Manston airport DCO decision by government delayed until May

The Manston airport site Photo Swift Aerial Photography

A decision by the Secretary of State over the development consent order to create a cargo hub at the Manston airport site has been pushed back by four months.

The decision had been due on January 18 but a written statement to Parliament made by Nusrat Ghani, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport, today (January 16) said the latest delay means the outcome is now due to be announced on May 18.

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Her statement said: “The Secretary of State received the Examining Authority’s report on the Manston Airport Development Consent Order application on October 18, 2019 and the current deadline for a decision is January 18, 2020.

“The deadline for the decision is to be extended to May 18 (an extension of 4 months) to enable further information on a range of issues to be provided by the applicant and other interested parties before determination by the Secretary of State.

“The decision to set a new deadline is without prejudice to the decision on whether to give development consent.”

Photo Swift Aerial Photography

The Planning Inspectorate examining panel, led by Kelvin McDonald, examined the bid last year, made by Riveroak Strategic Partners (RSP) to  acquire the site and create a cargo hub and associated aviation business.

The land was owned by Stone Hill Park, which had submitted a planning application to create up to 3,700 homes, business and leisure and associated infrastructure. SHP sold the site to RSP subsidiary RiverOak MSE Ltd for £16.5 million in July, just before the hearings concluded.

DCO approval is still needed for the cargo hub project, an issue which has split the isle. Supporters of the plan say it will bring jobs and economic benefits but campaigners against the proposals say it will result in pollution, noise and a loss of tourist trade – particularly in Ramsgate which is under the flight path.

During the hearings representations were made by a wide variety of organisations, including Thanet council and Historic England, campaign groups including Save Manston Airport association, Supporters of Manston Airport, No Night Flights and Nethercourt Action Group, numerous individuals and both Manston museums.

The decision letter and Recommendation Report will be published on the Planning Inspectorate Manston project page once a decision has been made.

A statement from RSP says: “While frustrating, the delay is not unexpected – the last five decisions on DCO applications have all been delayed and none have yet been made. Undoubtedly, the recent General Election, ongoing Brexit process and significant infrastructure workload for which the government is responsible have also played a part.

“RSP has not received any additional questions from the minister, as part of the deliberation process, to date – but stand ready to respond, should there be any requests for additional information needed to reach a final decision. The delay does not affect the current CAA airspace change consultation process, which is entirely separate from the DCO.”

Of the most recent DCO projects awaiting decision, seven – including Manston – have been delayed, with five due to more information being requested and two due to the general election.


  1. It is very surprising that no comments are made about the financial instability of the project for an airport at Manston and the unsatisfactory record in the past of the leader of River Oak – despite the fact that these were pointed out to the planning inspectorate!

    • Bizarrely the Planning Inspectorate do not have to consider the likliehood of the operational success of the project they are considering. That is a good job for RSP as by any rational appraisal of their business case and them actually making the numbers they claim would have meant it was thrown out on day one.

  2. Disgraceful. Another four months in limbo, certainly preventing any other inward investment in Ramsgate for the ever improving tourism sector unlike the pipe dream of a cargo airport at Manston run by a struck off solicitor (for embezzling client funds) whose business track record in the airport sector is littered with financial failures but who appears to have ear of our local MP’s Craig Mackinlay and Sir Roger Gale.

  3. Is the real truth is that the government still want to have the option of using Manston as a lorry park since they fear that the ferry crossings will snarl up because of the ongoing strikes in France against Macron’s plans and the general uncertainty as to how Britain will cope from 1 February?
    The Secretary has a duty to tell us

  4. This unilateral decision to delay is disgraceful and one that was not afforded to the thousands of individual respondents who spent many hours, days, weeks, months digesting the vast volumes of information and preparing their responses. The delay of four months, for longer than the three month review period means that one can only assume that the recommendation was a flat ‘No’ from the Planning Inspector design.

    Is this ‘decision’ designed to allow more time for Grant Shapps and his local supporting MPs to achieve the decision that they want above the heads of local people, the very people that will be impacted if these plans ever saw the light of day . If we saw such behaviour in Soviet Russia one would not be surprised.

    As a resident of South Thanet, one who voted for Brexit and who reluctantly supported Craig Mackinlay in the 2019 General Election I for one am ‘surprised’ that Mr MacKinlay would not be literally incandescent with rage and planning to challenge this ongoing delay given the ongoing impact on his constituents and his desire that the outcome of the 2016 Referendum be respected. As Mr MacKinlay would say ‘shall we keep going on until the Remainers get the outcome they want!

    Let’s respect the recommendation of the Planning Inspector at this time and let’s apply the deadlines, process and recommendation that we were clearly told would be made after the 3 month review period had expired…… it is clearly a ‘No’ and allow the residents of South Thanet to get on with their lives without this ongoing charade literally hanging over their heads.

  5. They are blatantly pandering to RSP who have together with our two MPs stood in the way of progress for four years, if it ever gets approval then residents must unite as one too stop this freight terminal before it blights the lives of the population, threatens our health, devalues our homes, destroys the tourist trade, interups school lessons, and drives people away.

    • It wont go thought, you cant run a busy airport by bringing in fuel by tankers it would cost a fortune. Manston isnt on the fuel grid. The roads to and from thanet are only duel lane you cant run a busy airport with such poor road connections. No haulage company is going to operate from the bottom right hand corner of the uk it would be to expansive
      Manston airport has never been a successful stand alone airport and never will be. Is the runway even up to modern standards ? I would have thought the houses near the end of ths run are to close for modern airports !

      • some facts about Manston Airfield 1) 10th longest runway (9,000 ft) and at 230m the widest in Europe (average width 50 m) also the concrete foundations are ‘double depth’ reinforced concrete built as a World War11 bomber airfield and specifically to accommodate three abreast Lancaster take offs. All this makes it unusually suitable for heavy cargo planes requiring with minimal updating

    • Because Freudman is really a fraudman and gale knows this but he will call us heinous so much so that he cares a toss
      and I just think of the money wasted on river oak a firm that is real estate
      money wasted on planestation and wiggins sold it to Infratil for the same amount of money and they were operating it offshore
      gloag is a multi millionare so why did they not invest
      the airport was losing money
      because it was being registered offshore leaks

      wake up smell the rats

  6. Further information? about what?
    The MOD has already said the radar installation could not be moved.
    So why not bin the whole mess before it disrupts air traffic control for the UK

  7. What on Earth can justify a further delay of 4 months? Is the SoS totally incompetent? The ExA and PI gave their recommendation 3 months ago. What more is to be said?
    It’s a travesty.

  8. Perusal of all DCOs reveals that every one up for decision is being delayed, another one being the Thanet Extension Offshore Wind Farm. I’d suggest that the goverment is making sure that everything is correct. This is the first DCO relating to an airport, so it has to be spot on. The good news is that 73 out of 78 applications have been granted – 94%.

  9. It’s quite obvious that the recommendation must have been an emphatic “No.” No doubt RSP will be given one last chance to come clean about who’s been funding this debacle.

    • they are a real estate company and I have smelt rats with them right from the sale from USA to fraudman
      and there is other shit on him that no one knows but should force the fecker off our land
      he destroyed it once and will do again we do not want you here gale and bossom buddy retire in space oops no night flights

  10. Oh dear it looks like the government are doing what they accused Corbyn of dither and delay. Have you run out of puff already Boris???

  11. RSP had six months to put their case over so why do they need four more if their case for a DCO was so overwhelming. Could it be that the aviation loving Shapps has been recommended refusal ??

  12. Perhaps if they changed the name to “Flybe Manston” , they would get approval, and loads of extra cash, in minutes!!

  13. If RSP hasn’t been asked for more information then who has?

    This is Grant Shapps, Roger Gale and Craig MacKinley clearly trying to override a no from PINS but they’ll struggle and why? Because it should never have been accepted in the first place.

    Thanet has suffered this personal and political pet project for too long.

    Craig can move the airline he forgot he owned down to Exeter and give FlyBe a hand.

    Say no Grant. The application is absurd, there is no need and no evidence of viability.

    What we have is sentiment, and anti housing campaigning.

  14. DCO examinations are – by design and by law – supposed to stick to a strict 6 review timetable and be totally transparent. Giving RSP an extra 4 months and allowing RSP to provide more info behind closed doors totally undermines that.

    In any case, this DCO produced an unprecedented 5 rounds of questions from the Planning Inspectorate Examining Authority, (most DCOs only have one or two – there have never been more than 3 rounds before), resulting in a whopping 682 PAGES of questions for RSP to answer. To put that into perspective, the UK average for all other DCOs is just 63 pages of questions.

    The fact that RSP failed to provide coherent and/or consistent answers to those questions over a six month period should result – as anyone who attended the hearings or followed the documentation will tell you – should result in the DCO being refused. NOT in RSP being given another 4 months to provide some answers. It’s like failing to complete an exam paper and being given another 4 months to look up the right answers.

    This is an outrage. Write to your MPs (not that they will listen. But do it anyway). Write to your councillors. Write to Grant Shapps and the Department for Transport. Enough is enough and it is time to move on.

    • write to who the bossom buddy pal of gale force winds
      he was involved with him before and he knows that RSP are real estate
      tories are hell bent on using criminals and working with them
      fraudman tried before to change the airport to houses
      do not underestimate him or gale

    • What hypocrisy! You sent in a load of letters after the PINS proposal had been remitted to the SoS, never mind the deadline for PINS. I’m writing to the DfT to complain about the acceptance of your letters. Who do you represent? You’re part of the delay. How long have you been in Thanet? Do you live here?

  15. This extension is a corruption of the examination process. Who will be asking the questions and to whom will the answers be given? All of a sudden, a supposedly transparent process could be heading into smoky rooms where brown envelopes can change hands undetected.

  16. River Oak are a real estate company
    do not be fooled by Tony Fraudman

    remind you …USA sold to Fraudman via planestations and wiggins he sold it to Infratil who is Anne Gloags brother all they ever did was promise this and promise that all them in this ring of fire!
    Did you know that Infratil was registered offshore but that is offshore leaks
    so Gloag sells to his sister
    his sister involve cartner and musgrave
    and people know about their shady past too
    ask Richard Card he knows Fraud man well

    anne and her partners in crime sell back to Riveroak a new company that only deal in real estate

    you have all been had
    you do not listen to people who tell the truth like me either

    the airport is doomed to end up in being paid for by us for a lorry park because the french are on strike like they were before….or the government will demand houses to be built on a major aquiffer

    you should be protesting at this outcome

    get active now

  17. Infratil announced the sale of Manston airport to Stagecoach tycoon Ann Gloag for a nominal £1

    Infratil was her brother the company was in New Zealand and again it failed because of poor led managment

  18. You should delve deeply into Fraudmman. He has a whole list of failed airport projects around europe. Has been chased out of others leaving massive debts and walking away. How is it that both of our Thanet MP’s think so highly of him? oh, they are both heavily into the aviation side, Mackinlay with his Mama airline and Gale with being president of the All Party Parliamentary Group for General Aviation. Grant Shapps the SOS is pro-aviation also so a lot of back slapping going on behind the scenes in parliament. Surely they should all be investigated in parliament for corruption because they are putting their own business agendas before the publics. There is obviously a lot more to this crazy cock-up of justice than meets the eye. But will justice win? Does it ever win with all the corruption in our governmental system? 4 more months of nothing! It’s a joke just like the leader!

  19. The government has to listen to the climate change campaigners,they are
    incandescent with rage following the good news for Flybe.
    Maybe announcing simultaneous good news for aviation has influenced the goverments decsion re manston Dco.

    • The government’s response to the climate crisis is superficial so why would it give a fig for what environmentalists think of it? If the government really cared, they’d already have passed a law (for example) saying that every new home or workplace must have solar panels, as well as funding an integrated system of public transport throughout Britain.

      How much have they already spent on Brexit?

      • Yes, the government only give false appraisal to the public that they want to help the environment. they really don’t want us having solar panels as we cannot be spied on by their smart meters being installed into domestic homes never as fast before. These radioactive spies are causing ill health among americans already and there is a huge lobby to get rid of them but it is big bucks for the companies and shareholders. You know who wins. Greed always comes before health. Don’t accept your power company smart meter as they just make you ill, same will be when 5G is rolled out all over. These chinese developments are bad for your health, just read up on it. You won’t get the truth from them or the Government.

  20. If Shapps says yes to RSP’s application then anyone who thinks the government is concerned about climate change will see that they don’t.

  21. If what all the experts say about the viability of aviation at Manston is true, then the outcome of the DCO is academic.
    If “no”, then great for Ramsgate.
    If “yes”, still great for Ramsgate because, for a couple of years the occasional freighter will lumber over our skies before, inevitably, Manston fails again. Trickier for RSP it it’s a “yes”, because they’ll have to pretend to run a cargo hub for a couple of years before building houses.

  22. I don’t hear the usual support from the usual sources, why? Are they embarrassed by this maneuvering? If the case is so clear cut in favour say so, and take the flak when economics and logistics force a reality check.
    The Govt is in a bind, Lord Deben’s climate change commission is breathing down its neck and flying is target number one.Deben is a former conservative minister who memorably fed his 4 yr old son a beef burger during the height of the ‘mad cow’ crisis.He lives in Suffolk.So hardly one of the liberal elite.He and the CCC know that ‘business as usual’ is not sustainable.
    In a govt of non of the talents, Shapp’s gung ho anti environmentalism is going to bite hard with a PM looking for love.By May a reshuffle is due and someone less pro flying may be transport secretary.
    I have some doubt about Mackinlay and Gale having much pull, as if they had, one of them would at least, would fill a minor post in Govt.Manston man is an evolutionary dead end and even if by some quirk of fate RSP get their way,Manston like the big flightless bird that it is, will fail to reach any altitude, in the long run.
    The runway may be the 10th longest and widest in Europe, but the A299 and North Kent rail line isn’t;landing cargo on the periphery of the UK and trying to deliver it by road or rail using the present infrastructure just isn’t viable.
    It is not surprising that most cargo hubs, road,rail and air are located in the Midlands where goods can be distributed outwards.Ports are a different matter, because of topography but they too feed these central distribution centres in the midlands.

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