– Second legal challenge underway

Second legal challenge underway against Manston airport development permission

September 30, 2022 Kathy Bailes News 44

A second legal challenge over the government’s decision to grant permission for the development of Manston airport has been lodged by Ramsgate resident Jenny Dawes.

The 1200-page document was filed yesterday (September 29) by Dawes’ legal team, Harrison Grant Ring following a regranting of the permission.

The first decision to grant a development consent order for the Manston airport site 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 JR bid was then launched by Ramsgate  Coastal Community Team chairperson Jenny Dawes with Ramsgate Town Council as one of the backers with the majority of councillors agreeing to donate £5,000 – and up to £10,000 if needed – of council funds to the cause.

In December 2020 the Department of Transport acknowledged that the decision approval letter issued from the Minister of State did not contain enough detail about why approval was given against the advice of the Planning Inspectorate and said the Judicial Review would not be contested.

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 this August by Transport Minister Karl McCartney MP with the DCO coming into force on September 8.

Ms Dawes has now launched a second Judicial Review bid and is crowdfunding for pledges to pay for the latest round of action.

She said: “Developing Manston Airport will cause irreparable harm to the people, environment and the economy of East Kent,” adding: “The second DCO decision is also flawed.”

Dawes crowdfunded £119,000 to pay for the legal costs arising from the 2020 Judicial Review (JR) and said: “The money we raised last time was used to pay solicitors, barristers, consultants and court costs in what turned out to be a long and complicated case.”

She is now calling for donations to help fund the second JR with a stretch target of £50,000.

RSP director Tony Freudmann said the second decision document from government is thorough, adding: “It runs to 65 pages and took 17 months to reach a conclusion. It is a really serious piece of work.”

He disputed the project will cause irreparable harm, adding that JR campaigners had not made “any reference to the jobs, training and education with the airport which will transform the economy.”

Next step

The Government legal department, on behalf of the Secretary of State for Transport, now has 21 days to respond, setting out their grounds for resistance to which Jenny Dawes’s team will then respond if necessary.

Within the next three weeks it will be decided whether there is an arguable case.  If permission is granted, the hearing should take place no later than six months after the claim was issued, which would be by March 2023.

RSP say they aim to create aviation at the site with a cargo hub and associated business. Plans for construction will be phased over 15 years and will include 19 freight stands and four passenger stands for aircraft as well as warehousing and fuel storage.

Air space change application

An air space change application being undertaken by RSP has now moved to stage 2b.

The move to the next step, which was resubmitted twice, is part of a seven stage Civil Aviation Authority flight path process which has to be completed for a permanent change to airspace usage, such as a change of routes if Manston becomes operational.

Step 2b is an options appraisal stage and plans are assessed to understand the impact, both positive and negative. This is the first of three options appraisals developed during the process.

Part of this step will examine noise. The options appraisal document from RSP says on this issue: “The aircraft forecast predicts a gradual increase in aircraft movements between Year 2 and Year 20. This would lead to an increase in aircraft noise over time. Over this period there will also be changes in aircraft, with airlines phasing out older aircraft. This could reduce aircraft noise levels over time.

“However, Year 20 is considered to be the likely “worst-case” year in terms of noise, even considering the phasing out of some louder aircraft. The forecast assumes that total aircraft traffic will grow from approximately 33 Air Transport Movements (ATMs) for a typical busy day in Year 2 to 79 ATMs per typical busy 24-hour day in Year 20. These figures are considered the maximum number of movements for a typical busy day with fewer daily movements during less busy periods.

“An Air Transport Movement (ATM) is defined as each landing and take-off of commercial flights related to the transport of passengers and freight.

“There will also be an average of approximately 16 non-ATMs per 24-hour day in all years including general aviation and training flights.

“During a busy typical day in Year 20, Manston Airport is forecast to handle approximately 72 aircraft movements during the daytime period (between 07:00 to 23:00) and an average of 7 aircraft movements during the night-time period (between 23:00 and 07:00).

“Typically, the assessment of aircraft noise considers an ‘average summer’s day’ period of movement from 16th June to 15th September. This 92-day period is used to account for the increased aircraft traffic during the summer season seen at many UK airports. However, a reopened Manston Airport will focus on freight aircraft and the largest number of flights is likely to be during the winter season rather than the summer season.”

Other areas covered are air quality and biodiversity. A shortlist of flightpath options is also included.

The seven stages of the process:

  • Stage 1 – Define
  • Stage 2 – Develop and Assess (current stage)
  • Stage 3 – Consultation
  • Stage 4 – Update and Submit
  • Stage 5 – Decide
  • Stage 6 – Implement
  • Stage 7 – Post-Implementation Review
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