The last stage of the long legal saga over the future of Manston Airport is due to be heard in the High Court this Wednesday.
Plans for a £300mon development of Manston Airport were dealt a blow earlier this year. An application for a judicial review of the government’s 2022 decision to grant permission for the development of Manston Airport, by Ramsgate resident Jenny Dawes, was given the go ahead.
Tug o’ war
The airport’s development plans were given the go ahead by the transport secretary who issued a development consent order (DCO) last August. This gave the green light for Riveroak Strategic Partners (RSP) to reopen the airport as a freight hub, with some passenger services, and a capacity of at least 12,000 flights a year. These plans involve a total rebuilding of the current rundown airport.
In a judicial review, the High Court re-examines a decision taken by a government body.
Those against, say “Nay”
Mrs Dawes, in her court submission objecting to the plans, said: “Manston Airport will cause irreparable harm to the people, environment and the economy of East Kent.” Her legal team will put forward two arguments, firstly that the airport is not needed and secondly over the climate change impact.
Those in favour, say “Aye”
Airport supporters see the development as the largest investment that Thanet has ever seen and say it will provide quality jobs. The pro-airport pressure group, the Save Manston Association, is concerned that this Judicial Review has been granted. Its chair, Dr Beau Webber, said: “We think Mrs Dawes’ objective is to delay, delay and delay.”
He saw this delay as hoping for the change in the leadership of the local council that has now happened. Dr Webber said that, assuming the Judicial Review goes in the airport’s favour, “There is little that the local authority could do to stop the airport as its role is limited to ensuring that building regulations and the requirement of the DCO are complied with.”
The case is scheduled for a day and a half in court starting Wednesday. A decision could be given immediately, or the judge may save the decision to a later date.