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