Yet more comments and details requested for Manston air freight DCO application

Manston airport site Photo Frank Leppard

Submission of yet another round of comments and further information has been requested by the Secretary of State for Transport – Grant Schapps – before a decision  over the development consent order to create an air cargo hub at the Manston airport site will be made.

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, yesterday (January 16) said the latest delay means the outcome is now due to be announced on May 18.

The four month delay was due 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,” according to the Under Secretary statement.

Last year the Planning Inspectorate examining panel, led by Kelvin McDonald, examined the bid 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.

Now more submissions on the project which has split isle opinion have been requested by Mr Schapps.

In the latest documentation on the Planning Inspectorate website a series of areas where more details are needed is outlined.

These include queries over unilateral undertakings with Kent County Council and Thanet council relating to the “appropriateness of RiverOak Fuels being the named party in those Undertakings,” and whether RSP’s contribution for the Air Quality Station ZH3 will ensure the Thanet Air Quality Management Area is not negatively impacted by the development.

Further areas include whether a 20 year contribution from RSP of £139,000 per year for schools affected by aircraft noise is adequate.

There are also queries raised about transport, including over controlled parking income and right of way improvements and the inclusion of a bus service enhancements scheme.

Confirmation of agreement to compulsory purchase a number of plots of land belonging to the Crown and companies including South Eastern Power Networks is also sought.

Comments are also invited on the revised wording of the draft DCO, including amendments to night flight restrictions and the need to provide an alternate High Resolution Direction Finder site.

An updated air quality assessment is requested as well as clarification on the assessment of the carbon emissions contribution from Manston Airport in relation to climate change.

Comments on late representations, including from objectors Five10Twelve Limited about inconsistencies in the application, are also requested.

Yesterday RSP said it “stands ready to respond” to requests for additional information.

The deadline for responses in January 31.

DCO approval is needed for the cargo hub project. Supporters of the plan say it will bring jobs and economic benefits. Campaigners against the proposals say it will result in pollution, noise and a loss of tourist trade in Ramsgate which is under the flight path.

Find the latest documentation here


  1. Most probably viewed as a negative to some.

    Five10Twelve Limited are based outside of Thanet and Herne Bay so one wonders what their interest is in raising negative points and where their finances originate from to continue their campaign of Anti Manston Airport.

    Some of us would also question as to how Five10Twelve Limited were allowed to present documents past the deadline.

    • Five10twelve are Ramsgate residents fact 1
      SMAa have failed to publish any accounts since their inception

      So whoever you are posting lies does not help your argument and before you attempt to stain the character of Ramsgate residents get your facts right and also pot calling kettle black is an own goal. Mind you I can understand just why they don’t publish their accounts seeing as RSP throw money (not theirs) around like confetti. Buying public support has a funny spell

    • CT12 6FA (Five10Twelve’s post code) is well and truly in Ramsgate. I don’t know what you’re saying.
      Anyone is at liberty to make representations to the SoS (which is what Five10Twelve did). One might speculate as to why the SoS found their submissions worthy of consideration. I think they make an interesting read.
      As to their finances: perhaps, like everyone else who doesn’t relish the prospect of a noisy, dirty airport a couple of kilometres from Ramsgate (No Night Flights, Manston Pickle, countless other organisations and individuals), they dug deep to contribute time, resources and money to keep this blight from our town

      • Please explain “dirty” airport. There are no dirty aircraft these days. hey have been banned for some years now!

        • The aircraft used by the only outfit identified by Tony Freudman as being remotely interested in running planes from Manston (Magma Aviation) runs 747-400 aircraft. Built in 1989. So yes, noisy, dirty, polluting old crates, no longer in production.

    • Another one wonders why SMAa continue to have a front-page ad for RSP on this very e-newspaper, and why RSP don’t publish their own ad there.

  2. latest submissions are here
    Bit of an issue for the DCO described as Oven-Ready by RSP and 3 years on is still not resolved
    19. The Secretary of State seeks the views of the Applicant, MOD (The Defence Infrastructure Organisation) and other Interested Parties on the wording of new requirement 24 (High Resolution Direction Finder) for inclusion in any DCO that might be granted in due course:

    “(1) No part of the authorised development is to commence until a detailed mitigation scheme to provide an alternate High Resolution Direction Finder, prepared by the undertaker and agreed in writing by the Ministry of Defence, has been submitted to, and approved in writing by, the relevant planning authority. The detailed mitigation scheme must include siting location(s) for the alternate High Resolution Direction Finder, full specification for the equipment and infrastructure proposed, the technical performance data necessary to establish safeguarding criteria to protect its subsequent operation and a timetable for its implementation.

    (2) The installation of the alternative High Resolution Direction Finder must be carried out in accordance with the scheme approved pursuant to sub-paragraph (1), unless otherwise agreed in writing by the Ministry of Defence and the relevant planning authority.

    (3) None of the authorised development is permitted to be constructed within the zone protected by the Ministry of Defence (Manston) Technical Site Direction 2017 while the safeguarding direction is in force without the consent of the Secretary of State for Defence.

    (4) No part of the authorised development is to commence unless and until a programme for the decommissioning and removal of the existing High Resolution Direction Finder, prepared by the undertaker and submitted to and agreed in writing by the Ministry of Defence, has been submitted to, and approved in writing by, the relevant planning authority. The decommissioning and removal of the existing High Resolution Definition Finder equipment must be carried out strictly in accordance with the details approved.”

  3. As a long term, concerned Ramsgate resident I am only thankful we have organisations like Five10Twelve on the side of logic and reason.

    Let’s also remember thousands of local residents submitted evidence based clearly thought out objections. They are all there, on the PINS site, for everyone to read.

    For too long, the silent majority of Ramsgate have been ignored, insulted, sidelined, patronised by our MPs one of whom forgot he owned an airline, the other one who is Chair of the Aviation Group and all washed down by an aeroplane owning Secretary of State. This insult to Ramsgate must stop. This DCO should never have been accepted.

    This smells like matey politics, boys with toys, sentiment over reason and other poor excuses to try and land a dirty old cargo plane over the only Royal harbour in the country.

    We don’t buy it, thousands and thousands and thousands of us simply. Don’t. Buy it. And we’re not going away.

    Looks like Tony has lots more homework to do. I’m looking forward to reading more inadequate RSP business planning and I’m particularly looking forward to the MOD’s latest position.

    Most actual support on the ground is in fact, anti housing sentiment. Too bad TDC had to reshuffle its local plan as a consequence and then deliver certain ruin to the green belt.

    Enough. It’s time to stop this nonsense and let us all move on.

  4. All this twisting and turning for years on end with no easy resolution because ,in fact, there is no obvious choice to be made, is getting a bit like Brexit.
    I’m surprised nobody stood for election to the local Council on a simplistic slogan of “Get Manston done!” Regardless of whatever happened after, lots would vote for it in the belief that it would all be sorted and they would not have to think about it again!!
    But, reality bites back, and , years later, the Manston issue is still not resolved because,(shock,horror revelation) the public are very divided on the matter and , like Brexit, it really isn’t at all obvious that it is a very good idea.

    Perhaps, if Manston ever becomes an airport again, they will announce that Big Ben’s bells will chime out loud and then pretend that the public are united behind the scheme that they always disagreed about.

    Maybe a “Battle of Britain” fly past to make it look “patriotic”. Lots of Union Jacks (without the Scots or Irish bits of the flag, probably.) There might even be a Flybe aircraft locally based to take a small number of passengers on hugely subsidised flight to, perhaps, Southend.
    Just managing to take off by clearing the hundreds of lorries still parked on the edge of the runway , waiting their turn to join the endless convoys down to Dover.
    What a future!!

  5. I can’t wait to hear how RSP plan to square a 24/7/365 cargo hub with the government’s target to be carbon neutral by 2050 as requested by the SoS. No doubt we will get the usual half-ar*ed rubbish RSP hand out. As for Five Ten Twelve at least they live in Ramsgate unlike the vast majority of airport supporters. I see SMAa are starting their usual vile comments aimed at them.

  6. According to RSP’s comments in the CAA “consultation” they are only expecting one plane a day in the immediate future after the airport opens.
    But I thought that the whole DCO was predicated on there being a drastic shortage if air cargo provision in the SE?
    Shouldn’t it be the case that, as soon as the white line paint is dry on the runway, and the new bulbs have been screwed in the landing lights, dozens of cargo aircraft will be lining up half way across the Nort Sea to take advantage of the wonderful facilities that Manston has to offer?

  7. What is there to know ?

    Manston isnt on the fuel grid so to expansive to use fuel tankers.
    Manston has no decent roads or rail connections.
    I doubt manston runway would be up to modern standards. Do modern airports have houses just a few hundred at the end of the runway, to the right.
    No haulage company is going to try to run from manston.

    It’s not rocket science manston is no go’er

  8. Rsp own most of the former airport site,they have an asset now land banked. I imagine full government permission to reopn the site will increase the value of the land and rsp will sell the land on to the highest bidder.

    if the Dco is refused,rsp have the option of selling the land to stone hill park,something similar or come to some form of joint venture not involving aviation.
    Grant Shapps and team,have to get this Dco absolutely correct. The Heathrow runway expansion Dco application will be landing on his desk later this year.

    Personally prefer an airport rather than a new major housing estate !

  9. Get Manston Airport Open. When Manston was open before the witch of asset stripping took over the airport was building up very well with KLM I used it very often for my strips to St Barts. I was hoping Boris would have sorted it out by now but he has already running out of puff by the look of it.

    • I don’t known which Manston you’re talking about, but the one in Thanet was losing £10,000 a day when it closed. The KLM flights were more than half empty on average.
      If you read the various reports by experts such ad York Aviation, Avia, Altitude, Falcon you’ll see why.
      To save you the bother:
      Manston is too far away from anything else, particularly London and the logistics depots in the Midlands, and there are to few people living in Eadt Kent who want to fly from Manston.

    • I don’t see that there’s any reason to call Ann Gloag “the witch of asset stripping”. She sounds like a normal businesswoman to me.

  10. Confused good name for you.” Manston has no decent roads or rail connections.” You say.
    I think you need to get out more. There are dual carriageways / motorways from Manston Airport to the rest of the UK.
    SpecSavers are worth a visit.

    • Ann

      If you really think a duel carriageway for a haulage hub is good than may I suggest you get out abit more. Most motorways are now 3 or 4 laned .

      But yet again the pro manston people never answer any points made the cost of bring in aviation fuel by tanker is so expensive that one point alone makes manston unviable, let alone being stuck on the bottom right hand corner of England ! And only a duel carriageway and and duel motorway all the way to the car park that is the M25 lol

    • . Proper air freight cargo hubs (like East Midlands) are located in the middle of the UK adjacent to major motorways (M1 and M6) and rail freight centres. Around then spring up logistic companies such as Stobart and Wincanton.
      Why on Earth would an air cargo carrier bring stuff into Manston, de plane it, store it, load it onto trucks (there is no rail freight connection) then spend best part of 2 hours carting it to London or 4 hours to the East Midlands, when they could simply keep it on the plane for another 20 minute and take it directly there.
      You can be as rude as you like: it doesn’t change the fact that Manston is still in the wrong place to be an air freight hub.

      • Andrew

        100% this.

        If I was a business person importing good to be transported around the UK I would stick with the Midlands makes more sence. It would be cheaper to use the Midlands airport as it’s on the fuel grid so fuel and flying costs are so much cheaper than using the fuel tankers at manston, plus my cargo isnt stuck in the bottom right hand corner of the UK. It’s funny how the pro manston brigade never say why a haulage company would want to be based at manston, never say why a cargo plane company would want to land at manston and pay through their nose for aviation fuel.
        They live in cloud cookoo land even if a company did come they could afford to be paying over the odds for fuel and transportation for long !!

    • I wonder if Ann will learn to put her argument in a reasoned and polite way instead of being rude to those who don’t share her point of view.

  11. One last glimmer of hope for the Anti Manston trolls to cling to, bless em. hang on in there. your bubble will soon be burst in 4 months after the T.s have been crossed and the i’s have been dotted and the DCO is signed off.
    Yay bring on the planes employment education investment et al.

    • and of course a chance for the trolls in SMAa to troll people’s timelines researching the scant information on them and then making up codswallop in the hope that some untruths will be believed. Ask Keith Nichols, Carol Copeland, Liam Coyle et al just why they struggle to find facts to back up their needs yet it is perfectly ok to attack the person (that is the definition of Troll BTW)

    • How many times does Gale have to cross the T’s and dot the I’s ? as he has been doing that a very long time now et al and still not finished ! Not enough information is forthcoming but at least they can now talk directly with the SOS with the hidden info which was supposed to have been public knowledge a year ago, before all this malarky began. It all stinks of corruption and bungs.

    • T’s crossed (like the HRDF aerial) and i’s dotted (like no carriers of consequence lining up to come to Manston).
      Yeah. Right.

    • I think “Et Al” sounds very like several other people who have said on various occasions “Yay”, jobs for young people, and, offensively “Move if you don’t want to live near an airport”. Or perhaps it was just one person with several pseudonyms. The sad thing is, either Grant Shapps will say yes, which is okay because we all know that airports always do badly at Manston,, and not okay because anyone with common sense will immediately suspect him of bias. since he ought to know from the evidence presented that (leaving out pollution,etc) no commercial airport has ever done well at Manston.

      • (Part 2) Or Shapps will say no, and make many hopeful airport supporters very disappointed, while people who don’t want an airport nearby will be both relieved and pleasantly surprised that the SOS has used rationality and logic in this matter.

  12. Et al, are you referring to the 130 jobs which went when it last went bust? Wetherspoons employs double that number with significantly better employment stability and training and development opportunities. Let’s not keep knocking the hospitality sector as some how not as ‘good’ as forklifting or warehousing.

    There is no training school in the DCO, it isn’t a national need.

    Have you read the application or do you believe the fake jobs numbers in the SMA fake news adverts? I think they’re proposing more employment than the whole of Gatwick, all its staff and all of the staff attached to all of the airlines based there.

    It’s an MPs boys club stitch up.

  13. Why was Manston sold off in the first place? Because it was making loss after loss with many different business projects and leaders. KLM was a final last chance saloon which fell foul just like all the others. Manston had been propped up by KCC for years in the hope it would take off but all that money was wasted too. The guy who is supposedly so desperate to get it going again is one who has failed there before. He also has been heavily involved with failed airports all over the place where he just walks away without paying his dues. If Manston was really worthy of a DCO where are all the carriers who want to get in there? They are not shouting at the gates, or anywhere else for that matter. In fact there might only be one airfreighter lined up, thats hardly a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project, hardly even important. How this hasn’t already been thrown out after all the lack of information from the RSP people is very puzzling, but then the two desperado MP’s have been spearheading this for sometime, but now with Grant schapps SOS for Transport who’s signature they need, they are all aviation geeks who’s feet it will all come tumbling down by in the end. Maybe then they will walk away and close the door behind them letting Thanet get on with it’s recovery instead of being blighted forever more. One way or the other something needs to be done This hold up is another kick in the face for Thanet from those who just don’t care.

  14. 1959 the 1st civil aviation service started at Manston
    No aviation server has EVER made a profit in fact Freudmann went under owing £28M to the banks and until now that is the largest single loss Manston has made
    Currently RSP owes more than that to its overseas lenders yet plane spotters believe everything is rosy LOLOLOL

  15. Why dont the pro manston brigade explain why they think bringing in aviation fuel by tanker is cheaper than being on the fuel grid ?. Explain why it makes sence to land cargo in the bottom right hand corner of England and not in the Midlands ?
    Why it would be cheaper for haulage companies to be based in the bottom right hand corner of England and not in the Midlands ?
    Simple there is no reason to be based at manston it isnt viable, so the pro manston brigade just resorted to being rude.

    Being based in the Midlands is cheaper than being based in manston simple economies.

  16. I am amazed this affair is still dragging on.I thought this was a get everything done Govt, full on get up and go! Apparently not.
    If this decision is in anyway flawed there will be so many judicial reviews that the DFT will spending all of its money on lawyers not infrastructure.
    I think some us need to take a good hard look at Thanet and its infrastructure.Let’s just remind ourselves of the current status:
    1) A299 a series of roundabouts connected to a Motorway which is hardly altered since it was built in the 1960’s.
    2) to get up country any HGV has to negotiate the M25,before heading up to midlands where the distribution centres are.
    3) The immediate road connections are laughably poor and nothing like those at Heathrow,Gatwick or East midlands.
    4) No direct rail connection and both rail lines are victorian in both origin and structure.Yes, you could put in a freight facility, but what return would you get on the investment?
    5) Yes, jet engines have moved on from the Dart, Spey and early PW fan jets, but Manston won’t be seeing the latest technology anytime soon.Many of the current designs are at least a decade old and upgrading them is not always successful as in the case of the 737 max 8 and the RR Trent.
    There may be electric short haul aircraft and Ultra large fan jets, powered by hydrogen in the future, but not now and maybe never.
    If we want a cargo hub in Thanet it will have to be rail and to some purpose.
    You want good well paid jobs in Thanet, then do all you can to give your kids a good education and encourage green energy firms like vattenfall to come and set up factories and workshops and stop harking back to the past.
    I find this refusal to see how poor things really are and to make doleful excuses for the lack of investment in Thanet, dispiriting.
    The real reason why some longstanding politicians are acting like game show hosts in encouraging the unbelievable and unlikely, is because they have made a pigs ear of making the case for Thanet to get the investment it needs.Instead we get a series of fantasy projects, like Manston,Thanet Parkway and brexit ferry companies.These are a distraction, not an answer, and the sooner those who subscribe to this tosh,understand this the better.
    Northern ireland gets £19k per head from Govt, Thanet or at least everywhere apart from Margate, around 50p and a lottery ticket in comparison.

    • Well said George

      Also a quick look on google and you can see that manstons runway is to short for many fully load cargo planes ! So planes would need to fly in with only 80% or less on board lol

    • Very well made points George Nokes, I look forward the reading pro manston response to your well made and educated points.

  17. Absolutely right George. Game show hosts is absurdly accurate.

    Perhaps Grant is lining up a new series of the Two Ronnie’s with Roger and Craig. Musical interlude to be provided by Tony F with backing singing from the Shady Overseas Dollars. First number, who’s hidden my aeroplane?

  18. Planes will eventually become cleaner, greener and practically silent. I know it doesnt help for now but there is hope for the future.

    • Not for Manston. No matter how clean or green the planes might become, there is still the tricky problem that Manston is in the wrong place to be anything other than a small, niche and loss-making aerodrome.

Comments are closed.