Having waited a long time for a proper response to my enquiries from my MP Louise Ellman, it is now time to publish the information that the government issues to UK residents about airplane trails. As there is quite a lot to information to share on this matter, I will communicate the details in three parts. This is the first part and just deals with the letter that I received from the Department for Transport. Attached to the letter was a Q&A, which I will deal with in parts two and three.
In response to my original enquiry, my MP forwarded my concerns to the Minister of State for the Department for Transport (DfT), Mr Robert Goodwill. On the face of it, this seems like a reasonable thing to do. However, the DfT only has oversight of general and commercial aircraft. It is a public body that has no power to monitor all types of aviation in the UK. Military aircraft fall under the control of the Ministry of Defence. This is important because my original enquiry specifically described aircraft movements that could not have been made by commercial aircraft flying from normal airports.
I believe that the reason why my enquiry was forwarded to the DfT, is because this particular government department has been tasked with managing public concern about aircraft trails. It does this by acting as a conduit for enquiries by the public and then nullifying them by deliberately deceiving people through a policy of misinformation and propaganda. Even though the DfT does not have full oversight of UK airspace, it does not stop it from making broad sweeping statements about its area of control, whilst implying that such statements apply equally to areas outside of its remit. It is a brilliant sleight of hand that has ‘built in deniability’ because of the fragmentation of control of UK airspace. Such fragmentation has not happened by accident. It is by such a design that enquiries by the public are easily dismissed, whilst those in power neatly avoid accountability.
In his letter to me, Robert Goodwill started by saying:
“I am replying as Minister responsible for aviation.”
Not only was this the first thing that the Minister said, it was his first attempt to mislead. Aviation is a very broad term. The DfT is not responsible for ‘aviation’ in its broadest sense. It is in charge of civil aviation. I made this clear in my subsequent response to both my MP and him, where I said:
“The role of Minister responsible for aviation sits within the Department for Transport and as far as I can tell, its focus is on civil aviation. My original email specifically referred to non-commercial aircraft, flying at low altitudes, from military/private airfields and therefore your response should have included details of consultations with the MoD and DEFRA. After all, if private flights are conducting activities that threaten the health of UK citizens, you’d think that these two ministries at the very least would want to know about it.
Why did you direct my query to the Department for Transport, when it is clearly not a civil aviation issue”?
The second paragraph in the Minister’s letter to me was even more deceitful. He said:
“Let me reassure [you] that the Government has no credible evidence whatsoever of the release of any matter or aerosol being ejected from aircraft in the UK, other than the normal exhaust products from aircraft”.
Having already established that the Minister is only responsible for civil aviation, Robert Goodwill now makes a statement on behalf of the Government (not his department), where he offers reassurance about something that is not entirely within his control. Such reassurance is subjective and implies that he has been unable to unearth ‘credible’ evidence, even though he does not point to any efforts to even conduct an investigation. Furthermore, what is considered ‘credible’ will vary from one person to another. As such, my response to my MP and Mr Goodwill was:
“The Minister responsible for civil aviation is now speaking for all Government departments. Surely, he is not in a position to do so and to make assertions about ‘evidence’ when his personal remit is so narrow. However, he is not just making a claim outside of his area of expertise; he is making a judgement about its quality. He says that there is no ‘credible’ evidence. This is a subjective judgement as opinions about what is credible will vary. But by making such a comment, he reveals that there is evidence. It is just that the Government (for whom he speaks) does not consider it to be significant.
Can you please provide me with details of the evidence that he is referring to?”
The third paragraph in Robert Goodwill’s letter provides an explanation of what causes contrails, even though this was never part of my original enquiry. In this way, the DfT creates a false association between suspicious aircraft trails and normal contrails. It is another example of government misinformation.
The fourth and final paragraph deals with the fact that concerns over aircraft trails are widespread, even though they go unreported by the mainstream media. My Goodwill says:
“The Department has received a number of letters on this issue. As a result, we have put together a Q&A which aims to answer some of the most common questions we receive. A copy is attached”.
The details of the Q&A will be dealt with in the next two parts on this particular subject. However, I did make the following comment to my MP and Mr Goodwill:
“Why do you suppose that this is the case? Are all of the people that makes these observations mistaken, or could there be something more to it?
If so many observations have been reported that it has been necessary to compile a set of FAQs, then why is this matter being handled by a minor department within the Ministry [for] Transport?”