The High Court has upheld the Manston Airport Development Consent Order (DCO) in a significant ruling, marking a pivotal moment in the airport's ongoing dispute.
The DCO, initially issued in July 2020, granted permission for an air freight hub at Manston Airport but was overturned in February 2021 due to legal challenges led by Jenny Dawes. This revealed issues in the approval process, particularly concerning the Minister of State's approval letter.
Subsequently, a second DCO was granted in August 2022, sparking renewed opposition from Ms. Dawes, who successfully crowdfunded £75,000 to fund a second Judicial Review application. The legal process faced initial dismissal and partial reversal before being thoroughly examined in July by Mr. Justice Ian Dove.
The key focus of the review was whether the airport's necessity had been accurately assessed and if enough consideration was given to its potential impact on government carbon reduction targets. Ultimately, Mr. Justice Dove dismissed the application for judicial review, stating that neither of Ms. Dawes' grounds had substance.
RiverOak Strategic Partners (RSP), the entity behind Manston Airport's development plans, intends to transform it into a state-of-the-art air freight hub over 15 years, including the creation of freight and passenger stands, warehousing, and fuel storage.
Following the court's decision, RSP expressed satisfaction and reiterated their commitment to realising their vision for the airport's future. North Thanet MP Sir Roger Gale also welcomed the ruling, emphasising the economic opportunities it would bring to East Kent.
In contrast, Ms. Dawes intends to appeal, believing that the Government's decision to proceed with the airport is flawed, especially considering the worsening climate crisis.