Friday, 9 March 2012

Business don't like uncertainty

From Cllr Clive Hart - Labour Leader of Thanet District Council.
There are suggestions being made by our political opponents that the Thanet Labour policy to protect our local environment has in some way caused the proposed sale of Manston Airport. 
Well, to quote Thanet Tory Cllr Simon Moores - "businesses don't like uncertainty". I agree, and Infratil's decision is more likely to be down to the effect of procrastination, indecision and navel gazing by the previous Conservative administration in relation to the airport, where he was part of a dithering Tory Cabinet. The Conservative's finally accepted the revised night-flying proposals from Manston Airport in October 2011 and despite suggesting at a public meeting that the consultation could start before the end of that year, when we took control of the council, we discovered it was not planned to start for months to come, and after that, take several more months to complete at a cost of tens of thousands of pounds of public money.
Indeed, had I not taken swift action to initiate a more focused consultation earlier this year, we would almost certainly now be at the start of a long, drawn out and costly Tory planned consultation process as this latest news hits us. And where would we have been then?
Fortunately, our more focused consultation process had just ended before this latest news from New Zealand, so all the consultation responses have been received and can now be processed accordingly.
Thanet Labour's concern for our local environment is something I am very proud of and an issue the public is increasingly in tune with. I do not believe it had any impact on Infratil's decision. They have chosen to sell off the airport, to use their own terminology, as a 'no regrets' decision, and they list Manston as an underperforming asset alongside another they intend to offload.
This weeks news for Manston is not good, but thankfully the council at least is on target to complete our local consultation process.