Manston Airport Photo 195369984 © Radarman70
© Radarman70

Anti-development campaigners were dealt a blow when a judge dismissed an plea for a judicial review of plans for the UK’s Manston Airport, and an appeal of the decision has already been lodged.

Mr Justice Lane refused the application for a judicial review of government approval of Riveroak Strategic Partners’ (RSP) plans to redevelop the former airport into a cargo terminal, rejecting claims of procedural unfairness, climate considerations and need for a freight hub.

Now, RSP appears increasingly bullish that, after years of delays and efforts to block the plan, it may finally be in a position to push ahead.

A spokesperson told The Loadstar: “We look forward to getting the process of turning Manston into a state of-the-art freight hub under way. And we look forward to working to support the long-term economic development of East Kent, through the reopening of Manston.”

Local MP Craig MacKinlay said despite “nine years of ups and down” there was still widespread support for the proposed redevelopment of the airport. He tweeted: “No impediments remain. Jobs, investment and a positive future. Thank you.”

But campaigners struck back swiftly. Ramsgate resident Jenny Dawes has lodged a fresh legal bid that again hinges on the economic arguments used to justify the development and the climate cost of a new airport.

Ms Dawes, who has been crowdfunding her legal efforts, and is liable for the costs of the first request, has called for a planning judge to review the decision.

She claims there would be “irreparable harm to the people, environment and economy of East Kent” from the redevelopment, adding that the judge’s decision was significant to the “process of decision making” by politicians.

“This is particularly the case, when experts, including independent examining authority and the government’s own advisers, recognised there is no need for Manston Airport,” she added.

Ms Dawes’ action has received support from the Aviation Environment Federation (AEF), which slammed the Department for Transport’s approval and subsequent reaffirmation of the development consent order last August.

AEF director Tim Johnson said: “The original decision by the examining authority recommended refusal, and that the environmental impacts couldn’t be justified. Local campaigners believe this is still the case and have vowed not to give up.”

However, Mr MacKinlay said: “Our legal system allows for judicial review when process is not followed, but attempts to use it as a means of overturning decisions not liked by a disgruntled few is not what it is for.”

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