Manston airport – Kent International

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JR application to stop Manston airport Development Consent Order denied by judge

An application for Judicial Review of the Manston airport DCO has been rejected by a judge. The DCO was initially granted in July 2020 when the DfT approved the application by RiverOak Strategic Partners to make the airport an air freight hub.  That was refused in the High Court in February 2021 following a legal challenge by Ramsgate resident Jenny Dawes and supporters which resulted in the DfT Secretary of State conceding the decision approval letter issued from the Minister of State did not contain enough detail.  The DCO was granted for a second time in August 2022 by then Transport Minister Karl McCartney.  In response Jenny launched a 2nd JR application, trying to stop the airport plans. The application was initially dismissed by Mr Justice Lane in January but then allowed on partial grounds in a review by Mrs Justice Lieven in March. The latest hearing was before Honourable Mr Justice Ian Dove in July. Jenny plans to appeal the judgement, and remains “firmly of the view that the government’s decision to proceed with Manston Airport, in the face of expert evidence to the contrary and in the context of the worsening climate crisis, is nonsensical.”

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Permission for a second judicial review granted, challenging plans to become a freight airport


By Michael Keohan, BBC News

A judge has granted a judicial review for plans to turn Manston Airport into an air freight hub.  The government granted permission for the project last year, after the High Court ordered the Department for Transport to reconsider its decision to give the go-ahead for the works in 2021.  The site’s owners said the development could face further delays. North Thanet MP Sir Roger Gale said the news was “bitterly disappointing.” At an appeal hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice, judge Mrs Justice Lieven granted the review on three points, and asked for one on climate change to be addressed in writing within a week.  This is the second time a development consent order for Manston Airport has faced a judicial review.  Tony Freudmann, the director of RiverOak, which owns the site, said the review could delay plans to get flights taking off in 2026.  Sir Roger said the announcement was “simply wasting time”. Manston Airport closed in May 2014.

High Court judge rejects application to legally challenge August 2022 approval of Manston expansion plans

And January 22nd, Manston campaigners have lodged an application for renewal of the claim for permission to apply for judicial review of the Manston Airport DCO. They are crowdfunding at

A DCO (Development Consent Order) for the re-opening of Manston airport, and its use mainly for air cargo was approved by the government in August 2022. Then local residents, through Jenny Dawes, made an application for permission to get a Judicial Review of the decision, on 29th September 2022.  The government has now announced that this legal challenge has been rejected.  In her 1,200-page appeal, Jenny said the reopening “Manston Airport will cause irreparable harm to the people, environment and the economy of east Kent”.  The airport owners, RiverOak Strategic Partners’ (RSP), have applied for permission to upgrade and reopen the airport primarily as a freight airport, with some passenger services, with a capacity of at least 12,000 air cargo movements per year.  The plans were given the go ahead in August despite planners recommending that the development consent order application (DCO) be refused.  An earlier DCO for development of Manston as a freight airport was rejected by the High Court in February 2021.This was after Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Shapps, in July 2020 had decided to ignore the advice of the Planning Inspectorate in October 2019, that the DCO should be rejected.

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Update on the re-determination of the application


The Independent Aviation Assessor appointed by the Secretary of State for Transport reached the overall conclusion that “there have not been any significant or material changes to policy or the quantitative need case for the Proposed Development since July 2019 that would lead to different conclusions being reached (compared with the previous ExA conclusions) with respect to the need for the Manston Development.”

Today, Friday 3 December 2021, is the last day for submissions to the Planning Inspectorate in response to the Secretary of State’s consultation in respect of the redetermination of the application to upgrade and reopen Manston Airport. Final submissions must be lodged by 23.59 hrs. Then – back to waiting for the Secretary of State to make a decision.

Re-determination of the DCO application

The Transport Sec of State, Shapps, has to re-determine the DCO application of Manston airport. People have until 9th July 2021 to inform the Planning Inspectorate of any matters the Sec of State must now take into account, eg. national or local policies.

Manston DCO officially quashed – fresh decision from Sec of State only way the freight airport could proceed

Manston airport becoming a freight airport is the first Development Consent Order (DCO) for an airport. The Planning Inspectorate (PI) advised the DfT that plans should be rejected in October 2019. The DfT then wanted more information about the plans, from the airport developers, RiverOak Strategic Partners (RSP).  In July 2020, Sec of State Grant Shapps, for the DfT decided to ignore the PI’s advice, and allow the DCO. This was then legally challenged by local campaigner, Jenny Dawes, and the challenge was allowed to go ahead, in October 2020. By December the Grant Shapps had agreed that his decision approval letter did not contain enough detail about why approval was given against the advice of the PI – so the DCO was quashed. Now on 15th February a High Court judge has ruled that the DCO is quashed.  The Defendant (Secretary of State for Transport) and RSP will pay Jenny Dawes’ “reasonable costs” up to £70,000. Grant Shapps, will now need to issue a renewed decision on the DCO.  If there is another DCO similar to the original, the same arguments against it still stand, based on need, breach of procedural requirements, and the Net Zero carbon duty.  If he decides against another DCO, then RSP may bring another legal challenge, or give up.

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Manston airport closed on 15th May 2014.


It lost its CAA licence.

Now named “Stone Hill Park.”

The site may in future be re-named “Stone Hill Park” with  plans by developers for  up to 2,500 homes, work units, parkland. The outline proposals were put out for consultation at the start of July 2015.  More information at


Manston’s Night Flights Proposal (November 2011)

Manston’s NF proposal states that the Night-time Period will be 2300-0700. However, the Night-time Quota Period will be 2330-0600 – this will be the only period during which any restrictions apply.There will be two restrictions:
  • Quota Count: a maximum of 1,593 QC points per calendar year.
  • ATMs: a maximum of 659 per calendar year.
The 659 ATMs average out to 1.8 per night, between 2330-0600.The proposal also makes predictions/estimates of the ATMs that would occur between 2300-2330 and 0600-0700…”based on the activity level forecast in the Master Plan for 2018 combined with an internal assessment of the likely distribution of business through the day, the estimated distribution of aircraft movements for 2018…”leading them to arrive at the predicted/estimated figure of an average 3.2 ATMs between 2300-2330 and 3.2 ATMs between 0600-0700 (giving an estimated total of 8.2 per night, on average).So, the 1.8 is the only figure that they are committing to, or will be monitored on (if they’re monitored at all!). The other 6.4 flights forecast for “true” night will be as unmonitored and unrestricted as if they were daytime flights – there could be ten times as many under these proposals. There is no indication, as far as anyone can see, as to how or whether late arrivals would contribute to the QC maximum or ATM maximum.Full set of proposal documents at:

Wikipedia page on Manston airport    Wikipedia

Runway length    10/28   2,752 metres (9,029 feet)  asphalt / concrete

Kent Airport. Flights and CO2 emissions.

Analysis of flights, routes, and top 10 destinations from Kent Airport in 2011.                      Also carbon emissions.
And passenger growth and numbers over the past 15 years.



CAA figures:    CAA aviation statistics
Terminal Passengers:    

CAA – Terminal Passengers 1998 – 2008

UK Airport Statistics: 2012 – annual  (Table 10.3)  Terminal Passengers  2002 – 2012

2012    8,262  (down – 77.8% on 2011
2011    37,169 (up + 45%  on 2010)
2010    26,000  (up + 382% on 2009 !!!!)  link to 2010 data
2009     5,355  (down – 53.9% on 2008)
2008    11,635 (down  -25.2% on 2007)
2007    16,000   (up 58% on 2006)
2006    10,000
2005    207,000
2000      6,000
1996    –

Air Transport Movements

CAA ATM statistics 1998 – 2008

UK Airport Statistics: 2012 – annual  (Table 4.2) ATMs 2002 – 2012

2012     687  (down – 53.3% on 2012)
2011      1,472  (up 28% on 2010)
2010     1,000 approx   link to 2010 data
2009     590  ( + 9.3% on 2008)
2008     541  (down 11% on 2007)
2007    –
2006    –
2005    5
2000    –
1996    –

Air Freight

CAA Air Freight statistics 1998 – 2008

UK Airport Statistics: 2012 – annual  (Table 13.2) Freight 2002 – 2012

2012    31,078  (up + 13% on 2011)
2011    27,495  (down – 2% on 2010)
2010    28,103  (down – 6% on 2009)    link to 2010 data
2009    30,038  (up  +17% on 2008)
2008    25,673  (down -10% on 2007)
2007    28,371 (up +36% on 2006)
2006    20,841
2005    7,612
2000    32,238
1996    1,918

(Manston had the 10th highest air freight tonnage in the UK in 2008.  Details ).



Airport Contact Details:  Manston. Ramsgate, Kent  CT12 5BP
Tel:  01843 823 600
Multimap of CT12 5BP  Kent International airport
Proportion of domestic passengers, out of total passengers
– comparing Tables 9 and 10.2
 2.4% in 2006
0.5% in 2007
15.1% in 2008
Business Aviation:  Number of business flights (= private jets) 
CAA statistics, annual figures – Table 3.1
 2007      64 (and 597 air taxis)
2008      51 (and 258 air taxis)

Air freight at Manston – freight tonnages:

from CAA airport statistics (Table 13 of each month’s airport data)
All of 2011
Sept 2011      2482 tonnes   (CAA data)
Aug 2011       1888 tonnes
July 2011       2225 tonnes   (CAA data)
June 2011      2332
May 2011        2420
Apr 2011        1914
Mar 2011        2009
Feb 2011       1865
Jan 2011       1837
All of 2010     28,103  tonnes  (down 6% on 2009)   1.2% of UK total
Aug 2010    – no mention  July 2010    – no mention  June 2010   – 227 tonnes   (0.11% of the UK total)  May 2010   –   820 tonnes   (0.4% of the UK total)  April 2010   – 874 tonnes   (0.55% of the UK total)Mar 2010    – 2,293 tonnes   (1.08% of the UK total)Feb 2010     – 1,680 tonnes   (0.95% of the UK total)Jan 2010       – 3,334 tonnes (2% of the UK total)  by comparison, East Midlands airport was 11.7%
All of 2009   – 30,038 tonnes   (1.47% of the UK total)
  Dec 2009      –   2,946 tonnes   (1.556% of the UK total)  Nov 2009      – 3,055 tonnes (1.55% of the UK total)
Oct 2009       – 2,818 tonnes (1.45% of the UK total)
All of 2008   – 25,673 tonnes (1.12% of the UK total)
All of 2007   – 28,371 (1.22% of the   UK total)
All of 2006   – 20,841 tonnes   (0.9% of the UK total)
All of 2005   – 7,612 tonnes (0.32% of the UK total)
All of 2004   –   26,626 tonnes (1.12% of the UK total)
All of 2003     – 43,026 tonnes (1.95% of the UK total)
All of 2002     – 32,240   tonnes (1.47% of the UK total)
All of 2001   – 35,521 tonnes (1.66% of the UK total)
All of 2000   – 32,239 tonnes (1.38% of the UK total)
All of 1995     –   5,073 tonnes (0.29% of the UK total)

Master Plan 2009 published

27th November 2009    Previous master plan figures were significantly cut back.

Though the figures for passengers are a little lower than those initially in
the draft Master Plan consultation, they are still massively higher than at present.
And unrealistic.
The airport hopes to get up to 1,268,000 passengers per year by 2015.
The airport hopes for 2.2 million passengers per year by 2018.  (Previous figure
was 2.7 million) and 4,752,000 passengers by 2033. (The previous figure for 2033 was 5.7 million).

The master plan shows the airport expects fewer than 50,000 passengers in 2010,
rising to 527,000 in 2014.  It is working on the assumption that airlines will
begin operating daily scheduled services from the airport from 2014 at the latest.
The total number of passenger flights per day are expected to rise from one in
2010 to 56 in 2018 and 97 in 2033.

They also hope to get up to 138,400 tonnes of air freight per year by 2015,
and 401,200 tonnes by 2033.
The whole Master Plan document (116 pages) is at   Master Plan.     3.32. MB
Draft  Airport Master Plan 2008 published     12.10.2008
Consultation    ended 19th December 2008
Kent International Airport published details of its development plans for the
next 25 years.   Included in the draft Master Plan are details of how it sees growth opportunities for the airport during the next 25 years.   The airport says “The final version of the Master Plan will be published in early 2009”   but it is still a draft master plan.
The consultation said “It is not necessary to extend the runway within the Master Plan period unless required by airline operators.”   and   “Structure Plan and Local Plan policies estimate that a throughput of up to  6 million passengers per annum and up to 400,000 tonnes of freight per annum could be achieved at the airport by 2015 and that these figures should not be seen as a ceiling limit on development at the airport.”

Airport Master Plan:

Previous ? around 2002, by Wiggins Group, who then owned the airport.
Master Plan went out for consultation – published 12.10.2008, with deadline for
comment 19.12.2008.   Massive expansion anticipated, for freight and passenger
By contrast with the massive growth now proposed, the ? 2002 version stated:
“The master plan identifies the need for additional warehousing facilities to
facilitate the growth in cargo traffic from the current level of some 35,000 tonnes
to an annual rate of 70,000 tonnes by the end of financial year 2002/03, a figure
that is likely to be exceeded given the strength of demand being shown. The master
plan also specifically identified the creation of hangar and aviation related
facilities on land to the north of the B2050, commonly referred to as the Northern Grass”.


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