Forum Comments

Media interest in Chocks Go Away campaign continues to grow.
In Say no to Mongeham airfield!
Dennis Murphy
Jul 11, 2021
Thank you for your calm and thoughtful response. “We currently have no airports in the proposed field, regular or otherwise, so the comparison cannot be made. What we do have are a variety of birds and wildlife; all of which are considerably quieter than an aircraft and produce no pollution.” The owner of the field is encouraged by government to diversify the use of land away from intensive agriculture. They have proposed a change which has seen successful examples elsewhere. Many communities happily live beside and benefit from assets similar to that being proposed. The noise and pollution generated by the type of aviation traffic which can be expected at such an airfield is no greater than that which is generated by normal rural road traffic. If this is unacceptable, then we should also be seeking to ban all motor vehicles everywhere. That may be your thinking, but it doesn't yet hold much sway in the mainstream life of this country "Electric aviation is in its infancy. This proposal is for 20 conventional light aircraft with piston engines. There are just 3 electric fixed wing light aircraft registered in the UK compared with thousands with combustion engines." The proposal does not claim to be exclusively for electric powered aircraft. You are correct to say electric aviation is in its infancy and the current number of electric fixed wing aircraft is right too. Those three aircraft are the Pipistrel Alpha Electro models located at Damyns Hall Airfield in Essex. They are currently only used for training. What is important to their future uptake is their range and the ability to recharge them. They have a range of 90-100 nautical miles and at the moment there is only one airfield with the infrastructure to charge them (Damyns Hall). This means that the furthest they can venture from their home airfield and still get back is 45 nautical miles. Damyns Hall is exactly 45 Nautical miles from Little Mongeham. The ability to recharge at the proposed airfield would enable electric aircraft to cross the channel and reach Le Touquet (43 Nautical miles from Little Mongeham). There they are within range to return, even if there is problem with the charging facility in France. The owner of the proposed airfield at Little Mongeham has included the charging capability in their plans. They are clearly forward thinking and their success should encourage decision makers at other airfields to invest in such infrastructure. “We, and a significant number of organisations who have formally objected and submitted detailed reports on the matter, disagree. The noise will be harmful to wildlife. The grass runway will be mown and of little green value. The CAA routinely provides detailed guidance to airfields to help them discourage and minimise features attractive to birds and other wildlife which might interfere with or cause danger to aircraft users. The noise will impact the wildlife-rich woodland, scrub, grassland and hedgerows at Manor Farm on the southwest end of the runway. To the northeast is a large area of meadows, scrub, copse, hedgerows and paddocks providing a locally important relief habitat for wildlife, spared the impacts of intensive farming; this enclave will be directly impacted with landing and take-offs.” The objections are not "reports" they are accounts of the perceptions and opinions of those who submitted them. If they were reports; they would have details of evidence both for and against the proposal, in terms of its effect upon wildlife. That would require visiting locations with similar facilities to that proposed and measuring the adverse effects seen. Unfortunately for the objectors, visits to any such locations will not provide what they are looking for. Such sites are a haven for wildlife from the negative effects of intensive farming. "The CAA provides detailed guidance "to help them discourage and minimise features attractive to birds and other wildlife which might interfere with or cause danger to aircraft users." That guidance is provided to licensed airports: Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Cambridge....) These are locations where jet aircraft will be undertaking movements. Wildlife presents a serious hazard to jet engines (see the film Sulley). Relatively slow-moving aircraft, such as those that will use the proposed airfield, do not suffer from this danger. The type of expense and effort needed is utterly unnecessary at rural airstrips. Recreational aviators love to fly, but part of that is getting to remote peaceful wildlife rich environments. My own home airfield is just such a wildlife haven and there are many others. We have a woods behind and unmanaged tracts between the mown runways and taxiways. We have every sort of wildlife, including two pairs of kites, which have made it their home. We have never had a bird strike, despite the fact that we have many more movements than what is proposed. Most birds have avian predators and have become very adept at avoiding anything bigger than themselves. It really is incredible that you should try to use both sides of an argument to make the same point. On the one hand you say that the noise will affect the wildlife rich environment which you describe in such attractive terms and on the other hand you argue that the airfield will have to take special CAA mandated measures to discourage wildlife (because the noise of jets engines would not be enough!). ‘Local businesses will benefit from visitors to the airfield.’ “We have repeatedly asked the applicants to substantiate this claim but are yet to receive an answer. The developer states that the glamping pods are “principally for use by the aircraft owners” who already live locally. No jobs will arise other than perhaps some part time cleaning. The economic case is remarkably weak considering the scale of the harms. Occasional overnight stays by visiting pilots will make no meaningful local contribution when considered against the booming sustainable tourism the area offers.” This really is silly and I expect the applicants do not feel the need to respond because of that. They are planning ten glamping pods! who in their right mind thinks that is for locals? Of course, it is for visiting aviators and anyone else attracted by that "booming sustainable tourism the area offers". Aviators will arrive by aircraft and will need taxi services to get to Deal. Most light aircraft have limited luggage capacity and glamping pods have little or no cooking facilities, so restaurants and food outlets will get footfall from the site, both locally and in Deal. ‘So, what exactly is the apocalyptic effect that the airfield will supposedly have on your little village?’ “We recommend that you visit the DDC Application website and review the 970+ informed and heartfelt comments submitted by local objectors, all of whom care deeply about safeguarding the long-term future of their environment, and little villages.” Unfortunately, it is clear from their posts that a number of your campaigners have been using scare tactics to generate objections. This means they are not heartfelt, but result from the prejudices and deceit of a few. This is shame, because they undermine your arguments and it is possible there is a real reason why the proposal is unsuited to the location. Sadly, it could be lost amongst the rabid noise they produce. To claim your washing will smell of fuel and that most people who support the proposal are not even based in this country just goes to demonstrate how these objections were generated. It implies that it is Johnny Foreigner and the wicked bureaucrats in Brussels who are trying to ruin this beautiful corner of England. These arguments are unconvincing, easily countered and detract from serious debate.
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Permissive footpath.
In Say no to Mongeham airfield!
Permissive footpath.
In Say no to Mongeham airfield!
Dennis Murphy
Jun 09, 2021
Please accept my apologies, I had no intention of inflaming your anger issues. I had thought this was a forum. Ordinarily that would be a place or mechanism where diverse views are exchanged respectfully and open minds gain insight into the perspective of others. That is different to a platform which simply acts as an echo chamber for a single point of view and I mistook this for the former. Before I leave, please be assured that I am aware that I am not welcome in your private space and will certainly not be going there. If you see a passing airplane and choose to wave at it, please feel free to do so. If it is near the ground in a high workload phase of flight (taking off and landing) please don’t expect us to wave back. Unless of course you are standing in the middle of the runway. That is where our focus will be, we are trained. As for your privacy, apart from being too busy to try to see into your property, we are directed to avoid overflying local habitation at low level and always endeavour to do so. As I mentioned in my post; each airfield has an information card that visiting pilots must read before landing there. It includes vital technical information needed to conduct a safe flight and always gives full details of any places we must avoid. That is done for reasons of noise abatement and privacy. Before visiting we must obtain permission to land from the airfield owner. Their primary concerns are invariably being a good neighbour and enabling safe flight. They never fail to reinforce the need to avoid overflying nearby habitation. The paths that aircraft must follow for take off, approach and landing are always carefully calculated to minimize the impact on neighbouring properties and visiting pilots are always briefed. I assume from your concern about being choked by fumes that you do not own or ever travel in a motor vehicle. My aircraft, which is typical of the type suitable for landing at the proposed airfield, uses about the same amount of unleaded petrol as the farmer’s Land Rover. If you get less than ten car movements per day in the region, then I suppose you have a point. As for it being a self centred hobby, you can have that and I will certainly go flying in as many elsewheres as I possibly can.
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