Independent assessor appointed by Secretary of State concludes case of ‘need’ for Manston airport not proven

Manston airport Photo Frank Leppard

Updated (Oct 22) with RSP and No Night Flights responses

An independent assessor’s report commissioned by the Secretary of State has concluded the case of need for a freight hub at the Manston airport site is not proven.

The draft report, drawn up by Ove Arup & Partners Ltd, was commissioned as part of the process of re-determination after approval for the airport project was given but then quashed by a High Court order.

The Development Consent Order granting approval for RSP’s air freight hub at Manston airport last July was quashed in February this year 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. A 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 despite the Examining Authority conclusion which followed a lengthy process of public hearings in 2019.

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.

In June the Secretary of State appointed an independent aviation assessor to advise him on matters relating to the need for the development and to draft a report summarising those findings.

This report has been published today (October 21) and looks at various arguments for and against need of the airport.

Areas in the report

Amongst the areas looked at are any changes in demand for air freight, including as a result of Brexit and/or Covid 19.

The report examines the impact of e-commerce and air freight, including recent changes resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic; the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on bellyhold capacity and the increased use of freighters; a shift to narrow bodies aircraft; the situation for post Brexit trade; longer-term impacts of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on freight demand; and also changes in capacity at other airports which include a delay to expansion of Heathrow Airport; the Stansted Airport planning inquiry; and developments at East Midlands Airport.

RSP states that the current growth in online retail sales has ‘helped create a shift in transportation modes to favour air cargo’ and that the Covid-19 pandemic has driven and will continue to drive a sustained increase in online shopping. But York Aviation on behalf of Jennifer Dawes say: “Increases in e-commerce activity do not necessarily lead to an increase in the volumes of air freight carried to or from UK airports. Consumers have long purchased goods made in China for example, which are transported to the UK by both air and surface modes.

“Even if some goods that were previously bought in physical stores are now bought on line, these goods generally share the same journey from China to the UK, but rather than being shipped directly to the retailer’s distribution centre for onward travel to the physical store, they are being shipped to an online retailer’s distribution centre for last-mile dispatch direct to consumers.”

The assessor says: “There is no clear evidence that the recent growth in e-commerce sales has created ‘a shift in transportation modes to favour air cargo’.  Consequently, the Independent Assessor does not agree with the Applicant’s position that growing e-commerce sales are driving a demand for additional runway capacity (for dedicated freighters in the South East).”

In terms of belly-hold capacity – where freight travels below passengers in the same aircraft – the assessor said: “passenger demand and therefore belly-hold capacity is likely to recover as restrictions on international travel are lifted, restoring at least some of this capacity before Manston could be operational again.” The report said this would likely negate need for more dedicated freighter crafts.

The assessor also concluded they had not  seen any evidence – one way or the other – on how changed trading arrangements post-Brexit will affect long distance trade or air freight demand.

The report quotes a submission from Cllr Rev Stuart Piper saying “Covid and Brexit have highlighted the potential problem of a temporary closure to the Port of Dover and the potential for future blockades. This is a major problem for perishable goods (…) Dedicated Freighters would alleviate this problem.”

The assessor agreed that “the provision of increased freight airport capacity can provide resilience against unforeseen events,” but said such events has ‘low probability’ of occurring.

Looking at freight capacity at Heathrow, Stanstead and the Midlands, the report acknowledges “A delay until at least 2030 on the opening of a third runway at Heathrow is, in the view of the Independent Assessors, likely,” saying this would” improve the need case for the Proposed Development.” But it then adds that there is freight capacity at Stanstead and East Midlands.

Also considered were the Government’s Net Zero climate strategy and The Transport Decarbonisation Plan.

Report conclusion

The original recommendation from the examining panel said: “The ExA concludes that the levels of freight that the Proposed Development could expect to handle are modest and could be catered for at existing airports (Heathrow, Stansted, EMA, and others if the demand existed). The ExA considers that Manston appears to offer no obvious advantages to outweigh the strong competition that such airports offer. The ExA therefore concludes that the Applicant has failed to demonstrate sufficient need for the Proposed Development, additional to (or different from) the need which is met by the provision of existing airports.”

The new report from Ove Arup & Partners Ltd concludes there have been no significant changes since that recommendation in 2019 that “would lead to different conclusions being reached with respect to the need for the Manston development.”

Next step

Secretary of State Grant Shapps has today written to RSP and Interested Parties, inviting comments on the report by November 19 before making his decision.

As well as inviting comments on the draft report, the Secretary of State has requested several submissions from RSP and is also inviting comments from interested parties on “Decarbonising transport: a better, greener Britain” and the “Jet Zero consultation.”

Responses

RSP

(Update) RSP has issued a scathing response to the report, saying: “Having read the Assessor’s report – which didn’t take long – it is clear that it is an amateur and poorly constructed report. Setting aside the numerous grammatical errors and typos – not to mention the reference at para 1.3  to a section on the sixth Carbon Budget that the author has then apparently forgotten to even write – the content of this report does not address the broader strategic need case set out in the Secretary of State’s original decision letter and is little more than a by-the-numbers review of the Examining Authority’s previous report, and series of opaque assertions using pre-2019 data, with little or no detailed analysis or reasoning behind any of the conclusions drawn.

“To be honest, we have come to the conclusion that someone has accidentally sent an unfinished draft to the Department of Transport.

“For a report designed to inform the Government’s decision making on the nation’s long term global airfreight capacity needs, the thinking behind it appears firmly stuck in a pre-COVID past. It takes no account of the need for greater resilience in our logistics infrastructure the pandemic has highlighted, the permanent disruption to the traditional ‘just-in-time’ business model that has occurred – and the requirement for enhanced cross border trading infrastructure required to address this – nor even the constraints at existing airports pre-COVID that will re-appear as the industry recovers and will only get worse in the medium to longer term.  The report therefore neither defines or deals with the need for Manston and pays absolutely no attention to the big picture strategic requirements of the UK in a post-pandemic, post-Brexit global market.

“As aviation propositions go, Manston is unique – because it will be built to be Carbon Net Zero from scratch, providing a model for future airport planning. It represents a perfect opportunity for the UK Government to demonstrate how it can deliver on its commitment to grow the aviation sector, whilst still meeting its decarbonisation targets, a model approach which UK expertise can then export around the world. It also provides the prospect of becoming a flagship levelling-up project, by providing much needed economic and employment stimulus to one of the UK’s most deprived areas – yet none of these considerations even feature in the report. Lower GDP will lower air freight demand? How about trying to increase GDP by increasing trading opportunities?

“Effectively, this report concludes that the Secretary of State should look in the rear view mirror to try and plan the future. How embarrassing. We need to be looking forward to a new, decarbonised aviation industry, serving the UK’s global trading and levelling up ambitions. We will be responding in depth, in due course.”

Jenny Dawes

Ramsgate resident, and the person behind launching the JR bid, Jenny Dawes, said: “I am cautiously pleased by the findings of the Independent Assessor’s report and am now preparing a detailed response to the Secretary of State.”

A spokesperson for Ms Dawes’ team said: “In a letter published yesterday (21 October 2021) on the Planning Inspectorate website, alongside the report of the Government’s appointed Independent Assessor, Ove Arup & Partners Ltd, questions are raised about the commitment of RiverOak Strategic Partners (RSP)  to the  Development Consent Order (DCO) process.

“The Secretary of State for Transport has had to ask once again for information initially requested in June 2021 in relation to RSP’s Application, which he has yet to receive.

“RSP are required to provide details of their progress in negotiation with:

– local landowners regarding compulsory purchase of land

– the Ministry of Defence in relation to their High Resolution Direction Finder (currently located within the Manston boundaries)

– Network Rail.

“ In addition, Secretary of State Grant Shapps again requests updates to RSP’s environmental and historic environment impact reports.

“The Secretary of State also requests feedback from RSP regarding the impact on their Application of the Net Zero and decarbonisation papers.

“In addition to the paucity of information reaching the Secretary of State from the Applicant, the Civil Aviation Authority has twice refused RSP’s Change Process application to proceed to the next stage, for failing to fulfil the necessary criteria.

“It is worthy of note that, whilst the Department of Transport has paid their portion of the costs of the Judicial Review, as ordered by the Court, RSP continues to delay their payment.”

Save Manston Airport association

“It seems to us that much of the aviation data is pre the Secretary of State’s letter (9 July 2019). Such data should not be there at all according to the DfT guidelines. It should be replaced by the plentiful much more up-to-date information that is now available, showing a strong up-turn in aviation cargo.

“Regarding need for Manston Airport, that the report only has three references to jobs (At Heathrow, in Kent, and a dubious figure for Manston) and no references to changes in Thanet / East Kent deprivation, in the relevant timescale of the report, is shocking.

“At this stage SMAa will say little more than agree with RSP  that the reportis “amateur and poorly constructed.” SMAa would be mortified if we had produced as poorly evidenced document as this draft Arup Report.

“RSP conclude : “We will be responding in depth, in due course.” As will SMAa, in the hope of informing the next version of the Arup Report with a more forward-looking reality and relevance.”

Cllr Karen Constantine

Ramsgate county councillor Karen Constantine said: “Whilst some people will feel disappointed, and I can appreciate it’s difficult when long held dreams fail, a great many more people, including myself will breathe a sigh of relief at the commonsense contained in the ARUP report.

“I believe it’s now time to look afresh at the future of the Manston site. Given our dreadful housing shortages and how local people are suffering by not being able to either rent or buy homes, and the urgent need to reduce our carbon emissions isn’t it time to build green homes? Both creating much needed homes and jobs.

“The community needs to come together over what has been a very divisive issue. Both of our MPs now need to step up and work harder to bring economic opportunity to Isle and not just rely on the Manston air cargo hub.

“One question remains intriguingly outstanding, now Manston is no longer a ‘flyer’ will Sir Roger Gale be true to his word and resign?

“He told the inquiry: “Manston airport site is of national strategic importance, very important locally and to Kent….. He said if the DCO or subsequent plans to reopen the airport were rejected  he ‘would retire as MP.'”

North Thanet MP Sir Roger Gale

“I regard the draft “Manston Airport Assessors Report” as deeply flawed. That is not surprising as it contains numerous errors and no original material but is instead based upon one-sided extracts drawn from the original Inspectors` report which itself was flawed. For example, the report`s authors (led by Arup) appear to have made no effort to make contact with locally elected representatives to seek their views and have not addressed the reasons given for the Secretary of State`s original and correct decision.

!I shall submit a detailed critique in due course but in the meantime believe that this piece of work, which has so far cost the taxpayer £150,000 and has taken six months to prepare forty-one pages that could have been written over a weekend, deserves no credibility whatsoever. I shall be submitting a full critique to the Department For Transport.”

Conclusion points

  • The changes to policy, notably the withdrawal and reinstatement of the ANPS and adoption of the Thanet Local Plan, do not significantly change the policy context that was in place at the time of the Examination;
  • The recent growth in e-commerce sales is not driving a demand for additional runway capacity for dedicated air freighters in the South East;
  • Although there have been short term changes in the balance between bellyhold freight and dedicated freighter activity during the Covid-19 pandemic, these changes are not expected to be permanent, notwithstanding growth in ecommerce and changes to the UK’s trading patterns post-Brexit;
  • There is unlikely to be a significant reduction in bellyhold freight capacity (once the passenger market recovers) due to the introduction of narrow-bodied twin-engine aircraft;
  • Despite the uncertainty concerning the timescale for the Heathrow Airport Third Runway, changes since July 2019 as described do not lead the Independent Assessor to reach a different conclusion on the need case for Manston Airport. East Midlands Airport has sufficient capacity to handle additional dedicated freighter services should the market demand them, while the planning determination at Stansted confirms that significant freight capacity remains available; and
  • There is no new evidence to suggest a different conclusion should be drawn in respect of the locational performance of Manston compared to East Midlands Airport, and to a lesser extent Stansted, to that of the ExA Report.

Find the report here

 

175 Comments

  1. Jenny Dawes does not speak on my behalf she speaks on something that really is none of her business. As per usual.
    I noticed no mention of employment prospects n this slanted report.

    • Jenny Dawes didn’t claim to be acting on behalf of you, Bill.
      She was challenging the perverse decision by the Secretary of State not to accept the recommendation of an inquiry which had spent months examining in great detail the evidence given by expert witnesses.
      Her challenge was upheld and the strength of her case has now been underlined by the findings of this independent report, commissioned by the Secretary of State.
      It is the latest of many which have reached the same conclusion – that the Manston project is undeliverable.

      • HOW CAN YOU N OT FEEL SAD FOR ALL THE PEOPLE WHO LIVE WITHIN THE CONFINES OF HEATHROW AND GATWICK ALL THE PLANES AND POLLUTION THEY MUST ENDURE JUST BECAUSE ITS NOT IN MY BACKYARD MENTALITY. JUST THINK IF THEY THE JENNY DAWES OF THIS WORLD HAD THERE WAY THERE WOULD BE NO MOVING FORWARDS ONLY BACKWARDS. HOW MANY HOUSES AND CARS WITH ALL THAT POLLUTION LEAKING INTO OUR PLANET CAN BE BUILT ON MANSTON AIRPORT????? IVE A GOOD MIND TO CANVAS EVERY COMPANY NEAR MANSTON AND SEE IF THEY WOULD USE THIS SERVICE

    • Well the report concludes that there is not really a good business case for the airport so I think you can assume the same for employment prospects.

      Since RO own the land the DCO only makes the job of turning it into a cargo hub easier. Without it they can still try… but as the report says it would not really be a good idea.

    • Bill

      What is slanted in the report ?

      From what I have read it seems a very fair . It’s a no go’er.

      Nothing stopping people investing 300million but investors normally listen to the experts. A struck of solicitor is t not an expert on aviation 😉

    • Bill you are suffering from Pillockism, get help! The whole point of this exercise was to investigate the NEED for a cargo airport at Manston, in order to obtain a DCO, nothing else! As can be seen there is NO need for any more cargo airports because those in better locations have plenty of spare capacity, namely East Midlands, Stansted, and although it wasn’t mentioned Southend airport! As I said Bill, if you can’t grasp this, then you are really must get help for your Pillockism! Well done Jenny!

    • How can this be none of her business? As a resident, she and all who live in the area, have made it very much our business.

  2. Dco not needed for them to reopen the airport only if they want to increase demand to dco level. Nothing stopping them reopening asap start slow then build up. No dco should not mean no airport of some sort

    • Husky lover, they need a DCO as no sane investors will part with their money if they aren’t going to make any return. The cost of trucking fuel puts Manston at an immediate disadvantage to other established airports (who are closer to the road networks and have distribution centres). It would also have to be highly automated to keep costs down, so minimal minimum wage jobs.

  3. It is not just about jobs. Of course they are needed but not at the expense of the health and wellbeing of local people, many of whom are vulnerable (elderly, sick and children). These groups would be most affected by the pollution generated by low flying aircraft. Given Ove Arup who were appointed as independent assessors by the secretary of state to look at the long report written by the government’s own assessors into the viability of Manston, have also agreed there is no need for a cargo hub at Manston. Given the climate crisis and the Government’s own pledge to make the UK carbon neutral by 2050, new airports understandably have no place in today’s modern world. To continue with fossil fuel schemes means we risk the health and wellbeing of future generations, both human and non human. It is time we all woke up to that fact and look towards a greener future that supports jobs for the greater good of everyone.

  4. The campaign against the threat of Manston existed long before the JR. Years in fact, when RSP loved to bring in night flights back in the day before it went bust for the last Time.

    The public examiners concluded there was no need nor a viable business case. The JR only exists because Grant (I own a plane) Shapps over ruled the planning inspectors. Then the JR launched.

    Thousands, the majority, object to a monstrous cargo hub.

    The facts support us.

  5. Bill. A cargo hub is mainly automated. At best it would generate half as many jobs as Wetherspoons and at similar pay levels for those jobs.

    Nobody actually believes the 30,000 jobs lies. RSP also defines the local workforce as those within a 90 minute commute. Hardly local.

  6. This report (which is telling us what we all knew from the first report) should be the final nail in the coffin for a project based entirely on wishful thinking and exploiting the gullibility of a handful of locals living in the past. Shame so much time and money has been wasted on coming to the same conclusions as the previous report… but then again throwing public needlessly money away is the only thing government is good at!

  7. Funny how every report regarding the viability of Manston apart from Silly Dixon’s is slanted towards it not being viable Bill. How many reports concluding it isn’t needed or viable is that now 9 or 10 ?. It seems Ove Arrup agreed with the DCO examiners and everybody who opposes a 24/7/365 cargo hub blighting Ramsgate. It is a dead airport it is no more so can we just move on now.

  8. As I stated a few week’s ago an “announcement would be made the later part of October early November.”
    This was the announcement I was referring to. Jenny Dawes and her sad followers of moaners would be wise (mark my words) Not to book a party venue to celebrate today’s announcement. More positive news will follow in the early part of the new year.

    • Looks like more cage rattling needed Ann!

      Is the positive news in the new year that you have got an appointment for your brain transplant?

      Face reality, it is never going to happen!

      • There was mention of employment prospects even if not directly. It is clear from this report that the prospects of this project being economically viable are slim so employment prospects would not be so good. It is right not to encourage false hope. I feel a more imaginative use of the land would be the way forward.

    • You are an incredible optimist Ann-even if Boris himself said it is dead in the water you would be predicting an imminent opening.

    • “More positive news will follow in the early part of the new year.”
      Like – Manston closed for good?

    • Yes, this is positive news. So what you are saying now Ann is this will get better in the New Year! But have any of your other predictions come true?

  9. If it was that viable big business would have snapped up the site for a pittance, mere peanuts for the like of Amazon or DHL or similar – the fact that they have shown no interest in buying up the site or even backing up RSP’s business case says a lot.

  10. Every single one of them Ruby. Apart from the Azimuth report although we should note that this report doesn’t cover viability. As confirmed by the author at the public hearings.

    Even UKIP admitted it was a dead duck. Just a shame the residents, housing market, and local plan have to suffer years of fudging about by those Councillors in TDC constantly swapping political allegiances to support their pet avition project. I’m referring to everyone UKIP who turned Independent or Tory when Chris Wells admitted it was not viable.

    Give it up. Put green jobs up there. A wind farm. A solar farm.

  11. What gets me about this is those who think they know all about the Manston Airport are conveniently overlooking
    That before Manston Airport was asset stripped and closed by Ms Cloag it was a busy Successful conveniently located cargo hub used by Cargo lux / TNT/ DPD / UPS / DHL / Parcelforce/ and Oxfam to send food medicines and supplies to disaster zones around the world. The above flew in and out of Manston daily so to say it “ was not needed is rubbish”
    I should know I worked there.

    • William

      Manston has never been a successful stand alone airport. Why if it was so successful has it gone bust 4 times ?

      Might have done ok when the RAF along with our taxes paid for it.

    • The fact it went bust under all its owners (not just Ann Gloag) suggests that it was from ‘conveniently’ situated.

    • Convenient and cheap maybe but far from busy, certainly isn’t a way that people supposedly investing £300-500million are going to see returns that they will expect to see – they’ll be lucky to see their money again let along a profit in their lifetime !

      They only reason the are putting money in is that RSP just see the future in houses. And before people way why have RSP spent £Xmillion so far, again a pittance in terms of the land being used for housing, a miniscule gamble….

    • Manston before it was asset stripped by Ann gloag was a good viable airport for cargo , for crew training and for klm to do flights , I think Ove Arup have not seen it’s potential for this region ,
      In war time manston was a life saver for kent and Uk
      I believe and I always will that manston could have a fabulous future , but that takes vision and entrepreneurial guts ,,
      Lots of things could or could not happen in the future , in USA an airport like manston would be well utilised . And a commercial success ,,
      This report by ove arup I believe is loaded with blindness and lack of vision .., manston should go ahead and prove them all wrong .. it’s a great asset being wasted by those that have never run an airport or any successful flight enterprise ,,
      The future has to be made , and I believe airfreight will be busier and if ever increasing importance .
      Those who come to negative conclusions are blind to the obvious , the report states that more tunnel or channel blockages to Britains trade is unlikely !
      What a dumb stupid conclusion , the French are forever making trade and life held to ransom, this year as in many many others . Manston I hope gets grant chaps support , because britain needs more transport connections not less ,, we are going to do more trade with the rest of the world and the pacific basin countries , all of this future trade expansion makes perfect sense for manston to go ahead !
      And I think Ove Arup have completely overlooked the case for britain expanding its trade with the rest of the world !
      Making manston vastly more necessary !
      Wake up people and continue to support what we all know will be a great benefit to Thanet ! Don’t let the doom and gloom merchants kill off what we all want open again and trading successfully

      • I think you seem to be disregarding the evidence. Report after report has independently come to the same conclusion over years. This airport is not needed, is not viable. What makes you believe otherwise? Your view is only really valid if you’ve got millions in your back pocket and you’re willing to put that money where your mouth is. Or someone else is. RSP chose to apply for a DCO. Their application, shoddily put together and drawing only on their own ‘expert’ with anecdotal ‘evidence’ and calculations of demand and jobs emphatically destroyed and dismissed by actual experts, has been found wanting again and again. No amount of wishi g will change that. Yes, there’s trade to be had, yes, there’s cargo needing to be imported but that does not mean Manston is the answer- all the experts agree that. Why not instead hope fir entrepreurial guts ( and money) is invested in Thanet in ways that will bring actual jobs which is surely what everyone wants?

      • Anne Gloag bought it because the debt that came with it could be offset agaisnt her other company profits , as such she bought a big chunk of land for next to nothing (or taxpayers cash if you will). Don’t expect she has any interest in what finally happens either way she’ll be quids in.

  12. How many nails have to be hammered into Manston (closed) Airport’s coffin before the spivs and crooks give up pretending to revive a corpse. Count Dracula would be proud. There are no jobs, and anyway, as Sir Roger Gale of RiverOak said in Parliament recently, there are hundreds of unfilled jobs in Thanet. Why don’t the jobless apply for them? Let’s support clean green industry on the Manston site, not a dirty polluting airport or more houses.

  13. Manston would make a marvellous wood. Replace the other woods of Thanet that have disappeared for farmland and now concrete with boxes.

  14. Ah yes good point. Roger Gale did indeed speak in Parliament just the other week about the huge number of unfilled jobs in Thanet. These jobs are also real, unlike RSPs made up jobs.

  15. MR X, please know the facts before you assume. The Cargo Hub never went bust it was profitable. I can quote you the income and expenditure of that side of the operation. Propaganda and fake news was all part of the ploy to try and convince the public and others why Gloag wanted to close it she had her own agenda.

    • William

      So a cargo hub with no fuel grid, miles from anywhere in the bottom right hand corner of England.

      I cant workout why there arent cargo hubs at lands end !! Lol could it be like manston has poor infrastructure ? No decent roads ? No rail yard ? No fuel gride ? Why would a haulage company want to spend more time in traffic jams, higher fuel Bill’s, and higher coast all round

    • so why exactly would Infratil sell a viable airport for £1 – they wouldn’t! apparently it was losing £10,000 per day

  16. It was up for sale long before Ann Gloag bought it and err, nobody wanted it. If it was so amazingly successful why did it go bust and get put up for sale?

    • Something I have asked many times-where were Riveroak, SHP etc when nobody wanted it all those years back? Gloag got it for a quid because there was zero interest, then a year or so later all these groups are wanting to pay millions for it!

  17. William, please do share with us all the revenue and expenditure figures for freight at Manston during its period of operation.

  18. In the New Year, Anne will be announcing that she is heading up a consortium of investors to buy out RSP and build her own airport.

  19. I wonder if all the people who are so against the airport will be happy with a new housing estate there, with all the congestion,car emissions and inadequate services in Thanet. It seems to me that either airport or housing, it’s a no win situation.

    • Yay, someone has made the usual ridiculous comment of ‘airport or houses’ that has gets debunked every time. – On the plus side I can have another drink (the first one was for Ann and her normal ‘I know something you don’t know’ nonsense).

        • Well, I think the land at Manston could be used for a large solar farm and a considerable volume of new housing so as to avoid losing good agricultural land elsewhere.

          • Yea ” Ridiculous comments” of considerable volume of “housing” comes to mind. As I said, either way it’s a no win situation. Airport = problem. Housing = problem. Watever happens, you won’t please everyone. Maybe just leave it as it is, let it get overgrown, and then you have a wildlife sanctuary.

    • The houses are coming anyway. Why do you think Thanet Parkway Station is currently being built at an insane cost – to serve the handful of people who live in Cliffsend now or to serve the thousands who’ll be moving to a new housing estate in the area over the next 10 years? Manston Airport is a non-starter as a business and opening it isn’t going to save Thanet from thousands of new homes.

        • Because it is easy for office workers to work from home and commute quickly to London. The opportunity for local employment that Thanet needs is being lost.

          • Paul, Manston is a huge brownfield site that is in private hands. Anyone owning that amount of land wants/needs to make money from it. So, despite our desire for parkland or any other open green space, it’s unlikely to happen. However, SHP’s plans DID allow for a very green, mixed use development that wasn’t simply dense housing. A shame that those owners were so villified. Fir those homes would have contributed to the targets that our council are required by government to deliver. So houses not built on Manston have had to be planned for and built elsewhere. This was inevitable. An airport on that site would not have prevented homes being built and woukd cause far more damage to our environment, local economy and individual health than any number of homes.

    • Paul Link. Thanks to the constant pushing for a cargo hub, an extra 5k houses are coming and being built on green spaces and agricultural land. It’s only our MPs and airport supporting cllrs who have scaremongered residents to think it can only be houses or an airport. When there are plenty of options, we are just too downtrodden to accept that we deserve something better. Perhaps residents will see the light and get these people who are supposed to work for us to start doing their jobs and look outside the box on what this site can offer Thanet.

  20. Ooh, a forest at Manston? Now that would be a better way to go. That would save trekking all the way to Blean to see some proper woods. Nice suggestion Clare. Any other votes for forest & solar park?

    • I think the ex-airport should have a mixed-use development , just like Stone Hill Park’s owners proposed.

  21. GOVERNMENT ASSESSOR CONFIRMS NO NEED FOR A NEW CARGO AIRPORT AT MANSTON, KENT

    * In a report published today, the Secretary of State for Transport’s appointed Independent Assessor, Ove Arup & Partners Ltd, confirms there is no need for a new freight airport at the former Manston Airport site in SE Kent.

    * Ove Arup’s report concludes there have been no significant changes that would lead to a different conclusion than that reached by the Planning Inspectorate’s ExA Report in 2019, which concluded there was “no need case” for the development proposed by RiverOak Strategic Partners.

    * Ramsgate resident Jenny Dawes, whose successful Judicial Review resulted in Secretary of State Grant Shapps having to withdraw his previous Development Consent Order for Manston in 2020, says: ‘I am cautiously pleased by the findings of the Independent Assessor’s report and am now preparing a detailed response to the Secretary of State.’

    * Build Back Greener, the Government’s Net Zero Strategy, published this week, states: “We will support significant shifts from road and air to rail” for both passengers and freight.

    * Build Back Greener also confirms that the NetZero pathway for international aviation is based on Dept for Transport forecasts for aviation demand and CO2 emissions from UK airports. These forecasts did not include Manston.

    * Secretary of State Grant Shapps has today written to The Applicant and Interested Parties, inviting comments on the report by 19 November 2021.

  22. Turn it into a country park. With a huge boating lake. No planes no houses just land for the people to enjoy.

  23. What more does the SoS need?
    Report after report, over almost a decade, have concluded that Manston and commercial aviation are not likely.
    Ove Arup, commissioned by the SoS, have agreed with the findings of the ExA: there is no need for Manston as a freight hub.
    Time to put the lid on it?

  24. Here’s some great excerpts, but Manston supporters please do continue to discount or ignore these FACTS again, as they don’t suit your narrative. Perhaps just shout. That’s a great approach!… Feet stamping and intimidation also works well for Ann.

    – On saying LHR expansion will not go forward “ANPS is considered an important and relevant consideration to the determination of the application… ANPS is currently in effect…. And would not be reviewed (by SoS).“
    – On climate commitments: “ individual promoters need to demonstrate that their proposal would not jeopardise the achievement of the sector-wide goal… they introduce new goals around the carbon impact of airport operations and domestic aviation emissions which should be considered by the Secretary of State.”
    – On those against Manston: “The ExA noted that there had been a SIGNIFICANT level of objections associated with matters relevant to the airport. i.e. not a handful, as SMAa always claim.
    – On the local plan: “The adopted Local Plan does not advance the need case for the development from that presented at Examination.”
    – On the need: “When airfreights volume are compared to the increase in e-commerce (over the period 2009-2019) there does not appear to be any correlation… airfreights market share has effectively remained unchanged compared to sea freight… the air freight sector’s market share, as noted, has remained unchanged at 1.5% since 2009.” I.e. dismissing the fallacy that there had been a drastic increase in need for airfreight, over other means.
    – On the need: “ Air freight goods are then stored in strategically located distribution centres.” This also made specific mention of low volume, ‘high value’ goods being the only viable freight, with it going into those disti centres… oh, the ones in EMA!
    – Need: “ the Independent Assessor does not agree with the Applicant’s position that growing e-commerce sales are driving a demand for additional runway capacity.”
    – Location: “ It is also the case that EMA (and to a lesser extent Stansted) are better located in relation to the main origins and destinations of cargo in the UK (also previously concluded by the ExA for example at E.R 5.6.26 and E.R 5.6.33).”
    – Need: “ Once the long-haul passenger market starts to recover, it is expected that the market will revert to the use of bellyhold freight capacity for air cargo movements… while there is a (current) reduction in bellyhold capacity, the Independent Assessor does not consider it to be that significant.”
    – Piper’s groundless comments: “Cllr Rev Stuart Piper’s claim that dedicated freighters would alleviate the problem of blockades at Dover, but (these goods are) not a natural market for air freight, a mode generally associated with high-value and/or long-distance trade…. (his statement) is not, however, supported by evidence.”

    • Too many facts Matador! How ANYONE can claim it will be a success needs to have their heads examined. They just tie themselves up in knots and stamp and shout ‘but it’s always been an airport, or just get the airport open again’. I liken them to MAGA supporters. Just waiting for the conspiracy theories on how ‘independent’ the report is and ‘it’s rigged’ comments!

  25. I read a lot of negativity in many comments the airport was viable with passenger flights and cargo it’s the anti airport wingers that done that.With the up and coming railway station work started recently there would be ample room for air and rail transport straight from airplanes onto rail no need for lorries clogging up our roads there is ample room to create a rail head connecting to the main line. It worked in the past.

    • Deary, deary me!
      The “negativity” is completely justified: as confirmed by reports and expert opinion of the likes of the Davies Commission, Falcon Aviation, York Aviation, Altitude Aviation, Avia report, the Examining Authority and now Ove Arup.
      What more do you need?
      As to your comments about the new railway station: it’s no where near Manston, and it’s a passenger station – Manston is proposed as a cargo hub.
      Viable? It was losing £10,000 a day at the end, and lost £Millions when it was open.

    • “I read a lot of negativity in many comments” true because this has gone way beyond reasonableness
      “the airport was viable with passenger flights and cargo” never has made a profit ever
      “With the up and coming railway station work started recently there would be ample room for air and rail transport straight from airplanes onto rail no need for lorries clogging up our roads there is ample room to create a rail head connecting to the main line” it is an unmanned passenger station
      “It worked in the past.” when? where?

    • Brian, what do you know that endless experts over years do not? What expertise and experience do you have?

  26. Cllr Stuart Piper was reported to TDC standards regarding his behaviour as an RTC councillor by suggesting to the secretary of state their was some impropriety regarding RTC commissioning independent advice for Manston The complaint was upheld and it was pointed out Mr Piper’s behaviour was unacceptable.

  27. Manston is too much of a strategical asset for it to be built over with houses or anything else if does not open as a cargo hub or general airport it will be taken over by the RAF or by the American Air Force regardless it will used as airport for national security.

    • RAF/USAF pulling out of sites left, right and centre, why on earth would they want to relocate in Manston rather than just stay at an existing site with all their facilities already there ?!?! That’s like all the mad suggestions that companies would move from their existing and well established sites at Gatwick and East Midlands !!

  28. Wow Bill that is the biggest load of codswallop I have ever heard about Manston and I’ve heard some Gems. The USAAF left years ago because the noise over Ramsgate was unsustainable. The RAF pulled out too. The RAF have pulled out of so many airfields why would they want to return to Manston. Pure fantasy.

  29. Oh dear Bill, ever more desperate. The RAF and the USAF both ran away from Manston. It fulfills no strategic need. It fulfills no economic need. Tony Freudman ran it into the ground to the point that Anne Gloag could buy it for £1 (only if she also took on its considerable debgts) and now the same man is trying to convince everyone that he is fit to run an airport. You might want to search for his other failed airport projects. Manston was not the first time he went bust pretending to run an airport, and if you get your way it won’t be the last time either.

  30. Best news I’ve heard all year. Let’s open manston movie studios instead and make a film about all of this. Bill Murray can play grant Schapps, and the bloke the bloke who plays Ian Beal can do Tony F.

  31. Grant Shapps is going to find it difficult to ignore yet another report which examines the airport’s prospects and comes to the inevitable conclusion that the chance of success is slight to the point of non existence.
    The DFT lost the JR over Manston, as it did over Stonehenge and others, so it is becoming a failed department. Boris J will tolerate a certain amount of buffoonery, but not serial failure. Shapps will have to toe the line vis COP26 and Manston is an offering that could be served up, oven ready for slaughter. Add in the fact that Roger Gale is not on BJ’s Christmas card list and you can see the symmetry.
    Thanet is not in the levelling up north and consistently votes tory on a reliable basis, so there is not much to lose in beating a retreat on the DCO.
    THANET parkway on the other hand, had a lot of wire pulling from the Discovery park and the backing of KCC and no doubt the big 6 housebuilders,so it sailed through, even though its economics were equally weak.
    Bill ,Anne, Brian and Cllr Piper, are not really bothered by facts. It is pointless to bombard them with facts or to belittle them, as nothing you can say or do will alter their mind set. Their internal clocks stopped in 1974,and because of this they rail against the modern world and all its works. Because they don’t understand it they try to smash it, and in some cases they have succeeded. Brexit, Anti Vax protests, Statue wars, are causes to be defended with shouty firmness and in some cases violence. Wokeness, BLM, Climate change, are all anti patriotic, lefty causes, that should be fought with vigour. Add in a strong element of misogyny and what you have is a cult or religion. Not all will subscribe to this description, but you can see a strand of commonality in much of it.
    In the long term we are all dead, as JR Keynes once opined, but in the meantime, their noisy reactionary politics can do a lot of damage.
    The antidote: firm, fair, polite statement of facts without personal asides. Politeness drives them mad, they want a reaction, if they don’t get it, their adrenalin will not kick in, and they will look silly, rather than angry or profound.

  32. Sir Roger Oak sends a press release confirming that he wont be giving Ann any more information about Manston as she always ends up posting it here. He also disagrees with the findings of the report, as jobs are desperately needed despite the 1 million vacancies countrywide

  33. Coming next week, karaoke fundraiser by the sinkhole on the runway. Top tunes to be belted out will include:

    Fantasy Island, sung by Roger Gale with Madeline Homer on tambourine.

    Let it Go, sung by Tony Freudmann with Anne playing the triangle.

    Sorry seems to be the hardest word, sung by Craig MacKinlay with backing dancing troupe ‘Unicorns n Co’ trotting round the sinkhole whinnying.

    Tickets 25p each with a raffle ticket included to win a one way ticket to Prestwick Airport.

  34. We are all geared up to throw more money to support Jane’s JR if another idiotic decision comes from the SoS. Opposition numbers to the freight hub are far higher than the Save Manston crew would like to believe. Hence the huge amount we ploughed into backing the JR. My family and friends are poised to donate further as required and double our previous donations. If Jane doesn’t need it, she deserves to spend it as she wishes, with our blessing. What a fabulous independent report, but I understand how it must be very demoralising for those that still wish to save Manston. That report is going to deter any investors as no one is going to plough millions into a Business case that is not of national significance, not needed, lacks viability and has been publicly and officially/expertly slated.

  35. So much toxic gas expelled by the anti airport brigade will no doubt be of much concern to all of Ramsgates, residents. Maybe when all the green spaces (and yes Manston, like all airports has huge untouched green areas where wildlife thrive) are built on, you can moan about something else, but of course you’ve ‘saved the planet and you’re so ‘green and yes you certainly are.

      • You are completely right Egon. The loss of the green landscape would be absolutely criminal! People don’t realise what a huge blight on the landscape, and on all the history of the old airfield, this massive freight hub would be if allowed to go ahead. Thank god it won’t!

  36. My first reactions have been posted elsewhere, but I have been urged to repeat them here to the IOTN’s wider readership. Before doing so, it is worth observing, too, that for a report that the Secretary of State commissioned to respond to a DCO Decision Letter that on need was criticised as lacking a sufficient or clear enough explicit evidence base, this Report is singularly lacking in evidence and has taken an inordinate amount of time for Arup to produce. Others, here, have pointed to many of its conclusions but have not taken in the fact that those conclusions are exceptionally poorly evidenced. It is exceedingly easy to point to evidence that IS contrary to the conclusions of Arup, not least in relevant representations to the first round of responses to the Secretary of State’s Consultation that followed the agreement to quash the DCO precisely in order to address a number of specific questions. There is, in the Arup Report, no evidence at all that the actual author(s) of the Arup Report read any of those responses even though they were sent all of them back in the summer of this year if not even earlier. Frankly, the Arup Report is considerably less persuasive than a number of those earlier responses.

    • One earlier response was that of the ExA; that response, you may recall, reccommended that the DCO application be rejected.
      And when it comes to “an inordinate amount of time ” an exemplar is that if the SoS himself, who prevaricated for months and months before his delivering his inadequate decision.

    • I have been urged to ask you, John, for the benefit of the wider IOTN readership, whether you have ever, just for a moment, contemplated the humbling possibility that you could be wrong?

      • Yes, Mike. And I’m quite happy to amend or delete comments I post if I make mistakes or have failed to consider the merits of contrary evidence or analyses.

      • Perhaps he could regale us with stories of his former interest Wantsum Savers or Konner Collins the fake war hero/shoplifter/NHS bed blocker ?

    • On one point I’ll happily concede that I regret some of what I wrote above, Mike. Clearly, the ARUP Draft Report refers to a number of views and evidence submitted by individuals and groups during the first round of responses to the Secretary of State’s Statement of Matters. It is the weight given to those submissions, and undue credibility given to others, that is deplorable, and that contributes to the imbalance in the Draft Report. I’m sure that many of us will have much, much more to say about that in our formal contributions to the second, final round of responses to the Secretary of State’s Statement of Matters over the the course of the next four weeks (now less one day).

      • If, in a court of law, the jury overwhelmingly finds the defendant “guilty”, would you say that the jury had exhibited an “imbalance” in considering the evidence? Or might it be the case that the evidence of guilt was incontrovertible overwhelming?
        I can see that if you were the defendant’s mum, you might have less than charitable thoughts about the judge, jury and lawyers.
        But the chap was still guilty!

      • A question for you Andrew. If you were seeking advice on a medical issue would you place greater weight on the consistent advice of the 6 of the most experienced medical specialists in the UK or should information provided by an unqualified person, with no relevant experience, be given equal weighting?

        There is a real problem in this country with know-nothingers thinking they know better than the experts when it suits them!

    • Until of cousre one comes along that says ‘yes Manston is great open up again’ that will suffice. Not sure what you are a Doctor of John but is certanly not one of common sense and pragmatism. Accept that you have lost the argument and the only reason this debacle has got so far, is known to us all.

    • Robert you want up to date info then explain how during an uplift on e-commerce during the COVID hiatus air cargo decreased by 20 percent

  37. These were my first reactions to the Arup report on the afternoon when it was published. “I have just read the draft Arup Report that the Secretary of State for Transport has commissioned and now received in relation to the case for the Need for RiverOak Strategic Partners’ project to seek Development Consent for the Applicant’s plan to reinstate and greatly develop the infrastructure of Manston Airport. To say that I have read it with mounting horror and fury is an understatement. I am incandescent with rage. In a nutshell, ARUP and CBRE have together produced a piece of rubbish (not the first term that comes to mind, but it will have to do).
    “The conclusion of the Secretary of State’s appointed Independent Consultants, to cut to the chase, is that the Examining Authority’s Report and Recommendation were dead right and that nothing that has taken place since that would warrant a different conclusion than that reached by the Examining Authority. On both these points, the Conclusions of the Independent Consultants at the end of their forty-one page report are quite simply and demonstrably WRONG.
    “These Consultants, alas, are not lawyers and they have taken no legal advice before determining that the Case for Need was not met by the Applicant. Instead, they have applied criteria that are simply irrelevant in law, and in doing so they have followed the Examining Authority who again went down the wrong rabbit hole. It isn’t that they haven’t a clue: both the ARUP and the Examining Authority ignored the fact that after purchasing nearly all of the airport land the relevance of “Need” for the airport was best determined by the Developers and their Investors, not as previously when the acquisition of the airport land had to meet higher tests suitable in cases where the compulsory acquisition of a high percentage of the airport estate would have been required to complete the development. If the investors were satisfied that the development was going to be profitable and meritorious, then that must be good enough to satisfy the legal test where need, just need, was concerned. ARUP and the Examining Authority both erred — and fatally — in failing to engage fully or appropriately on that issue and in failing to produce compelling reasons for not engaging on it.
    “It is, further, absurd to suggest that nothing has changed in relation to need since the Report and Recommendations of the Examining Authority that looked back over an Examination conducted between January and July of 2019. For a start, we exited the EU and had a pandemic, we have seen a collection of new trade treaties and the prospect of others that may depart significantly from EU law and practice. We have seen sanctionist measures strengthen in some markets and can expect the folly and futility of those to become ever more evident over time. We have seen supply chain interruptions and world wide shortages of commodities and components that customers can only hope to address in short measure by reliance upon air transport — and those shortages are far more likely than not to continue for years, not months. “We’ve seen the politics of air travel and cargo movements challenged — and we’ve seen the air transport industry ramp up its responses to those challenges. The need for international transport of goods is clearly going to outstrip passenger travel in many jurisdictions for years to come — and in those jurisdictions, the UK bellyhold freight arguments will not hold water (indeed, across the planet, they rarely did anyway). “Most importantly of all, due to Climate Change issues, the switch from wide-bodied to narrow-bodied aircraft for air passengers is clearly going to change the size of the market for cheap bellyhold cargo shipments: wide-bodied aircraft are being turned into dedicated freighters or are being sent off for recycling centres (and yes, there is still a huge shortage in places that can break-down and recycle decommissioned aircraft: sending such aircraft off to desert graveyards is not eco-sensitive, and the arguments in favour of recycling unwanted aircraft have never been more powerful than today.
    Further, the decision-taker who originally granted the Development Consent Order Secretary of State ought to have engaged in a further legal analysis of the merits of the decision, taken in the name of the Secretary of State, with a view to improving upon it, for it was the wording of that part of the Decision (and its sufficiency) that was conceded to be ‘difficult to follow’ (to put it at its highest) in relation to Need, not the conclusion itself. There is, in this Draft Report, NO legal analysis at all, and that’s scarcely surprising as ARUP were not engaged as lawyers (that’s not to say that they weren’t free to sub-commission legal advisors).
    Finally, what jumps out to me on my first reading of the ARUP Report is that it rejects the Applicant’s emphasis upon the value of the goods that the Airport could handle if developed as the Applicant proposed, and posits instead that the tonnage was the most relevant consideration. It ought to have been self-evident to ARUP (and one hopes that the decision-maker at the Department for Transport will see), that if tonnage were the most important factor, then no other airport should undertake freight operations because very large bulk cargo transport ships can carry vastly more tonnage and at vastly less expense than can be transported by aircraft. The reason people and commercial enterprises ship goods by sea is that they want those goods to arrive quickly and that doing so by air freight is either necessary or more profitable for them. It really is that simple. How could ARUP screw that up and strip their threads when doing so?
    So what now? Well, I think that Arup will read comments like these but pay little or no heed to them. They will just double down on what they have now concluded in this draft. But that won’t be the end of this. Not by a long shot. The decisionmaker at the Department for Transport who will act independently on behalf of the Secretary of State WILL have to take more legal advice (and indeed may already have been doing that behind the scenes), and in the end, the decision that will be taken will turn on the advice of LEGAL opinions and advice, not rubbish like the Draft Arup Report.

    • I sincerely hope you are not holding yourself out to be a lawyer yourself Dr Pritchard.

      As you will be aware it is a criminal offence for someone to call themselves a solicitor or act as a solicitor if they are not on the roll of solicitors.

    • Thanks you for your comments Dr Pritchard. As these are only your first reactions, I am truly looking forward to hearing your more detailed response.

      I cannot believe how poorly internationally reknowned aviation consultants such as Arup, York Aviation, Falcon, Avia, Altitude, ASA etc have performed when they can so easily be shown up yourself despite you having no expertise in the field of aviation.

      Is it a conspiracy?

  38. Before anyone of us does sit down to respond to the second round of the Secretary of State’s Consultation (following the publication of the ARUP report), we should take the time to consider the many responses to the first round of that Consultation process, for there is more substance and much more thought-provoking in many of those than there is in the Arup Report. THAT is worth underscoring, and to borrow the meme of a brilliant former Master of the Rolls, Lord Denning, ought to have a bright red hand put up on a notice with a finger pointing to it, for the attention of the unwary, over-hasty and those ignorant of it.

    • Thanks for that, Pritchard. Here I was thinking that perhaps Arup, York Aviation, Avia Solutions (General Electric), Altitude Aviation, Quod, The UK Planning Inspectorate and virtually every other reputable, expert and independent authority who has looked at the evidence might know a thing or two about this. Silly me. Should know by now that you and your mates on Facebook know best.

      Incidentally, Arup Report does indeed refer to some of those Relevant Representations – including those you submitted under the guise of “Kent Needs Manston Airport”, which the Arup report specifically mentioned and calls out for being “incorrect”.

      Nice try.

      • ‘Pritchard!’ – Mr Chester, your ignorance regarding common decency comes to the fore. Regardless of opposing views, addressing a person correctly should be maintained unless you are ill educated and know no better.

        • I’m not sure that Prichard is entitled to “common decency “. He has, on these pages and elsewhere, trampled roughshod over the sensibilities of those opposed to the airport.

          Professor Emeritus Dame Sir Phyllis Quot OBE, BEM, BBC, BBQ (with bar)

    • But those who commented saying they wanted an airport did not give good enough reasons for RSP’s plans to be accepted.

      Arup is a long-standing firm with a good reputation – they clearly were not going to compromise that reputation by pandering to a small localized pro-airport group.

    • If you’re not happy with this outcome, you have a remedy.
      You and your SMAs colleagues could dig deep in your pockets and seek a JR.
      Or you could simply accept that the considered opinion of almost a dozen aviation experts has merit, and the Manston as an airport is a dead duck.

    • Perhaps Dr. Pritchard could refer us to those many more substantial and thought-provoking responses, which he has found on the Planning Inspectorate’s website. Does he mean the factual and well-researched comments made by many people who don’t want an airport at Manston? Has he had a sudden conversion to common-sense?

    • The “substantial and thought-provoking responses” to which you refer, lead the ExA to decide, for several reasons, not the grant the DCO

  39. My initial thoughts have also been shared elsewhere but I’m also happy to share them here, also for the IOTN wider readership.

    I think you’ll find the Arup report disputes your fanciful claims John, and most others from the vocal minority who persist in the pipedream.

    Do keep feeding the unicorns, it is, if nothing else, very entertaining.

  40. My initial thoughts have also been shared elsewhere but I’m also happy to share them here, also for the IOTN wider readership, and to inflate my own ego a bit more, like Dr Preacher does.

    We should be wise to acquiesce with the many evidence-based tenets motioned before by luminaries such as Gale, Piper or indeed, I. The airfield must remain a blotch in our countryside, useless but a permanent scar reminding us of the scars bore by our forefathers.

  41. Hi Doc, there most certainly is a lack of evidence: a lack of evidence that we need an airport built on top of our houses. The courts themselves said the same thing, “hey schapps, where’s your evidence?” It isn’t up to arup to supply evidence for the need for an airport, merely for them to examine any evidence as to whether we need one, and they can’t find any. Indeed your lack of any evidence as to the necessity of an airport IS evidence enough that we don’t need one.

  42. Funny that Pritchard’s latest rant should talk about “folly”.

    Dictionary definition of folly is “a costly building with no practical purpose”.

    A cargo airport for which there is no demonstrable need, for example.

    As for ‘respect’, this is something that is earned and – much like planning permission – should never be assumed, expected or automatically granted purely upon ownership of title.

    Being an educated type, I am respectful of a panel of actual expert examiners – eg Arup, UK Planning Inspectorate – who between them have spent months poring over every minute detail of this application and used their professional judgement and considerable experience to arrive at the only rational conclusion. There is little or no respect shown for such professionals here from Mr/Dr/Whatever Pritchard who insists on believing he knows better than all of them, despite being unable to grasp the very basic concept of what “quashed” means or that ownership of land or property does not automatically mean you can do what you like with it.

  43. Press release from Jenny Dawes team
    CONTINUING DELAY IN PAYMENT OF LEGAL COSTS BY
    RIVEROAK STRATEGIC PARTNERS IN RELATION TO MANSTON JR
    * In a letter published today on the Planning Inspectorate website, alongside the report of the Secretary of State for Transport’s appointed Independent Assessor, Ove Arup & Partners Ltd, questions are raised about RiverOak Strategic Partners’ commitment to the DCO process.
    * The Secretary of State has had to ask once again for information initially requested in June of this year in relation to RiverOak’s Application, but which he has yet to receive. RiverOak are required to provide details of their progress in negotiation with local landowners regarding compulsory purchase of land, with the Ministry of Defence in relation to their High Resolution Direction Finder, currently located within the Manston boundaries, and with Network Rail.
    * In addition the Secretary of State again requests updates to RiverOak’s environmental and historic environment impact reports.
    * He also requests feedback from RiverOak regarding the impact on their Application of the Net Zero and decarbonisation papers.
    * In addition to the paucity of information reaching the Secretary of State for Transport from RiverOak, the Civil Aviation Authority has twice refused RiverOak’s Airspace Change Process application to proceed to the next stage, for failing to fulfil the necessary criteria.
    * Secretary of State Grant Shapps has given a deadline of 19 November 2021 for these further responses.
    * It is worthy of note that, whilst the Department of Transport has paid their portion of the costs of the Judicial Review, as ordered by the Court, RiverOak continues to delay their payment.

    • Would someone remind me: was it RSP that offered to donate £150,000 towards tree-planting in Thanet?
      Can anyone confirm that RSP’s actual donation is a fraction of that sum?

      Professor Dame Sir Phillidia Quot, OBE, OTT, TNT, ITN etc …

      • I do believe you’re right Dr Sir Lady Phillidia Ma’am. My understanding is that they’ve paid significantly less than half, and will only pay the rest if the airport gets planning permission, one way or another. Strange kind of donation. More like an arm-twister. Denis the Menace would be proud.

  44. I note Pritchard has posted his usual inane waffle here. I seem to remember him saying Jenny Dawes JR application stood no chance of being heard, then it won’t be successful. Later when it was conceded by the SoS & RSP because they couldn’t back up their position (the first ever DCO to be quashed by the way!) he said it was a just a simple matter of the SoS rewriting his decision letter with more information again WRONG. Seems he knows FA as he was wrong on all counts.

    • And it seemed he previously seemed to have a lot of faith in Arup to deliver the verdict he wanted in a quote from July 2021

      R. John Pritchard
      “Firstly, these people really are experts: see https://www.arup.com/expertise/industry/aviation
      Secondly, the DFT know what they want to achieve and where to go to get what they want by people who have not previously been involved.
      Manston Airport IS going to be saved. The DFT are perfectly aware that this Airport is vital to preserve and that this Project will provide Nationally Significant Infrastructure that is being funded by inward investment. That’s a win-win situation at a time when the need for it has never been greater at any time since it was turned over to private corporate management.”

  45. SMAa Admin Liam Coyle must also be red faced after pumping out misplaced optimism to the faithful
    · 26 July ·
    “Several people are asking “what’s the state of play now, what’s happening?”

    Currently we are still held up by the Department of Transport, the Secretary of State, granted the DCO, so what has changed , well, basically nothing, the letter granting the Decision, and the reasons for so doing, sadly were not as strongly written as they should have been, but only in a very small way…just sufficient for those opposed to apply for a Judicial Review….There was no hearing, so no victory can be claimed, it was never “tested “ in court…Why, ? Because the DfT conceded, and withdrew, meaning that the Judge , “in chambers “ had no legal option but to quash the Decision…
    The key point, it was only on the grounds of “Need”, which hadn’t been fully explained in the Letter Granting the DCO, just that one point…

    The DfT appointed an independent Consultancy, Ove Arup, a huge international group of professionals in many areas of construction, to examine the question of need, as such, all the recent submissions from the interested parties have been forwarded to them for assessment, as they prepare to deliver their report to the DfT, and thus the SoS, or rather his appointed Minister, to again deliver the Decision…We, nor RSP expect anything other than a positive response, thus the DCO, will be granted, as we were told, that should still be this year, and the sooner the better..”

  46. Dear Dr Pritchard,
    sometimes in the wee small hours you may consider why the proposal from RSP on Manston is not considered the fantastic opportunity for Thanet, by at least a substantial number of people in Ramsgate, or perhaps more pertinently, by recognised experts in the field of aviation and engineering, not forgetting the planning inspectors who spent months listening to much of the same evidence you have published here and from others of a similar ilk.
    I know there have been instances in the past where contrary views or opinions have become mainstream, but they are few and far between, and required extraordinary evidence to back up extraordinary claims. Copernicus and Kepler did just that with the heliocentric orbit theory. Darwin produced masses of evidence to sustain his theory of evolution, unfortunately Fred Hoyle never got to see his steady state theory of the universe accepted by his peers, for all his persuasiveness, simply because the corroborative evidence on the big bang theory was overwhelming.
    it does seem to me that the proposal of Manston operating as a viable & profitable airport is on a par with believing in a flat earth. Interesting but in the long term unsatisfying. It is possible some kind of aviation might be possible, such as business jets, or as a flying club, but even then the market is slim, as Lydd is not far away.
    The problem with Manston is its location. East Midlands is located in the middle of England and is strategically placed to serve all the warehouse and transport hubs that serve most of England and the UK. Any traffic coming from Manston has to overcome the hurdle of the M25, which adds at least an hour onto any journey and increases fuel and other costs, above and beyond what can be expected from other locations.
    If we limit the market to London and the South East, there is competition from Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Luton and Southend. Even Lydd is better placed than Manston.
    Manston might have made more sense if a trade with Europe was contemplated, but alas the trade barriers with the EU are now so substantial, that it makes more sense to fly to any number of airports in northern Europe.
    Arups are well respected consultants and they have no interest either way, in the matter, therefore dismissing their evidence out of hand is not worthy of someone who appears to hold his academic credentials most dearly.
    Sometimes you have to admit defeat, accept that you have fought a brave fight and move on. Someone who holds contrarian views in the face of overwhelming evidence is not a hero, he is just silly, a figure of fun, of no consequence. Don’t end your career on a bitter note, use your talents to benefit the community elsewhere.
    RSP are not worthy of your esteem, they don’t pay their bills promptly, and their efforts with the CAA have fallen flat. The DFT has got itself into a jam, because of the snake oil salesmanship of certain politicians and the manipulation of some devious individuals.
    Its time to call a halt, to look for more profitable opportunities, and for the community to mend internal fences, and to forgive and forget. I find the misogyny expressed to Ms Dawes to be reprehensible, and unworthy of the individuals who express it, we need an ending to all this conflict. Thanet cannot afford to spend any more time on this backward looking project.

    • Not that is a wondeful reply. Well written and well constructed ( and no we are not known to each other) Ill informed people setting themselves up as so called ‘experts’ spouting out insane nonsense whlst happy to let the area go to rack and ruin for the sake of an ideal. They should all be ashamed of themselves more so our two so called MP’s and the Tories on TDC. Well said Mr Noakes

  47. RSP has responded:

    “Having read the Assessor’s report – which didn’t take long – it is clear that it is an amateur and poorly constructed report. Setting aside the numerous grammatical errors and typos – not to mention the reference at para 1.3 to a section on the sixth Carbon Budget that the author has then apparently forgotten to even write – the content of this report does not address the broader strategic need case set out in the Secretary of State’s original decision letter and is little more than a by-the-numbers review of the Examining Authority’s previous report, and series of opaque assertions using pre-2019 data, with little or no detailed analysis or reasoning behind any of the conclusions drawn.

    To be honest, we have come to the conclusion that someone has accidentally sent an unfinished draft to the Department of Transport.

    For a report designed to inform the Government’s decision making on the nation’s long term global airfreight capacity needs, the thinking behind it appears firmly stuck in a pre-COVID past. It takes no account of the need for greater resilience in our logistics infrastructure the pandemic has highlighted, the permanent disruption to the traditional ‘just-in-time’ business model that has occurred – and the requirement for enhanced cross border trading infrastructure required to address this – nor even the constraints at existing airports pre-COVID that will re-appear as the industry recovers and will only get worse in the medium to longer term. The report therefore neither defines or deals with the need for Manston and pays absolutely no attention to the big picture strategic requirements of the UK in a post-pandemic, post-Brexit global market.

    As aviation propositions go, Manston is unique – because it will be built to be Carbon Net Zero from scratch, providing a model for future airport planning. It represents a perfect opportunity for the UK Government to demonstrate how it can deliver on its commitment to grow the aviation sector, whilst still meeting its decarbonisation targets, a model approach which UK expertise can then export around the world. It also provides the prospect of becoming a flagship levelling-up project, by providing much needed economic and employment stimulus to one of the UK’s most deprived areas – yet none of these considerations even feature in the report. Lower GDP will lower air freight demand? How about trying to increase GDP by increasing trading opportunities?

    Effectively, this report concludes that the Secretary of State should look in the rear view mirror to try and plan the future. How embarrassing. We need to be looking forward to a new, decarbonised aviation industry, serving the UK’s global trading and levelling up ambitions. We will be responding in depth, in due course.”

    • That’s very petty and surely won’t help their case.

      For £150,000, I think Arup must have provided a more detailed report. On the basis Arup have intimated they completely agreed with the EXA, it’s likely the published report is a scaled back version designed not to embarrass the minister who granted the DCO. I suspect RSP wouldn’t like the more detailed report!!

  48. In my many years of working in and for both Local and National Government, I don’t think I’ve ever read such an unprofessional opinion.

  49. You have to really admire the self-confidence of the RSP lot, trying to bamboozle the doubts of their ardent supporters by conflating net zero airport operation with decarbonisation (yes, if all airports in the world were carbon-neutral, airplanes using them would still emit filth) and weaponising poverty in Thanet (driven by policies encouraging tax minimisation, which RSP knows well, being based in tax haven).

    RSP, when are you settling your debts?

    • They’ll settle the debts when the Court makes them, I imagine. At present they’re still wrangling about them. Sore losers all round really.

  50. I don’t understand how anyone could possibly imagine that RSP are qualified and able to run an airport. Their DCO submissions were so appallingly bad they had to be redone several times. They’ve had two attempts to get Airspace Change approval through the CAA and failed both times. Tony Freudman certainly has a lot of experience at failing to make airports successful, not just at Manston. Their most ardent supporter suffers from verbal diarrhoea, and while I’m sure he is more than adequately informed about history and law, his knowledge of airport development and operation appears completely lacking. The most consistent argument from airport supporters seems to be “because airport”, and when challenged with facts they become personal and abusive. It’s a real shame that this issue has become so divisive and I blame the MPs most for that. Divide and conquer is their motto.

    Let’s agree that neither an airport or housing is suitable for this site. Some clean green industry, wind farm and solar PV together with the production of these items, the rest returned to wildlife and recreation.

  51. What part of “DRAFT” report does Fraud-man not understand. Hasn’t got his way so throws a tantrum like a five year old. I’m sure the secretary of state will be well impressed with that. His time would probably be better spent paying the legal bill he is obligated to pay after conceding the judicial review than acting like Violet Elizabeth Blott, thcreaming & thcreaming until he makes himself thick

  52. Don’t worry everyone! The Great Beau has spoken!The combined aviation expertise of SMAa is going to save the day! Phew!

    Beau Webber
    “It is vital that we remember this is only a draft report, not the final one.
    If you find sections of the Arup Draft Report that are wrong or badly evidenced, please note them in this thread or PM them to me.
    Then we will combine them into a joint SMAa response.
    The more you feed to us, preferably with the latest evidence, the better job we can do in ensuring that the final version of the report contains sensible information.”

    Hurrah!!

    • Ha!Ha! So the final report will be different from the draft report. And they want their supporters to take them seriously!

    • What that Means is Beau is desperate for evidence, any evidence. Even he realises that constantly saying ‘Cos airport’ doesn’t really cut it when considering an Infrastructure Project of National Significance

  53. Arup seem to have sound credentials as advisors

    Arup has been named Europe’s ‘Technical Advisor of the Year’ at the 2021 IJGlobal Awards, solidifying the firm’s position as a trusted transaction advisor in Europe and the UK. The awards celebrate deals in the infrastructure and energy sectors.
    Arup has a strong track record providing technical, commercial and economic advice to public and private sector investors in infrastructure. Over the last year, the pandemic has impacted a number of sectors, but the appetite for investment in core infrastructure has remained and certain markets have seen significant growth.
    https://www.arup.com/news-and-events/arup-scoops-2021-ijglobal-europe-technical-advisor-of-the-year-award

  54. Hang on, why is SMA approached to comment on the news? I understand RSP being given air, and the person leading the JR, but SMA???? To regurgitate RSPs rant? 🤷🏻‍♂️

    • Jenny’s team has also commented and if No Night Flights wish to comment that will be added to. They are all involved either directly or through campaigning

  55. I would really like to see a helicopter based there, a air ambulance helicopter. The reason being is that it seems the population of Thanet and the surrounding area is going to explode, so maybe the ONE local hospital can not cope, and it could also help if any boats get into difficulties at sea.
    Lets see how many people are against this, because if they are then they should not be eligible for any services it may offer.

    • Maybe ask the Tory government about that, after all, they are the reason why after 10 years in power our NHS is in dire straits. Obviously, it does not help when companies like RSP are based offshore and are unlikely to be interested in paying taxes where they harm the health of the people affected by their airstrip.
      Although I am sure that Mr. ABCDEFGHIJLKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ will blame Black Lives Matter or other Marxist (in their view) organisation… 🤷🏻‍♂️

  56. Or maybe a prison, as the Government has said it needs more because of overcrowding in the existing ones. Now if that was given to green light, think of the comments. 🤣🤣🤣

  57. What a lot of old hogwash you people spout. Always the same names, the same parotting babble. You make me want to puke, as you find any argument you can think of to oppose an airport at Manston. Successful or not, you just don’t want it for your own reasons. You are such breath-taking hypocrites as you are ensconced in your own effluent lifestyles. Yet you advocate deprivation for Thanet – as long as it is for someone else, not you!. Most of you are clearly lefties and the Left these days has decided good and proper to bend over and take it from the Tory right. Labour accepts unemployment and low-wage dead-end employment and only stands up for benefit lifestyles (though that helps divide the family – a modern Marxist ideal!)! Worthless! The worst hypocrisy of all is that you are supporting the worst kind of exploitative capitalism. Bloated housing speculators who grow fat from the public purse with their misdirected grants to build these appalling soulless housing estates everywhere. And those who think if the airport is built over, the farmland will be saved are a very special kind of stupid. But then the truth is you don’t really care, so long as there is no airport! You are an insult and a disgrace to the founding fathers of the Labour party. This Arup report is complete babble just as you lot spout. I wonder who paid whom to come up with this lame piece of pathetic garbage? Bring on the airport! Thanet has a chance to play a leading role in the new sustainable aviation industry. You bunch can carry on bumping your gums – You are just a repetitive, deeply boring brainless noise Thanet and Kent can do without

    • Goodness me!
      And, bile aside, do you have any evidence that supports the notion of a cargo hub at Manston?
      Other than Sally Dixon, no one else has.

    • Just when I said be kind to each and argue on the evidence, this is the result!
      Time after time, when small unimportant things like facts, market conditions, climate change and distances are mentioned, we get this sort of rant.
      Why is it when reactionaries mention the labour party they mention Marx, as if the two are somehow yoked together. This correspondent knows as much about Das Capital as he does about aviation, surprisingly little. I can only think he believes that Karl Marx was one of the Marx brothers. H.L.Mencken who was a flawed individual in so many ways, had a description for the credulous in American society of ‘Boobus Americanus’,I think Mr Alphabet would justify being classified as ‘Boobus Thaneti’.
      After so many unpleasant words, not one hit the mark. In Eurovision terms it was a nil points experience.
      Yes, there are property speculators, but having an airport will not stop that activity, in fact the reverse ,as vulture economics will make gains from Ramsgate’s pain.
      Yes, there are soulless housing estates, but again the airport will not change that, only changing the entire management of TDC and replacing the planning department with adequate planners who have some aspiration for the District in their charge will do that.
      Of course whenever someone puts up arguments that you have no answer to, the common fashion of today’s trolls and ranters, is to dehumanise your target individuals, act as a mysoginist if your target is female, call them hypocrites, and final dismiss their entire argument as hogwash, without bothering to critique their arguments.
      As for the anti Manston campaign being a labour conspiracy, this argument conveniently ignores that there is cross party concern, not just a labour concern.The green party, liberal democrats and some conservatives are also concerned. True, the credulous are well well represented within the ranks of the Tory party, but then they also backed the no ferry, ferry company, so it has happened before.
      If you cannot base your arguments on fact and evidence, it is best not saying anything at all.

    • List of aviation experts which say no need for Manston
      Where is RSP’s tame expert?
      2010 BICKERDICKE ALLEN PARTNERS report night noise assessment
      2011 YORK AVIATION Economic impact of night flying policy
      2011 BICKERDICKE ALLEN PARTNERS noise
      2014 FALCON report
      2015 KCC position statement on Manston Airport
      2016 TDC final report for Thanet District Council (TDC) Manston Airport Viability
      2016 AVIA SOLUTIONS Riveroak response TDC Manston Airport viability final
      2017 AVIA SOLUTIONS local plan representations review final
      2017 AVIA SOLUTIONS analysis of report by Azimuth/Northwood on Manston
      2017 YORK AVIATION for SHP summery report final
      2018 ALTITUDE AVIATION report
      2019 ALTITUDE AVIATION report update
      2019 DCO Examiners recommending refusal of DCO on many issues including need
      2021 YORK AVIATION for Jenny Dawes in redetermination of DCO
      2021 ALAN STRATFORD ASSOCIATES for Ramsgate town council
      2021 OVE ARUP for DfT/SoS.

    • All I can say, Mr. ABCDEFGHIJLKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ, is: Bravo. You are a fine example of what an adult can achieve when they apply their skill and passion to a topic. Bravo. Rest assured that, no matter what happens in the end with Manston, you can look at yourself in the mirror every morning and say to yourself, loud and clear: ‘I wrote that’

  58. The manston site for aviation still tick’s many important box’s.
    Maybe the ove report was rushed through prior to COP26. Just like £5000 off heat pumps etc blah

    Udders will disagree !

    • The OA report was hardly rushed through. It considered and commented on the factors the SoS asked to be addressed.
      And not unsurprisingly, they agreed with the ExA and everyone else: there is no unmet need and even if there was, it would be better handled at EMA and Stansted.

  59. I’ve just remembered: After ROIC (as was) had their CPO partnership with TDC turned down (ROIC couldn’t show TDC where the money was) TDC engaged in two rounds of “Soft Market Testing (ie putting out feelers) to see if anyone was interested. Other than a group of nutters, no one was.
    Not Stobart, nor Amazon, nor DHL, nor FedEx. No one at all.
    I wonder why?
    Dame Professor Sir Phillidia Quot, Bart.

  60. Just build a prison on the site, or immigration camp and be done with it. No housing, no airport. That’s what the country really needs.

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