Legal challenge against Manston Airport reopening rejected by High Court

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Manston Airport. Photo: Wikimedia Commons


A second attempt to block plans to reopen Manston Airport have been rejected by a High Court judge.

The ruling ends a judicial review into the government’s decision to green light the plans for the airport, made in August 2022 by parliamentary under secretary of state for transport Karl McCartney.

The case was launched following a 1,200-page appeal submitted by resident Jenny Dawes, who argued reopening “Manston Airport will cause irreparable harm to the people, environment and the economy of east Kent”.

The planning application submitted by RiverOak Strategic Partners’ (RSP) is for the upgrade and reopening of the airport, mainly as an air cargo hub, with a capacity of 12,000 airfreight movements per year.

“We have just been notified that the application for a Judicial Review of the Government’s decision to grant the DCO has been dismissed,” RSP said in a press release.

“We now look forward to getting the process of turning Manston into a state of-the-art air freight hub underway and working to support the long-term economic development of East Kent, through the reopening of Manston, that we set out in the application.”

Surveys, detailed master planning and design work commenced on the project in the second half of 2022, with construction set to start in 2023 and the first cargo services due to begin operating in early 2025.

As aviation propositions go, Manston is unique – because it will be built to be Carbon Net Zero from scratch, enabling us to demonstrate to the government how it can deliver on its commitment to grow the aviation sector, whilst still meeting its decarbonisation targets,” RSP said previously when discussing the project.

It will also represent a flagship levelling-up project, providing much needed economic and employment stimulus to one of the UK’s most deprived areas, creating over 23,000 jobs across East Kent and the wider national economy by the airport’s 20th year of operation. Alongside the work needed to return Manston to operational status, RSP will now accelerate its local procurement programme and partnership work with a wide range of business, education, training and local authority organisations, to ensure local people and local businesses can derive tangible economic, employment and investment benefits from a revived Manston Airport,” RSP added.