Another legal bid submitted to challenge Manston airport development judicial review decision

Manston airport site Photo Swift Aerial Photography

Another bid for a Judicial Review challenging the government’s decision to give the go ahead for the development of Manston airport has been lodged.

Last week a Judicial Review application submitted on behalf of Ramsgate resident Jenny Dawes was denied by the High Court but now a fresh attempt has been lodged asking for a planning judge to review the decision. .

Ms Dawes made an application last September following a government decision to re-grant a development order allowing airport owners RiverOak Strategic Partners (RSP) to create a new cargo hub at the site.

The first decision to grant permission for the Manston airport proposals was announced by government on July 9 2020 after delays in January and May.

The Department of Transport approved the application to create an air freight hub at the site. A Planning Inspectorate Examining Authority panel of Martin Broderick, Jonathan Hockley, Kelvin MacDonald and Jonathan Manning  had recommended that development consent should not be granted.

The first Judicial Review bid was then launched by Ms Dawes with Ramsgate Town Council as one of the backers with the majority of councillors agreeing to donate up to £10,000 of council funds to the cause.

In December 2020 the Department of Transport acknowledged that the decision approval letter issued from the Minister of State did not contain enough detail and in February 2021 the DCO approval was quashed. Further consultations and a report from Ove Arup, which agreed with the Planning Inspectorate panel findings, then followed.

The development approval was again issued last August by then Transport Minister Karl McCartney.

Ms Dawes then launched a second Judicial Review application in a bid to halt the airport plans and crowdfunded for pledges to pay for the action, which she said was due to the view the airport would cause: “irreparable harm to the people, environment and the economy of East Kent,”

This was refused last week by the Honourable Mr Justice Lane.

Now a new application for renewal of the claim for permission to apply for judicial review of airport decision has been submitted with the request it is to be reconsidered at a hearing in open court before a planning judge.

On the crowdfunding page raising money for the legal action Ms Dawes says: “These grounds of claim are of significance to campaigners across the country and it matters that the process of decision making should be fair, transparent and based on all relevant information, not biased by political or personal interest.

“This is particularly the case, when the experts, including the independent examining authority and the government’s own advisers, have recognised that there is no need for Manston Airport. The economic case simply does not stack up. When the climate change impacts are taken into account, it becomes a no-brainer.”

Tony Freudmann, of RSP, said: “The applicant is exercising her rights under the JR rules. We expect a quick hearing at which we shall be represented.”

A claim for judicial review may only be brought with the permission of the court. If the court is satisfied there is an arguable case, it will grant permission for the claim to proceed to a substantive hearing. If permission is refused, a claimant can apply to renew the permission application at an oral hearing. If this is denied the claimant will likely face an order for costs.

Find the judgement from last week here

RSP aims to create aviation at the site with a cargo hub and associated business. Plans for construction will be phased over 15 years and will include 19 freight stands and four passenger stands for aircraft as well as warehousing and fuel storage.

Second legal challenge bid against Manston airport development permission is dismissed