Challenge of government approval for Manston airport development due to be heard at Royal Courts of Justice

Manston airport Photo Frank Leppard

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.


  1. seems the £75K has been reached with at least one more fundraising event to go.
    Shame that tax payer’s funds are being used to fight this JR
    £8.4Million is a great deal of wasted tax payer’s money

  2. In the first JR appeal, 2000 contributors raised close on £120,000.
    For the second appeal, over 1000 contributors have raised almost £75,000.
    It’s clear that those who don’t want an airport are not a small minority.
    Not that it really matters.
    Mush of the decision will come down to whether it was correct for the SoS ignore the absence of need (evidenced by his own report, commissioned from Ove Arup), and should the SoS take account of the Government’s own Climate Change policy.
    If you want to contribute to the JR fund, here’s the link;

    • The 2021 census gives the population of Thanet at around 140600. I would say 2000 is quite a small minority.
      Let’s hope that the decision whichever way it goes is respected.

      • oddly the main support group struggles to get the money to fund their advert above. Not quite the nearly £200K raised by the JR.
        also from Beau’s latest email a lot of double counting going on

      • Right Mr Brown, what’s the population of everyone living in the CT11 postal area? These are the people who will be most effected if Manston should re-open, although all of Thanet will to some extent! As I have repeatedly pointed out cargo aircraft flying over Ramsgate Harbour at less than 300 meters high, 250 to 200 meters along the High Street will devastate businesses, especially the hospitality trades!

        The aircraft will then fly over Ellington Park, and Nethercourt at about 150 meters high, before touchdown at 100meters! Every property under this flight path will be severely devalued, and probably unsalable! There is no “Need” for a cargo hub airport at Manston, which the planning inspector clearly shows. Unless there is a national need for one, the DCO should fail! But the question is why are the 2 chocolate teapot MP’s for Thanet promoting it, the traitors? The only reason is they think they can con the voters into voting for them at the next election again by promoting Manston, don’t fool for it!

        • A couple of postcode population sources say between 27800 & 29200. So the figure of 2000 quoted above as not being a small minority is still incorrect. Fact’s can’t discounted just because you can shout loudly. Sorry.

        • PS. Just read in my newspaper Doncaster Council is searching for an “Investor/operator” for the former Doncaster Sheffield Airport. The airport closed last year because it “lacked financial viability” it says here. The airport employed 800 workers, who were made redundant! I don’t think Doncaster was the only airport to go bust, which beggars belief that Manston in its ridiculously poor location, can ever be financially viable, proved by all the other attempts that failed!

          • You could buy Doncaster, Southend and Glasgow Prestwick, all for sale, for a combined total of less than the “planned” manston investment. Just doesn’t ring true that if you want an airport why not buy 1,2 or 3 that already exist?

  3. The recent local elections would indicate the freight hub is not as popular that some might claim

    • Think the last local election would reflect how national politics with the current government played a part in why Labour did as they did, nothing to do with Manston Airport.
      Spin it how you want, but your short memory forgets how poorly local Labour did when UKIP where standing 98% on support of Manston Airport, draw from that what you will.

    • Mr Green – how do you draw such a conclusion?I was not aware of a referendum on the subject, only local elections with very poor turnouts.

      • In particular, people were not driven to support the Tories, despite their election material putting Manston front and centre.
        In Ramsgate, the self-same councillors who approved the £10,000 contribution to the JR fund got voted back in. Those who opposed the donation, got voted out.

    • Cllr Green, I expect you are a well educated man, but please explain you comments. How can a turnout of between 19 and 46 percent of voters mean it is not popular. Fact, Labour won a ward with 19 percent of the electorate voting ( Not really a overwhelming majority) when all that was needed was 10 percent of that ward voting Labour, so that means 90 percent didnt vote Labour the same goes for wards with 46 percent who voted, 24 percent could mean a Labour victory, but 75 percent didnt vote Labour. So, how can the freight hub not prove popular, unless, of course the plane’s fly over your bungalow. ??
      I dont expect a reply so the electorate can see your reasoning but I suppose that’s what jumped up policitions do.

  4. How about altering the SMAa advert to reflect what is actually happening rather than spin designed to mislead.

    • I think there’s a huge gap between reality and the statements made in those in the adverts.
      “Investores are providing £500,000,000”.
      No, they’re not. RSP hasn’t got any investors yet. According to their Funding Statement, invitations will be issued once the SCO has been approved.
      “15,266 jobs by year 5”
      How on Earth can such an accurate prediction be made? When it closed, fewer than 150 lost their jobs.

  5. I think it’d be billiant for Manston to open again. I live in Thanet, and I don’t care if I’m in the minority on this issue, but I don’t want my voice being drowned-out by those “raising cash.”

    • I don’t think you are in the minority Mike B. We are the silent majority I truly believe ✈️✈️✈️✈️

  6. I think it’d be brilliant for Manston to open again. I live in Thanet, and I don’t care if I’m in the minority on this issue, but I don’t want my voice being drowned-out by those “raising cash.”

      • Echo in here! Ha ha ha ha. That’t so funny. I guess you saw the same post was posted twice. You are so meticulous. That’s very funny. Ha ha ha ha. Wow, I can’t believe how much I am laughing right now. Ha ha ha ha! Ohhhhh. I may need to have to sit down. Very, very funny!

  7. When she loses will she give up or continue this ONE man band of stopping an airport being an airport. Planes are becoming cleaner than cars quicker so no real argument.
    Would rather planes than cars and thousands of unneeded homes when so much empty and unused property still lies empty

    • If you read the earlier comments by David Green and me you’ll see that this is far from a “ONE man band”
      I’d be interested to see the evidence that planes are “cleaner” than cars.

  8. It’s not an airport. Hasn’t been for years. And the houses are being built anyway. We already have severe traffic issues. Been along Haine Road lately?
    Huge support to you Jenny.

    • What would you call a runway meant for planes taking off and landing with buildings aside it?

    • Well, the road signs to ‘Kent International’ seem suspiciously clean and well-maintained!

  9. Hope the high court throws it out again and doesn’t entertain her again people need to find out who’s funding this jobs are more than important than dole on sea as they seem to want it’s ridiculous.

    • The source of the funding is no mystery.
      It’s thousands of residents who are so concerned about the environmental impact of acargo h7b airport on their doorsteps that they are prepared not only to sign petitions, but to dig deep into their purses and wallets to stump up the money.
      I agree that jobs are important. It would be a blow for the hospitality and tourism industry in Ramsgate if the airport were to go ahead. Tony Freudman said so.

    • We already have dole by the sea with all the dross from London filling the thousands of houses going up everywhere.

      Has anyone seen the thousands of job vacancies being advertised for this influx of British migrants let alone foreign migrants? No…. neither have I.

      JD has only one idea in her NIMBY mind and that is not to have to put up with any more noise over HER house and to hell with any benefits that an airport will bring.

  10. The land developers, oh sorry the silly woman won’t win this time. I hope the Snowflakes don’t fly off on holiday, still they won’t mind flying over other peoples houses will they.

        • I believe the facts

          No infrastructure for example no rail, no decent roads, no fuel grid, run off area to short, cheaper to refuel at Gatwick as they dont add on the fuel tanker coast,gone bust every time it’s been in private hands.
          Very poor geographical position.

          I use to work in the aircraft industry and it’s common knowledge manston has so much going against it. It cant possible be made profitable. Oh I forget plus someone is going to invest over 500 million lol yea right lol

  11. Fingers crossed for the right decision…. Which in my opinion is that the DCO should is quashed.

    If it is granted id still be very surprised if a prosperous cargo hub ever transpired.

    Anyway… roll up roll up. Snake oil for sale.

  12. Seeing as manston doesnt have enough land for the legal requirements for the run of area. Why are houses being built at the ramsgate end of the runway ? This land is need for the run of area ! And is the road at the minster end being moved as well ? Again its needed for the run of area.

    When is all the thanet way and M2 being made four lane to cope with all the extra HGV’s and fuel tankers. Its cheaper to fly from manston to Gatwick to refuel. How are they going to over come that ?

    Who is investing 500 million ?

    • In response to your last question:
      No one.
      RSP made it clear (eventually) in their Funding Statement that, should the DCO be granted, invitations would be issued to a carefully selected list of investors…etc.
      Given that the £500M figure is a couple of years ago, I would imagine that the capital now required is somewhat north of that.
      And with interest rates at 6% and rising, servicing those loans and investments will cost a pretty penny. According to one online loan calculator, £500M over 25 years would need repayments of £3,220,000 every month.

  13. Jenny Dawes is not linked in anyway with land developers.I don’t think Gladman LLP need Jenny’s assistance, as they can pulverise TDC all on their own.So that little canard can be dealt with.
    Let’s discuss why this case is being heard.
    The judicial review is not about RSP,it is to do with the DCO, and centres on whether the DFT is lawful in persisting with a DCO, even when it had set up a tribunal of planning inspectors to consider the issue.
    If the DFT wanted to decide the matter, why did it bother with PINS.
    PINS was meant to be independent and we all gave evidence over several weeks.PINS looked at all the evidence and by and large gave the thumbs down on most points towards the airport. I know there are those in the pro manston camp who prefer to accentuate the tiny positives among the many negatives, but that has been the problem all along.
    As for referendums, I don’t there is much appetite for another, seeing as the Brexit referendum, beginning to be seen at best as a doubtful success.
    If we look at elections, avowed anti manston candidates have secured wins, at least in Ramsgate, and even UKIP were split on the issue, so I am not sure that is a strong argument.
    If there was a referendum, who would participate? It would have to be restricted to Ramsgate as the Town is the one affected, and I am not sure either side would accept the result.
    It may be too late for Manston, as the UK will have to live up to some of the climate change promises it made.Digging for coal and drilling for oil might survive a new govt, but Manston? It is Shapp’s creature and he is damaged goods.I suspect that the DFT will gratefully bin the project after the next GE.
    As for real jobs,the ageing keyboard warriors moan about DFLs, but they have opened up new businesses. Hospitality jobs are not all seasonal and low paid, but if we want to see high quality jobs, we need a quality educational system which delivers high levels of attainment, not a high level of Not in Education,Employment or Training.If you want to see low end dead end jobs, build your airport, and carry on as you are, on the road to nowhere.

    • Great summary.

      In terms of future employment I believe Thanet deserves better. I don’t believe manston offers enough diversity of high skilled jobs. Additionally the high skilled workers will not , initially if ever, go to locals but those with recent experience. Leaving low level roles for locals.

      I accept this is a very divisive topic… but in my opinion RSP offerings and benefits, economically and locally are meagre.

      The negatives of the development far out weigh the positives.

  14. The last 3 posts have been excellent.

    The only jobs at manston for any locals will be the unskilled jobs. The skilled jobs will employ people from other airports.

    The pro manston never explained how RSP are going to over come the huge problems manston has. No infrastructure, poor geographical position etc. They just blindly believe RSP.

    Over the years I haven’t seen one pro manston explain the points raised.

    Who and what timetable is there for

    1, going onto the national aviation fuel grid ?
    2, how are RSP going to overcome not having a long enough run off area.
    3, when is the thanet way and M2 being made into 4 lanes.
    4, who is investing over 500 million
    5, how are RSP going to compete on fuel prices when RSP have to pay the middle man ( fuel tankers )

    Just a few points that I have never seen any pro manston answer.

    • 1) Never. Fuel will be trucked in.
      2) A Safety Zone isn’t required, because the ATMs will be less than 18,000 per year.
      3) Not in the near future, unless RSP pays for it.
      4) No one knows. Not even RSP.
      5) They can’t.

  15. Let the airport open flights to Rwanda will boom as they come ashore they can fly out same day.

  16. Well, that’s the JR hearing over.
    It looks as though it could be several weeks before the judge issues his ruling.

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