Submissions requested over redetermination of development consent at Manston airport site

Manston airport Photo Frank Leppard

Further representations are invited for the Secretary of State’s re-determination of the application by RiverOak Strategic Partners for an order granting Development Consent for the reopening and development of Manston Airport.

The Secretary of State has also appointed an independent aviation assessor to advise him on matters relating to the need for the development and to produce a report summarising those findings.

Submission deadline is July 9.

A Development Consent Order granting approval for an air freight hub at Manston airport  was  quashed in February with a new decision now needing to be issued after a re-examination of the Planning Inspectorate evidence.

The action came as the result of a Judicial Review challenge to the decision, launched by Ramsgate resident Jenny Dawes last year, which was to have been heard in the High Court.

The substantive hearing was due to look at whether the Government followed correct procedure in reaching the decision to approve the DCO for airport landowners RiverOak Strategic Partners.

But, last December the Department of Transport acknowledged that the decision approval letter issued from the Minister of State did not contain enough detail about why approval was given against the advice of the Planning Inspectorate and said the Judicial Review would not be contested.

An official consent order was issued from the court to quash the DCO.

The Secretary of State invites further representations on:

  • the extent to which current national or local policies (including any changes since 9 July 2020 such as, but not limited to, the re-instatement of the ANPS) inform the level of need for the services that the development would provide and the benefits that would be achieved
  • whether the quantitative need for the development has been affected by any changes since 9 July 2019, and if so, a description of any such changes and the impacts on the level of need from those changes (such as, but not limited to, changes in demand for air freight, changes of capacity at other airports, locational requirements for air freight and the effects of Brexit and/or Covid);
  • the extent to which the Secretary of State should, in his re-determination of the application, have regard to the sixth carbon budget (covering the years between 2033 – 2037) which will include emissions from international aviation; and
  • any other matters arising since 9 July 2019 which Interested Parties consider are material for the Secretary of State to take into account in his re-determination of the application.

The Secretary of State also requests that, in light of the passage of time since close of the examination, RSP considers the currency of the environmental information produced for the application and, where necessary, submit updated information.

The Secretary of State also requires information regarding compulsory purchase of some parcels of land.

Responses should be sent by email to [email protected], marked “For the attention of the Manston Airport Case Team”.

Representations and the new reports will be available to see after the deadline at

The DCO application was accepted for examination in August 2018 and it was completed on 9 July 2019. The examination was conducted on the basis of written and oral submissions submitted to the ExA and by eight issue-specific hearings, two compulsory acquisition hearings and four open floor hearings held in Margate and Sandwich. The ExA also conducted one unaccompanied site inspection in January 2019 and one accompanied site inspection in March 2019.

The examining panel recommendation was for refusal. This was overturned by the Secretary of State when granting the original DCO.

The Judicial Review launched by Ramsgate resident Jenny Dawes challenged that decision based on:

Ground 1: Need

Ground 2: Breach of Procedural Requirement/Unfairness

Ground 3: Net Zero Duty

The site is in ownership of RSP after a £16million buy out from previous owners Stone Hill Park who had hoped to gain permission for a multi-use housing, business and leisure development.

RSP aims to create aviation at the site with a cargo hub and associated business.


  1. Considering that this call by the SoS is almost two months late, a July 9th deadline is a bit steep.
    The best part of a year was spent by the Examining Authority in producing its recommendation. How does the SoS imagine that such diligently produced evidence can be produced in a few weeks – unless he basically accepts the findings of the ExA.

    • Here we go again. Andrew goes off on a bunch of condescending comments about how the airport can’t work, the area will be worse off and he can’t be proven wrong. Most people on thanet want it Andrew. Maybe they don’t shout loud on here constantly, but we want to give it a try. The towns are full of people with no hope. You are past the point of caring for opportunity and want your quiet house. We all know

      • No one knows how many people want the airport, because no one’s been asked.
        If you count the responses to the Planning Inspectorate, you’ll see that a majority is *against* the airport.
        Not that it’s a voting matter.
        When it was running, it consistently lost huge amounts of money, and finally failed, because not enough people in Thanet and east Kent chose to fly from Manston.

      • Do you live in the CT11 postal area Trete? Because if you do you will be most affected by air and noise pollution, when 2 or more dirty old cargo planes fly in at just 300 meters high over Ramsgate Harbour, then 250/200 up Ramsgate High Street, just 200 meters over Ellington Park, and 150/100 meters high over Nethercourt! This will destroy all the hospitality jobs/businesses around the Harbour, and devalue all the property under the flight path, probably thousands of homes! Reopening Manston won’t provide any jobs, unless there are scores of aviation engineers capable of stripping a jet engine down, sitting about waiting for work! It would be a disaster for all of Thanet, because air quality will be major health risk! The one principle that has not been shown to be necessary, is the “need for this in the national interest!” There are plenty of better located airports with spare capacity, especially in the Midlands!

      • Has anybody asked any of those unemployed whether they fancy working in a zero-hours, poorly paid, unhealthy job? Are any of the staunch supporters thinking about getting a job there? Are any of them already trained in anything aviation-related? Any of them told their children to stay around and get a job there? I thought so.

  2. If he accepts their findings then it will be a rejection, given that is what the Inspectors concluded resolutely. Let’s hope he pays a bit more attention to the evidence this time.

    • It’s an absurd situation.
      A detailed examination by the Planning Inspectorate reccommended for a number of reasons that the DCO application should be rejected.
      The SoS chose to overturn that reccommendation, on grounds that were subsequently accepted to be inadequate.
      So what’s the SoS want us to do? Provide him with reasons for rejecting the PI’s decision, because he can’t think of any himself?

  3. As I have said many times on here Manston Airport will be reopening this government will make sure of that.
    so get used to it. Historically it’s an airport that closed its doors due to an greedy Asset stripper who was hoping to make millions of pounds by selling to housing developers. Any business that has historically been trading can reopen without all the planning requirements because they do not apply in law to reopen as it was before. If it was a completely new application of a new airport then they would require full planning. Manston Airport was a cargo hub before it closed Cargo Lux / DHL / TNT and other cargo carriers used Manston before. I expect Ms Dawes will not sleep tonight.

    • In that case, why doesn’t RSP simply re-open Manston?
      Twice they tried to enter into a CPO with TDC as partner. Twice the attempt failed: each time, because when it came down to who would pay, it was clear that RSP wouldn’t or couldn’t (remember the heavily redacted letter from RSP to Chris Wells?)
      As RSP now own Manson (with one or two rather awkward exceptions such as the MoD radio beacon), and they simply need to get the CAA licence sorted out, there’s nothing to stop them going ahead.

    • Why on earth would Jenny Dawes or anybody else lose sleep over this? What a shame that Stone Hill Park’s proposal for a mixed-use development was unfairly rejected out of hand by TDC in a previous incarnation.

    • Maybe, maybe not. So why did it close all the times before that going back decades? Because it is the ass-end of nowhere, with no transport links & it has never been able to sustain itself. You might recall the asset stripper was the only one who made a bid for it-then a couple of years later RiverOak etc were willing to pay millions for it-where were they in 2013 when they could have got it for a quid? Reality is it was a liability that only an asset stripper would have any interest in.

  4. Ann, it’s a good job the high court quashed it then isn’t it.

    We’re here and we’re not going anywhere.

    Neither did many passengers or cargo deliveries from Manston either.

    • Insanity is doing the same thing over & over & expecting a different result. How many airport operators have we had at Manston since WW2? All of them went bust.

  5. Steve if you are new to the area a DFL [Down from London ] and know nothing about Manston Airport or the legal side then don’t waste your time making out you know things which clearly you know nothing about. The court quashed the proceedings at the REQUEST of the Secretary of State for transport. Not because Manston Airport could not reopen.

    • Just to get the facts right, Ann:
      The SoS overturned the PI’s recommendation not to grant the CPO.
      A fund was started to raise money for a JR challenge.
      In a few days, the fund raised around £90,000
      An application for a JR was made, and accepted by the High Court.
      A few days before the hearing, the SoS and RSP each said they would not defend the JR challenge.
      In that event, the High Court quashed the DCO.
      The SoS did not request anything -but by caving in before the hearing, they were saved the ignominy of hearing the catalogue of evidence against them.

    • Ann

      I was born here 😉 but manston airport has never been a successful stand alone airport.

      4 times it been a stand alone airport 4 times it’s gone bust.

      Without the RAF being based there it will always go bust.

      No,fuel grid, no infrastructure road or rail, poor location etc etc etc

    • Are you on a retainer from the owners to cheerlead/shill this hard & this long for it? Why are you so keen for yet another failed Manston airport?

  6. Andrew the history teacher is confused as well. Don’t pretend you know the truth when you clearly do not.

    • Do you wear Blinkers Ann?
      Your answers plainly lead to that impression
      Manston opened to freight in 1959
      It has never made a profit until Stonehill Park did a deal with the dept of Transport to fund it as a lorry park

      • I think Ann might be SRG or TF. She has the same mindset and tells us all rubbish as if we do not follow what has been happening.
        But her insider she tells us about has been telling her porkies.
        Sorry if this is disrespectful but really you should check the facts. If it was such a great success as you claim then why does it keep shutting down losing £millions each time it reopens? Why would anyone ‘without bias’ give consent for a DCO after being advised against it by their own team?
        Now, with the inclusion of updating the information since then there is even less need for a freight hub NSIP in this extreme corner of the UK but lets see how Grant Shapps comes up with his reconsideration against all the evidence now. I am very interested to learn which independent aviation assessor he has consulted with. They certainly do not have much time to come up with much unless he has given them and RSP an unfair advantage over the last few months since he accepted the courts ruling. Even so, nothing has changed other than less need for an airport here.

  7. Well done Ann, as for the rest of you manston has failed because non locals move here and object to the airport also TDC couldn’t agree on what they have for tea let alone doing the job they were voted in to do. Manston airport should be here to stay, make jobs for local and as for infrastructure it’s here, Ramsgate you killed off Ramsgate docks you will not kill the airport.its here to serve Thanet not just you lot in Ramsgate, most of you lot not born n breed here, if your unhappy then move

    • You think the population of thanet is big enough to sustain an profitable airport ? Why it never has in the passed so what’s changed ?

      What infrastructure ?

      No way of getting aircraft fuel to the airport.
      No motorway only a two lane dual carriageway onto a two lane motorway after 17 miles !
      No rail connections.
      Poor location

      All the airports in England have shed loads of spare capacity.

      Midlands airport in the heart of the country, Gatwick the same all with great infrastructure. Freight can go north, south, east and west.

      Land at manston and freight can only go west ! North into the sea, East into the seas , South into the sea lol

      The proof of the pudding will be first the raising of 300 million to up grade manston, and than Amazon,and other major freight companies moving from Gatwick and Midlands etc out of their central position to the bottom right hand corner of England.

      Personally it doesnt make any financial sence to move or fly into manston. You cant even get aviation fuel at the going rate !

    • Hi Chris, I assume you have read RSPs documents and know that when they say ‘local’ they mean ‘someone within 90 minutes’. Cheers.

  8. Boris will GET MANSTON AIRPORT DONE just like he did with Brexit. I’ve no doubt about that. If the snowflakes think they can stop the airport reopening they had better think again. Mr X needs to go to SpecSavers. Manston Airport has dual carriageway to the rest of the U.K., A New railway station is being built next to it. It’s in an excellent location environmentally surrounded by the sea on three sides it has a fuel grid.

    • Bill
      Manston is not in the National aviation fuel grid.

      Nothing wrong with my eyesight. Just a common sense view 😉

    • The proposal is for a cargo hub. So a passenger railway station a km away would be useless.
      Manston is not on the fuel grid. All fuel used would have to be (expensively) trucked in.
      Independent experts have commented over and over again: Manston is in the wrong place for a freight hub. Why, if you were a carrier, land your freight at Manston, unload it, reload it onto lorries, then drive it for hours and 100s of miles to to the logistic hubs in the midlands (conveniently near East Midlands Airport), when you could simply leave it on the aircraft for 20 minutes longer and have it delivered straight to EMA.
      In your enthusiasm for Manston’s environmental credentials, you’ve overlooked the fact that there’s a town of more than 40,000 souls at the end of the runway.
      I wouldn’t put too much faith in Boris. He gave us BREXIT, resulting in our fishing industry being shafted, livestock farming just about to go the same way, and the Delta variant rampaging round the country (he wouldn’t close flights from India, because he was desperate for a post-Brexit trade deal with India. And let’s not mention his appalling handling of the pandemic.

    • Bill – two white elephants side by side!
      Boris is a weak, vain man, he’s delivered nothing of value so far, and pretty much everything he does ends in tears.

      • Oh dear Blue Fox. I am very sad that people like you see no good in others, even those trying their very best in these unprecedented times. For example, please look at EU figures for vaccination and compare to UK. I would suggest our PM did well.

        • At one point, our PM was orchestrating a covid campaign that saw the worst death rate in the Western World.
          I would suggest that your PM has done a terrible job.

      • I’m going to say something that could possibly be construed as being wrong by people. Has any one stopped to think that it would be easier to get medical supplies in to Manston from abroad and then distributed as far as London then from there further on but who am I to say according to some people I’m an troll

    • Think you will find Boris fell over the line with getting Brexit done, he had no control over anything, the man is a fool. The deal he got was rubbish and we are the laughing stock of the world. Brexit was full of lies and broken promises, a bit like Riveroak I guess except they will not even get to fall over the line as anyone with a gram of sense can see that the idea of Manston airport is a joke and will never take off! There are so many better options for flying freight into the UK that are actually set up for it with the infrastructure to cope. Sooner or later all you pro Manston people will need to understand it’s just pie in the sky and not economically viable, simple as that

    • A passenger station has been planned and work is starting. There are no plans afoot that it will be extended onto the airfield for freight.

  9. i agree with a previous post , they can collect all of thoses illegals from dover – and fire them straight back to anywhere from manston , its a win win for the area and the government coffers

  10. One 5hing is clear. If the pro-Manston representations to the PI are anything like the comments posted here, the only think you’ll see flying over Thanet will be pigs.

  11. Seen on Facebook – “Vince Francis …. hides behind false names……. Funny how those that do are anti airport. ”

    Remember the early days of the Save Manston campaign when people were taking photos of cars, reporting number plates and tracing movements of legitimate owners and posting them over the internet. Don’t see those that are not fans of RSP do that ! Don’t blame them for not waiting to publicly post their details….

  12. Stansted: almost 200,000 ATMs. Just got planning permission to almost double that number. London’s 3rd biggest airport.
    Manston: 17,000 ATMs hoped for.

  13. Nothing that ever landed in Manston stayed in Kent it all went to Lakeside industrial estate opposite Heathrow and the rest of it went to Hemel Hemstead , flowers from Africa for Mark’s and Spencer’s and there were very few people working at Manston , Also the planes were 1970s ex passenger planes, which were very polluting planes ,

    • Jim – you obviously have little knowledge of Aircraft or logistics. Lakeside opposite Heathrow? 1970’s ex pax aircraft? Most Aircraft were purpose built cargo aircraft. See fleet details for major carriers using Manston prior to closure.

  14. Politicians, well i dont trust them that much but there are underlying reasons why the sos kept the project in the air.
    Some reasons have been mentioned during the current round of Uk airport development planning, Manston ticks more box’s than any other future development, including a crucial Tick which is unique to the Manston site.

    Its all about politics not what the local community want !

    • According to the Planning Inspectorate, it didn’t tick enough boxes. They rejected the scheme. And the High Court supported that view.

  15. What is “the crucial tick” mentioned by “James, Central Harbour”? Why didn’t the planning inspectorate notice this crucial reason for having a cargo hub at Manston?

  16. Perhaps that crucial tick is the magic unicorns Tony and Roger are making up there.

    Fly magic unicorns. Fly!

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