Legal challenge to Manston airport plan rejected

Manston airport site Image RSP

An appeal against the rejection of a bid to undergo a judicial review to challenge the decision approving the reopening and redevelopment of the Manston airport site has been dismissed.

A judgment today (May 21) by Lord Justice Peter Jackson, Lord Justice Lewis and Lord Justice Warby follows a hearing at the Court of Appeal in April.

A bid for a judicial review of the decision to greenlight the Manston airport project was rejected last September, but claimant, Ramsgate resident Jenny Dawes, subsequently appealed that judgment.

Today’s judgment means that the DCO remains awarded, as announced by the Department for Transport in August 2022, and RSP says work can now begin to recruit staff for both the construction phase and operational roles once the airport is ready to operate to reopen.

Ms Dawes and her supporters wanted the airport project approval quashed, partly because of the lack of need for airport services in Manston.

Airport owners RiverOak Strategic Partners want to create aviation at the site with a freight hub and associated activities. Construction is expected to be phased over fifteen years and will include 19 freight and four passenger aircraft stands, warehouses and fuel storage.

Tony Freudmann of RSP

Tony Freudmann, director of airport owners RSP, said: “We have always been confident in our proposals and have remained steadfast in our belief that we can create something very special at Manston, providing both important capacity for UK air freight – and a sustainable economic boost for East Kent.

“Although the last seven years have been intensely frustrating at times, the fact that we have gone all the way to the Court of Appeal means that no stone has been left unturned in the consideration of our proposals.

“We can now deliver on our plans knowing that we have demonstrated beyond doubt that Manston has a vital role to play in tackling the airspace capacity challenges plaguing London and the South East – and that this historic and strategically important airport can rebuild itself can invent. to meet the country’s needs in the global market.”

RSP says detailed planning, construction, recruitment and completion of the airspace change project will now take three years – with the airport ready for use in 2027.

‘Guaranteed fairness’

Jenny Dawes, the appellant, said: “We always knew it would be difficult. We may not have succeeded in overturning Manston Airport’s second DCO, but more importantly this decision has clarified the rules and ensured a degree of fairness for future campaigners with the Minister relying on new evidence that was not consulted when re-establishing a DCO. application.

“Nothing in the Court of Appeal’s decision addresses whether the Secretary of State was correct in concluding that evidence based on interviews, the transcripts of which have not been made public, was sufficient to justify his decision.

“And nothing in the decision confirms that Manston Airport is viable. The economic situation for Manston Airport has not improved, nor have climate change concerns been resolved.

“I remain firmly convinced that the Government’s decision to go ahead with Manston Airport, despite all expert evidence to the contrary and the worsening climate change crisis, makes no sense.”

Legal challenge

In October last year, Ms Dawes’ appeal application was refused, but she subsequently applied for leave to appeal to the Court of Appeal.

In February this year, Ms Dawes was granted leave to appeal against the rejection of her application for judicial review.

The application for a Development Consent Order was submitted by RSP in April 2018, withdrawn and then resubmitted in July 2018. At the time, Stone Hill Park planned to develop housing and recreation for the site.

The Planning Inspectorate investigation for the DCO began in January 2019 and continued until July 2019. In July, RSP purchased 742 acres of the 770-acre Stone Hill Park site for £16.5 million. Stone Hill Park has withdrawn its masterplan application for the site.

The Planning Inspectorate Examining Authority panel recommended against granting development permission.

The Secretary of State disagreed and the DCO for the airport scheme was initially granted in July 2020 when the Department for Transport approved the application to create an air freight hub at the site.

It was quashed by the High Court in February 2021 after a legal challenge from Ms Dawes and supporters, which led to the minister admitting the Secretary of State’s approval letter did not contain sufficient detail.

Following the destruction, the Secretary of State issued a Statement of Matters in June 2021 inviting further comments from stakeholders and announcing that he had commissioned an independent aviation assessor, Ove Arup, to advise him on matters relating to the necessity of the development and to prepare a report summarizing these findings.

The DCO was awarded for a second time in August 2022 by then Transport Minister Karl McCartney, who disagreed with the findings of the examination authority’s report and the conclusions of the independent aviation assessor.

Ms Dawes then filed a second application for judicial review. Since the first application for judicial review, around £200,000 has been raised to fund the campaign through around 2,000 donations.

The judicial review application was initially dismissed by Mr Justice Lane in January 2023, but subsequently granted on partial grounds at a review by Mrs Justice Lieven in March.

At a hearing before the Honorable Judge Ian Dove in July 2023, the focus of the trial was on two areas: whether the need for the airport had been properly assessed and whether sufficient consideration had been given to the impact the scheme could have on the asset of the government to meet its obligations. future carbon reduction targets.

Mr Justice Dove handed down a judgment in October dismissing the application.

Mrs Dawes then applied for permission to appeal the verdict but this was also rejected.

The application for leave to appeal to the Court of Appeal was subsequently made and was granted on the grounds of necessity.

The Court of Appeal has now rejected the request for appeal.

The airport closed ten years ago this month in May 2014, with the loss of 144 jobs.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *