A legal challenge against the government’s decision to give the go ahead for the development of Manston airport will take place at the Royal Courts of Justice on (provisional date) 5-6 July, according to an update on the crowdfunding page for the legal action.
The challenge, brought by Ramsgate resident Jenny Dawes, aims to quash the development consent order granted by government for RiverOak Strategic Partners’ (RSP) Manston airport project.
In January a Judicial Review application was denied by the High Court but Ms Dawes then made a successful application to have that decision reviewed at an oral hearing,.
That hearing before Justice Nathalie Lieven granted permission for a Judicial Review to go ahead on some of the issues raised in Ms Dawes case. Ms Dawes’ team say these are focused on climate change impact and whether sufficient need for the Manston airport freight hub has been proven.
RSP wants to create aviation at the site with a cargo hub and associated business. Construction is 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.
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 to the cause.
Then town clerk Richard Styles had sought and received advice from the National Association of Local Councils that the town council was legally able to offer its support.
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. The crowdfunder raised in excess of £118,000 for the first challenge and currently stands at £45,400 for the new challenge with a £75,000 stretch target.
The first JR application was refused in January by the Honourable Mr Justice Lane. The new application was granted for a ‘reduced grounds’ review by Justice Lieven and this will be heard in July. The hearing is scheduled for one and a half days.
The airport closed in 2014 shortly after Stagecoach tycoon Ann Gloag bought the site from Infratil.