Manston Airport cargo plans back in court

Image source: Manston Airport

Plans to develop a cargo hub at Manston Airport in the UK will be back in court again today.

The long-running case was brought by opponents of the scheme and will be heard in the Royal Court of Justice on July 5 and July 6.

The airport owners, River Oak Strategic Partners (RSP), gained a development consent order to develop the hub in August 2022.

An appeal was dismissed in January of this year but was later allowed based on four points: the use of reports without underlying evidence; the requirement to demonstrate whether there is a need for the airport; whether growth could be catered for at other airports; and climate change.

Local resident Jenny Dawes, who is leading the campaign against the airport in Kent, said: “This judicial review will focus on just two areas, need and climate change, making it very much in tune with the times and with the Climate Change Committee’s 2023 Progress Report to Parliament.

“The report recommends making the National Planning Policy Framework consistent with Net Zero and calls for a suite of policy and technology options to address aviation demand while stressing the need for a framework to manage airport capacity.”

When the appeal was approved in March, RSP said the claims were “delaying tactics”.

“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 Southeast, delivering new economic and employment opportunities for the people and organisations of East Kent and beyond,” RSP said.

The £500m plans for the airport included 19 stands capable of handling widebody freighters as well as a 65,500 sq m cargo facility.

This is not the first time that the granting of a DCO for Manston has been subject to an appeal and in 2021, the Department for Transport withdrew from a judicial review in order to gather more information to bolster its case for the development.

Originally an RAF base, Manston Airport has been used periodically for charter and passenger flights, but its runway did not support large aircraft and the airport has historically suffered from underuse in the face of competition from other UK airports.

Its runway is one of the widest in the UK, measuring 2,748 m in length and 230 m in width.

Manston airfreight hub one step closer

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Damian Brett

Damian Brett
I have been writing about the freight and logistics industry since 2007 when I joined International Freighting Weekly to cover the shipping sector.After a stint in PR, I have gone on to work for Containerisation International and Lloyds List - where I was editor of container shipping - before joining Air Cargo News in 2015.Contact me on [email protected]