and less available and more expensive
The EA and Natural England have not instigated any long term studies and effective monitoring in the Pegwell Bay area (benthic studies).
Both of these organisations are relatively new. The National Rivers Authority (NRA) being born out of Southern Water (when privatised) and now we have the EA. The latter one being formally called English Nature.
Only one Pegwell Bay study comes to mind - and that was the Planestation study which does not take into account any background information/knowledge. The EA sampling points are great distances away from the discharge pipe so do not help.
The EA states (in a letter to KIA dated 6th July 2006) that the BFI no1 (at KIA) to pose an unacceptable risk to groundwater and clearly has for some time. Couple this risk to the SPZ 1 and 2 we should be asking what risk assessments have taken place in the event of a major pollution incident - and what assessment has taken place regarding our water bills if god forbid something does happen? Will we have to have potable water brought in and who is going to foot the bill? Up to 100,000 litres of fuel could end up in the SPZ's (in the worst case) if this application and the discharge consent does not get into the finer details?
One only has to look at the environmental clean up bill for the recent Canada (Halifax) 747 crash -again will it be the airport alone to bear the costs or will the water rates for Thanet have to go up due to the expense of bringing more water from outside the area.
The EA have yet to deal with the full discharge application from the airport owners and state “that no guarantee can be given regarding the eventual outcome of an application” so in effect we do not even know how large the holding tanks are to contain the worst case scenario? On the subject of the character of the area - this is a moot point given that no discharge consent has yet been obtained and the area that has to be excavated may well increase in size which effectively means what mitigation can take place to keep the height at 1.5m? Whilst its welcoming to see some of these issues being put in the report other issues pertaining to this application have not - due to delays getting information back from public bodies.
Further to the above all parties have yet to deal with how they are going to manage a large aviation fuel spillage in the grass area that is the main part of the SPZ2. Certainly nothing on this subject ahs been put in the public domain or to KIACC.
The report does not yet indicate what is happening about KCC highways who have tapped into this pipe and who do not have to apply for discharge consent? Yet the EA and NE have not dealt with this issue within their written submissions as statutory consultees? The potential for pollution into Pegwell Bay is not reduced at all?
Conditions on this application must be applied and not just left to the EA who has been somewhat tardy in sorting this sad state of affairs out.
It would be prudent to ensure that a firm date is set for the Master plan and the finer details of the EIA as part of any planning consent approval.
As a matter of course Kent Highways should be making an application to discharge into Pegwell Bay and should be part of any conditions applying to this application surely?
That the committee bring this back for a decision when fuller details are known about some of the issues that have been raised especially when myself and the officer dealing with this application are still awaiting some details?
That the BFI no1 is dealt with at the same time as this application.
Duty of care overrides planning in this instance…after all it's taken over 8 years to sort this sad sorry state of affairs out - which is not wholly the fault of the current owners?
Thank you for your time