A Judicial Review hearing to examine whether a Development Consent Order for the Manston airport freight project was correctly issued or should be quashed will take place from tomorrow (July 5).
The DCO was issued by government for a second time in August 2022. It had initially been granted in July 2020 when the Department of Transport approved the application to create an air freight hub at the site. It was quashed in the High Court in February 2021 following a legal challenge launched by Ramsgate resident Jenny Dawes which resulted in the Secretary of State conceding the decision approval letter issued from the Minister of State did not contain enough detail.
The DCO was granted for a second time by then Transport Minister Karl McCartney.
In response Ms Dawes launched a second Judicial Review application in a bid to halt the airport plans and has crowdfunded £73,000 in pledges to pay for the action.
The judicial review application was initially dismissed by Mr Justice Lane in January but then allowed on partial grounds in a review by Mrs Justice Lieven in March.
Ms Dawes originally raised nine grounds. Those that have been taken forward to Judicial Review relate to whether there is a need for the airport and whether due consideration was given to what impact the scheme might have on the Government’s ability to meet its future carbon reduction targets.
Ms Dawes’ team has also filed a last-minute application with fresh evidence taken from a report published by the Committee on Climate Change on 28 June.
RSP wants to create aviation at the site with a cargo hub and associated business, saing an inestment “up to £500m” will be made. 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.
Campaigners against the development raise concerns including noise, need, climate harm and damage to Ramsgate’s tourism industry.
Ms Dawes previously said: “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.”
George Yerrall, Director of RSP, said of the additional evidence submitted from the Committee on Climate Change report: “It is hard to see this as anything other than an attempt to frustrate the process, given that judicial reviews exist to review the lawfulness of decisions already taken, not consider them afresh in light of newly available information. Further, there is nothing in the fresh evidence that will shed any new light on the grounds for judicial review brought forward by the claimant.”
RSP say the DCO proposals for Manston are consistent with all relevant Government policies, including the Airports National Policy, Aviation Policy Framework, General Aviation strategy and Transport Decarbonisation Plan.
Barristers for all parties will present their case at the Royal Courts of Justice tomorrow with the hearing scheduled to run into Thursday.