The decision on a development consent order for the Manston airport site is due, barring no more delays, on July 10.
RiverOak Strategic Partners submitted a DCO application in July 2018 in a bid to gain compulsory buy-out powers over the Manston airport site. This part of the application was later negated by a £16.5 million purchase of the majority of the site. The firm wants to revive aviation at the site with a cargo hub and associated business.
The DCO seeks development consent and compulsory buy-out powers over the land. It is the means of obtaining permission for developments categorised as Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIP).
Here Save Manston Airport association and Kent Needs Manston Airport supporter groups talk about their view of the application
The Manston Airport DCO decision is now imminent.
Put simply, if granted, the DCO would enable the single largest investment to be made in the history of Thanet. One from which a wide range of Kentish and Thanet people will benefit, as we become the site of an important piece of national infrastructure that will help Britain to rebuild its economy post-coronavirus and take advantage of new trading opportunities as we complete the transition period of our departure from the EU.
Right now, the Government is discussing how important investment in infrastructure is as a way of kick starting the economy. Well, RSP is ready to go with £300 million in private investment – making no drain on the public purse, but creating first construction jobs – and then operational ones.
RSP has always placed a strong emphasis on education and training for local people. They are very keen on the airport where possible being staffed by local people and are already working with local educational bodies to plan ahead for the training and qualifications that the airport will need. This means tangible education and job opportunities for the people of East Kent and Thanet at a time when our local economy most needs it.
RSP has also made commitments which will ensure the airport will be innovative in minimising its environmental impact, using green technology wherever possible. Its existence will also mean a reduction in the need for cross-channel trucking of freight.
Between the acceptance of the DCO, and the beginning of operations, there will be many further improvements to bio-fuels, and other forms of propulsion, reducing noise and pollution levels – all of which RSP can capitalise upon. For example, KLM the last passenger flight operator from Manston, has a deal with the Dutch government to build a plant to manufacture aviation biofuel which contributes only 15% carbon of the carbon compared to normal aviation fuel.
Combine this with Manston as the first UK green airport and switching in future to fly from Manston will help the UK hit its ambitious carbon targets.
Manston has been an airport for 100 years. It is zoned in the Local Plan for aviation use, and has been purchased by RiverOak for use as an airport – they cannot build houses on it and they don’t want to. RSP can see real potential in developing the airport, hence their long term commitment and investment in securing the DCO.
Airports have a strong trickle-down effect on their local communities. As well as the direct benefits to jobs and the supply chain, local taxes and other revenues from Manston-based companies will boost the wider economy, pumping money into social care, libraries and other essential services. Well trained jobs attract higher salaries, boosting standards of living and could help to reverse the drain of high level medical and dental staff from Thanet that we are currently seeing.
This will all help us to play our part to get the country get back on its feet, as well as providing the jobs in East Kent that are so desperately needed at this time.
So, why is a cargo hub right for Manston? And why now?
COVID has exposed the lack of resilience in UK aviation’s airfreight capability, with its reliance on cargo carried in the bellies of passenger aircraft. This has resulted in shortages of good and food – as passenger aircraft stayed on the ground, cargo could not be transport.
Manston would give UK airfreight system more resilience. Manston will be a true airfreight airport, designed and purpose built from the ground up to turn freight round quickly, rather than prioritising passenger aircraft to the detriment of freight.
For example: the UK manufacturing industry in the UK relies on “JIT” (Just in Time) planning for the supply of its components used in the manufacture of its products. This brings cost savings by reducing stock levels and, in turn, stock-carrying costs.
With the weight/mass of electronic/electrical components being small, these items are ideally suited for air freight shipment:
- door to door within 48 hours (faster than by sea)
- shipped to manufacturing lines in 56 hours
- and to manufacturers customer/end user in as little as 14 days
All bringing lower carrying costs and finance charges.
A re-built Manston Airport will be up and running and in prime position for when aviation returns to pre-Covid-19 levels by 2023/24 and can capitalise on the lack of dedicated cargo facilities at UK airports.
From the outset, Save Manston Airport association has supported the plans for the airport and stands should to shoulder with all those in Thanet that are also keen to see Manston Airport re-open. We are determined to support RSP in ensuring it can deliver the full potential of the airport, for the long-term benefit of the whole East Kent community and look forward to a great outcome on July 10 when the decision is announced.
• Dr. Beau Webber (Chairman)
• Liam Coyle (Vice-Chairman & Chief Moderator)
• Gregory Nocentini (Treasurer)
• Margaret Sole (Treasurer)
• Angela Stevens (Secretary)
• David Stevens
• Bryan Girdler
• Gary Dumigan
• Keith Nicholls