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Secretary of State Grants First Ever Airport DCO at Manston in Kent

Michael Humphries QC
Isabella Tafur

The Secretary of State for Transport has today granted development consent for the first Airport examined under the Planning Act 2008 regime. His decision paves the way for the reopening and development of Manston Airport, near Ramsgate, as a proposed dedicated air freight facility handling up to 10,000 air cargo movements per year.

The Secretary of State found that there was a clear need for the freight facility which would bring significant economic and socio-economic benefits to Thanet and East Kent. The Secretary of State found that the development would support the Government’s policy objectives of making the UK one of the best-connected countries in the world with the aviation sector making a significant contribution to the economic growth of the UK.

In light of the Court of Appeal’s decision in February 2020 on the Airports National Policy Statement, the Secretary of State afforded no weight to the NPS in reaching his decision. The Secretary of State took into account issues including climate change and noise, but was satisfied that the benefits of the scheme outweighed any adverse impacts and that there was a compelling case in the public interest justifying the exercise of compulsory purchase powers.

The examination into the Manston DCO took place between January to July 2019 during which the  ExA issued five rounds of written questions and held issue specific hearings on need, noise, landscape, socio-economics, traffic, habitats, the draft DCO and compulsory acquisition.

A copy of the Secretary of State’s decision can be found here.

Michael Humphries QC and Isabella Tafur represented the applicant, instructed by BDB Pitmans.