A fresh bid for a Judicial Review challenging the government’s decision to give the go ahead to RiverOak Strategic Partners (RSP) for the development of Manston airport has been granted by the High Court today (March 23).
In January a Judicial Review application submitted on behalf of Ramsgate resident Jenny Dawes was denied by the High Court but an appeal was then lodged asking for a planning judge to review the decision.
That hearing took place today in the in the High Court before Justice Nathalie Lieven who has given permission for the review to go ahead on some of the issues raised in Ms Dawes case. Ms Dawes’ team say these are climate change impact and whether sufficient need for the Manston airport freight hub has been proven.
Ms Dawes said: “‘I am delighted that today, at an oral hearing in the High Court, Justice Nathalie Lieven granted new permission to proceed with a second Judicial Review into the Secretary of State’s decision to get development consent for Manston Airport.
“I brought this case, with the support of thousands of people from Kent and beyond, because in today’s climate-constrained world, ploughing ahead with an airport for which there is no need and without taking into account its climate change impacts is nonsensical.
“The government’s decision to press ahead with Manston Airport, against the advice of the experts, including the government’s own advisors, risks irreparable harm to the people, economy, environment and heritage of the towns and villages of East Kent.”
A spokesperson for RSP called the legal bid a ‘delaying tactic’ saying: “Following today’s short hearing by Mrs Justice Lieven, we are disappointed that this will now go to a full judicial review, albeit on reduced grounds.
“There is no basis for the claims made by the applicant, and this is simply a further delaying tactic – frustrating the shared desire of RSP and the government, together with numerous local authorities, Members of Parliament, businesses, communities and other stakeholders – not to mention thousands of supporters of the airport – to see Manston return to operational use as an international freight hub for London and the South east, delivering new economic and employment opportunities for the people and organisations of East Kent and beyond.”
Around 40 airport development supporters and North Thanet MP Sir Roger Gale were among those attending the hearing.
Development Consent Order
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. This was refused in January by the Honourable Mr Justice Lane.
Now the new application has been granted for ‘limited grounds’ review by Justice Lieven. The judgment is expected to be published later today or tomorrow.
RSP wants to create aviation at the site with a cargo hub and associated business. Plans for construction are planned to be phased over 15 years and include 19 freight stands and four passenger stands for aircraft as well as warehousing and fuel storage.
A date for the Judicial Review hearing has not yet been released.