Support Judicial Review of SECOND Manston Airport DCO

by Jenny Dawes

Support Judicial Review of SECOND Manston Airport DCO

by Jenny Dawes
Jenny Dawes
Case Owner
I live in Ramsgate and care about the town, its people and its future. I couldn't do this without the support and encouragement of scores of remarkable Ramsgate residents and hundreds of donors.
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Jenny Dawes
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Latest: April 17, 2024

Some good news!

Law for Change, a Community Interest Company that supports legal action for public good, has agreed to support my challenge of the Secretary of State’s decision making a development consent ord…

Read more

Here we go again...

On 18 August 2022, the Department for Transport announced that the Secretary of State had, for a second time, decided to grant a Development Consent Order (DCO) for the re-opening and re-development of the disused Manston Airport.

The first DCO was quashed by the High Court in February 2021 when the  Secretary of State conceded that his decision letter did not give adequate reasons for granting the Manston Airport Development Consent Order 2020.

Yet again the decision goes against the advice of the panel appointed by the Planning Inspectorate and - this time - it also goes against the advice of the Independent Assessor appointed by the Secretary of State himself.

A Development Consent Order is planning permission for a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project and applies when a developer wishes to increase the capacity of an airport by 10 million passengers or 10,000 air cargo movements a year.

Why does this matter?

 In a world struggling to come to terms with the devastating impacts of climate change and international conflict, the way in which a government interprets and applies its own policies and strategies matters more than ever.

Locally, the re-opening of Manston Airport would result in irreparable harm to the people, the economy, the natural environment and the heritage of the towns and villages of East Kent.


Manston Airport is a former military airfield that failed repeatedly as a commercial airport. It is in the district of Thanet in Kent, at the south-eastern corner of England, overlooking the English Channel and approximately 75 miles from London.

The eastern end of the runway is just over 500 metres from the houses that mark the start of Ramsgate, the nearest town to the development site and home to over 40,000 people. The proposed flight path cuts across this historic town, over the Royal Harbour and Main Sands to the English Channel, just 4.2 kilometres from the end of the runway.

The airport closed in 2014. In 2018, RiverOak Strategic Partners Ltd (RSP) applied for a Development Consent Order to re-open and re-develop the site as a dedicated cargo hub with potential for some passenger flights and ancillary services.

RiverOak Strategic Partners Ltd is a UK registered company and with several single-purpose subsidiary companies associated with airport operation. The ultimate majority shareholder is a company registered in Panama.

RSP's application for a DCO was accepted for examination by a panel of 4 Inspectors appointed by the Planning Inspectorate. There were 8 issue-specific hearings, two compulsory acquisition hearings, four open floor hearings and 2,052 relevant representations. In its final report to the Secretary of State, the Examining Authority said "the levels of freight that the Proposed Development could expect to handle are modest and could be catered for at existing airports" and that RSP had "failed to demonstrate sufficient need for the Proposed Development".

 ExA concluded that "on balance the benefits of this proposal would not outweigh its impacts" and recommended that the Secretary of State should NOT grant development consent.

Development Consent was granted on 9 July 2020.

With the support of  hundreds of donors, I was able to mount a successful challenge and the DCO was quashed by the High Court on 15 February 2021.

The Secretary of State, having conceded that he had "not given adequate reasons to enable the reader to understand why he disagreed with the Examining Authority on the issue of need", appointed Ove Arup and Partners Limited to act in the capacity of an Independent Assessor and to assist in the redetermination of the Application. Two further rounds of consultation followed with over 800 representations submitted in response to the redetermination process.

The Independent Assessor concluded that there had been no evidence presented in respect of the quantitative need case, nor significant or material changes to policy that would lead to different conclusions being reached to those reached by the Examining Authority in 2019. 


All evidence submitted to first Examination and the Second and Third Rounds of Consultation can be viewed here on the Planning Inspectorate's website PINS

What next?

My legal team of Alice Goodenough and Susan Ring, consider there are sufficient grounds to begin the step-by-step process of applying for permission for Judicial Review of the Manston Airport Development Consent Order 2022 and have instructed barristers Richard Harwood OBE KC and Gethin Thomas, both of 39 Essex Chambers.

Each stage will need to be funded.  The funding target may change but only to raise such sums as could reasonably be spent on this litigation.

Any residual funding from the first campaign will be carried over to support this new campaign for a Judicial Review of the Second Manston Development Consent Order.

I am enormously grateful to everyone who contributed to the first, successful challenge and convinced that it is both worthwhile and important to continue to challenge flawed decision making. 

If you are able to, please consider donating to this fresh challenge.

Update 50

Jenny Dawes

April 17, 2024

Some good news!

Law for Change, a Community Interest Company that supports legal action for public good, has agreed to support my challenge of the Secretary of State’s decision making a development consent order (DCO) for the reopening of Manston Airport for freight. The case will be heard in the Court of Appeal on Wednesday 24 April when I will once again be represented by Alice Goodenough of Goodenough Ring Solicitors and barristers Richard Harwood KC and Gethin Thomas, both of 39 Essex Chambers.

The indemnity provided by Law for Change affords me protection for the costs I would face if I lose this appeal.

The protection is particularly welcome given the long fight we have had to get to this stage. Following my successful judicial review against the first DCO for Manston Airport, made in July 2020, a second DCO was made in August 2022, permitting a newly re-opened Manston Airport to handle at least 10,000 air cargo movements a year.

Manston is a former military base, close to the town of Ramsgate and overlooking the English Channel. The town lies directly beneath the flight path with the end of the runway just 4km from Ramsgate's Royal Harbour. If the development were to go ahead it would result in substantial local environmental harm and impact on the residents of Ramsgate and surrounding areas. But the harms would be far reaching: Manston was not included in the Government's forecasts for its Jet Zero Strategy but emissions arising from the development would result in increased CO2 emissions and hamper the ability of the UK to reach its target of net zero by 2050.

There are also implications for other Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIPs) as the appeal raises an untested point of law relating to the Infrastructure Planning (Examination Procedure) Rules 2010 and the fairness of the process for deciding whether a NSIP should proceed. Fairness is central to this case, particularly, given the Secretary of State dismissed the views of his Examining Authority (for the second time) and those of the Independent Aviation Assessor that he appointed when making the DCO and instead opted to rely on one report that was not consulted on and another the supporting evidence for which was kept confidential.

Since July 2020 my campaign has raised more than £200,000, mostly in small donations from local residents and supporters across the UK. This sum has funded the first judicial review, the redetermination process, including expert evidence we submitted, the second judicial review and now the appeal. But this is a small community and fundraising is increasingly difficult against a background of economic uncertainty

Law for Change was launched in 2023 as a funder of last resort to support cases with tangible moral purposes and a clear potential for legal success. It was created to use the law as a tool to deliver wider social change and focuses on cases that can make a difference, for a significant number of people, not just the claimant. The support it offers allows a little breathing space but also confirms that our fight to hold the Secretary of State to account is about more than just a little local difficulty.

Update 49

Jenny Dawes

April 10, 2024

Just enough relief to prevent insanity?

"Why should we tolerate a diet of weak poisons ... the noise of motors with just enough relief to prevent insanity? Who would want to live in a world which is just not quite fatal?

 Rachel Carson (1907-1964), Silent Spring, 1962 

Rachel Carson was an American marine biologist, best known for highlighting the dangers of synthetic pesticides. Today we are aware of many other manmade harms, including the detrimental effects of emissions from commonly used forms of transport.

Wednesday 24 April 2024, the date of the hearing in the Court of Appeal, is also International Noise Awareness Day. The UK Noise Association points out that nearly a third of the population is bothered to some extent by aircraft noise but accepts that "Aircraft are the work-horses of the globalised economy". At what cost?

"Aviation is a Health Issue", a new report by Stay Grounded, a global network of more than 200 organisation, points out that aircraft noise is an immediate health risk for people living near airports and under flight paths - noise that is associated with a number of serious health problems including cardiovascular diseases (e.g. ischaemic heart disease), cognitive impairment (especially in children), mental health issues, sleep disturbance (and its associated health effects), diabetes, and stress-related diseases like hypertension. The same report also points out that burning aviation fuel releases pollutants that cause thousands of premature deaths.

In its consideration of the application for a Development Consent Order for the former Manston Airport, the Examining Authority (ExA) reported that Thanet District Council had highlighted concerns about the impact of noise on communities in Ramsgate, Manston, St Nicholas-at-Wade and Pegwell Bay, with Ramsgate the residential area most affected . Further afield, Canterbury City Council identified Herne Bay, Whitstable and surrounding settlement as areas that would be affected while Dover District Council identified adverse noise effects in 5 locations.

ExA recognised that "Noise can have significant effects on the environment and on quality of life ... In view of this the ExA concluded that noise is an important and relevant to its consideration of the Proposed Development (ExA Report 6.8.6).

Note: The Civil Aviation Authority website has a section on Measuring and modelling noise . However, aircraft noise is not currently a statutory nuisance in the UK.

Update 48

Jenny Dawes

April 3, 2024

We are not alone

Artist JMW Turner claimed the skies over the Isle of Thanet were the loveliest in Europe. Even today there is an other-worldly feel to the A299 as it runs alongside the empty airport with its abandoned airstrip. With hovering kestrels on either side, long views out over to the English Channel and enormous skies overhead, it's easy to think of Thanet as a place apart.

Supporters of the reopening of Manston Airport as a cargo hub convey the impression that a combination of too many houses and too few jobs is unique to this corner of England. The site's owners, RiverOak Strategic Partners Ltd, claim Manston is a "unique and important infrastructure project" yet there are apparently 40 commercial airports in the UK and, of those, up to 20 regional airports have ambitions to expand. Four UK airports, including Manston, have live planning applications while permission has already been granted for Bristol, Southampton, and Stansted. In addition, Heathrow is considering its options for expansion while Leeds Bradford has decided to make use of its existing planning permission. Simon Calder, writing in The Independent on 22 March 2024, listed Manston as one of six 'ghost airports that have closed this century.

I'm not alone in opposing the re-opening of Manston - this funding page and its forerunner make clear the depth of feeling among members of the local community. Together we stand as part of an international movement concerned about the less desirable aspects of the aviation growth. We align with other community campaigners and environmental groups around the UK and with Stay Grounded, a global network of 200 member organisations. Together we are part of No Airport Expansion (NAE), a coalition of groups working to reduce the impact of aviation on the climate crisis and the health of residents.

Update 47

Jenny Dawes

March 25, 2024

Truth - the quality of being true, genuine, actual or factual*

As we get closer to 24 April and the hearing in the Court of Appeal, it seems a good time to address some of the myths and misinformation that have sprung up since the first funding page went live on CrowdJustice more than three and a half years ago.

I'm not on social media but friends pass on some of the choicest comments. Apparently I've been called a KGB agent, a socialite and a lot of other things that are probably best not repeated. I've been accused of being in league with un-named developers and receiving pay offs in brown envelopes. It's also been suggested that I may be drug trafficking, money laundering or otherwise living off the proceeds of crime.

The truth is more mundane: I live quietly - in Ramsgate. Rather than "living like a queen", I contribute to the crowd funder - anonymously - and much of my time is taken up with the legal process. And, for the avoidance of doubt, yes, I was here when the airport was operating and yes, I did experience 'late arrivals' - or night flights.

Another truth: I have read, researched, and considered the evidence -  the arguments in favour of re-opening the airport simply do not stack up.

It seems that the strongest support for RSP's proposals comes from those who would not be adversely affected if the airport did re-open, and from many who are either not in need of work or have already retired. The argument that if the site isn't used for aviation, it will be covered in housing just doesn't hold water.

The basis of the legal case is an argument about the way in which the Secretary of State reached his decision to twice grant a Development Consent Order in favour of RiverOak Strategic Partners Ltd - RSP is simply an interested party.

While there are good grounds for challenging the myth of a "celebrated former Battle of Britain airfield and commercial airport" with potential to emerge as "a successful and profitable airfreight hub, of national significance", the immediate priority is to reach, or, at least, get closer to the funding target of £100,000 in the next four weeks.

*Definition from Oxford Languages online

Update 46

Jenny Dawes

March 2, 2024

Sometimes truth can be elusive

With a hearing in the Court of Appeal looming, articles suggesting low-cost carriers like EasyJet and Ryanair could reintroduce passenger routes from Manston as early as 2028 have appeared in publications as diverse as Metro and the Majorca Daily Bulletin . Similar articles appeared in February 2023.

A senior travel writer for The Telegraph visited the area to find out about the plans*. He wrote, "Standing on the abandoned Manston airstrip - a southwesterly wind whipping up the runway, weeds fighting for their lives in the cracks of the concrete - it is hard to imagine that within four years this unprepossessing corner of Kent could be the site of the UK's newest airport."   Inside the terminal building, "One office door has been splintered, with a gaping hole in it: "Police use the site to practise kicking down doors," explains ... the general manager..."

The owner of the site, RSP, remains optimistic. Tony Freudmann, Main Board Director at RSP explained Manston could offer early-morning slots (6am to 7am) that were hard to get at other airports and said conversations were ongoing with short-haul airlines, low-cost carriers like Ryanair and EasyJet. "EasyJet told The Telegraph it had no plans to operate from Manston, and Ryanair did not comment."

In the words of a former local councillor, "Manston is surrounded on three sides by the sea. It will succeed as a passenger airport when fish start taking holidays."

* Greg Dickinson, Senior Travel Writer: The abandoned Home Counties airport being brought back from the dead The Telegraph 29 February 2024

Update 45

Jenny Dawes

Feb. 12, 2024

A long read

On 7 February 2024, the Rt Hon Lord Justice Warby granted me permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal against the dismissal of my judicial review application challenging the decision of the Secretary of State to make a development consent order (DCO) for the re-opening of Manston Airport.

In his Order, Lord Justice Warby reasoned that certain aspects of the High Court decision warranted appellate scrutiny and that the remaining arguments relating to "need' were properly arguable with a reasonable prospect of success.

The following day, a partner at BDB Pitmans, (RSP's solicitors) Mustafa Latif-Aramesh, posted a commentary on BDB Pitman's website that was picked up and echoed in posts by RSP, Sir Roger Gale MP, Craig Mackinlay MP, and by airport supporters.

The thrust of these various attacks on the reasoned decision of an experienced judge of the Court of Appeal, is largely based in the argument that because Manston Airport is 'critical infrastructure', it shouldn't be delayed by legal challenge. In the case of BDP Pitmans, Mr Latif-Aramesh further suggested that, since "people have had their fair go", access to justice had been served and Aarhus costs protection (whereby the liability of the Claimant to pay the costs of the other side if they lose is capped at £5,000 for an individual and £10,000 in other cases, and the costs of the Defendant and Interested Party are likewise capped at £35,000 each) should no longer apply.

Sir Roger Gale MP, supported by Craig Mackinlay MP, is proposing to complain to the Lord Chancellor, seemingly on the basis that the Court of Appeal has dared to decide that there are valid legal questions to consider.

A DCO facilitates the compulsory purchase of land. Ann Gloag acquired Manston Airport - and its debts - in 2013. When early attempts to persuade her to sell it on failed, an American company, RiverOak Investment Corp (ROIC) tried to push the local district council to affect a compulsory purchase. When that failed, ROIC applied for a DCO before handing over to the newly formed RiverOak Strategic Partners Ltd (RSP).

The statutory examination of RSP's application ran from January 2019 to July 2019. It is true that many people had their say through this process, which concluded with the Examining Authority ultimately concluding that a DCO should not be granted because there was no need case for Manston Airport and there were various factors that weighed against the development, including climate change.

The Secretary of State at the Department for Transport (DfT) did not agree with this expert advice but failed to give proper reasons why, when granting the first DCO in July 2020. Following an application for judicial review of this decision, the DfT conceded that the decision was unlawful and the DCO was quashed in February 2021. It is worth noting that, had RSP thought the Secretary of State's decision was defensible, they could have continued to defend the decision in the High Court. They chose not to do so.

A second DCO was granted in August 2022. This time, the decision not only went against the recommendations of the Government's own Planning Inspectors, but also against the opinion of the Independent Aviation Expert appointed by the Secretary of State.

To find support for the case for expansion where no independent advisors thought it existed, the Government relied on outdated and untested evidence collected by RSP's expert and on a report submitted at the eleventh hour and not open to public comment.

So, while most of the evidence relating to this development has been subject to intense scrutiny, and on the basis of that evidence, the experts and government advisors concluded it should not go ahead, the Government clung to two pieces of evidence that were not opened to proper public scrutiny to get round this unwelcome advice. To put it another way, the essence of this case is that people have not had "their fair go".

In these circumstances, it is hard to see how anyone can object to proper legal scrutiny through the courts, including the Court of Appeal. Especially given that the same processes are also available to the Defendant and to the Interested Party.

Opposition to the Secretary of State's decisions has been funded by hundreds of people, some of whom could only afford to give £5 while a few have been able to contribute several thousand pounds. The one thing they all have in common is that they do not believe Manston Airport counts as "critical infrastructure", nor that RSP's proposals amount to "a significant investment in the National Interest". Our opponents have deep pockets; the DfT is funded by the public purse while RSP is funded by anonymous "investors".

Removing Aarhus costs protection would effectively amount to pricing individuals out the justice system. To do so would prevent a legitimate challenge being raised in the courts about an infrastructure project that is not supported by the Government's own expert advisors. Such an argument would prevent access to justice, precisely what Aarhus was set up to avoid.

Update 44

Jenny Dawes

Feb. 7, 2024

Permission to appeal granted!

The Rt Hon Lord Justice Warby has granted permission to appeal on the "need" grounds but refused permission to appeal on the "climate change" issue.

The "need" grounds, approved by Mrs Justice Lieven in March last year, are:

  • Ground 1(a) which is that it (1) was procedurally unfair to rely upon the Azimuth Report without having the underlying evidence or submitting that evidence to scrutiny by Interested Parties (2) the reliance on the IBA* report which the IPs were not afforded the opportunity to comment on.
  • Ground 1(c) irrationality – i.e. that in determining whether there is a need for the development, the Defendant irrationally relied on qualitative, rather than quantitative evidence, despite having asked for quantitative need to be demonstrated in his Statement of Matters.
  • Ground 1(d) which is there was an error of law as to treatment of potential growth at other airports; the minister erred in law because he was unlawfully advised in the briefing that the potential for growth at other airports was not a material consideration.
Update 43

Jenny Dawes

Jan. 27, 2024

Situation normal ...

 As we await a response from the Court of Appeal, the funding page has rolled forward for a further 30 days

In the meantime, our government continues to consider environmental issues a low priority.  By way of a contrast,  Schiphol Amsterdam has just published a study outlining a degrowth strategy for European aviation to bring CO2 emissions in line with the Paris Agreement: Schiphol study

Update 42

Jenny Dawes

Dec. 10, 2023

Highly insufficient - even in cloud cuckoo land

Merriam-Webster defines cloud cuckoo land as 'a realm of fantasy or of whimsical or foolish behavior'. Too often it describes UK government policy.

 Climate Action Tracker is an independent scientific project that tracks government climate action. Its latest report, timed to coincide with COP28, makes it clear that no G20 country has policies in place consistent with the Paris agreement's goal of limiting global heating to 1.5°C and meeting their "fair share" of emissions reduction. You can find the full report here: COP28 UAE Initiatives

Climate Action Tracker's data is divided into four categories: Sufficient, Insufficient, Highly insufficient and Critically insufficient. The UK is classed as Highly insufficient - along with Australia, China, and Brazil.

 Earlier this year the UK government's own Climate Change Committee published "Progress in reducing emissions: 2023 report to parliament". The report was stark: "Human activities are causing our climate to change. Only decisive action will slow further changes."

The report went on to address airport expansion:

"There has been continued airport expansion in recent years, counter to our assessment that there should be no net airport expansion across the UK. No airport expansions should proceed until a UK-wide capacity management framework is in place to assess annually and, if required, control sector COemissions and non-COeffects."

Climate Action Tracker too is scathing about the UK's approach to aviation, in particular, its reliance on offsetting emissions by using technologies that have not been fully developed, including carbon capture:

There is limited global potential for capturing CO2 from the atmosphere and permanently storing it (Fuss et al., 2018; Jeffery et al., 2020). This limited potential, if used at all, should be reserved to balance out residual emissions to achieve net zero global emissions, rather than to facilitate a stark increase in aviation sector emissions in one of the world’s wealthiest countries.

Is it too late to step into the real world?

Update 41

Jenny Dawes

Nov. 27, 2023

Just marking time

All the necessary documents have been lodged with the court and it's now a matter of waiting for a decision on our application for permission to appeal.

Almost exactly three years ago, the then Secretary of State conceded that he had not given "adequate reasons in his decision letter to enable the reader to understand why he disagreed with the Examining Authority on the issue of need for the development of Manston Airport'.  An admission that led to the quashing of the development order, the appointment of an independent aviation assessor, fresh rounds of consultation and, ultimately, to the granting of a second Development Consent Order.  In all that time, I have seen no convincing new evidence to support the need for a cargo hub at Manston.

Earlier this month, the Mayor of London rejected an application to construct a 21,500-capacity venue on the site of a former Olympic car park in Stratford, East London. Developer, MSG London, claimed the project would bring a £2.5 billion boost for London's economy, create 4,300 jobs a year during construction, and 3,200 jobs a year once open. Among his reasons for rejection, the Mayor of London ruled it "would result in an unacceptable negative impact on local residents".  

 In a foreword to the government's recent consultation on operational reforms to the Nationally Significant Infrastructure (NSIP) consenting process, Lee Rowley MP,
then Minister for Local Government and Building Safety, said " I hope you will respond to this consultation to help us make sure national infrastructure projects that come forward are of the highest quality and work for the benefit the local communities that host them as well as for the whole country."   A laudable aim but will the government deliver this vision of a fairer society?

Update 40

Jenny Dawes

Oct. 31, 2023

The next stage

An application for permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal was lodged yesterday.

Mr Justice Dove's ruling last month was not on whether the decision to grant a DCO for Manston was “correct” but on whether it was lawful. Judges cannot look at the merits of a decision and whether it is the right or wrong decision, only its legality. The decision can be the wrong decision, and even be harmful to an area and its inhabitants, but still be lawful.

And so we move to the next stage, the application for permission to appeal Mr Justice Dove's ruling.  It matters because this campaign is funded, not by faceless investors with deep pockets, but by individuals who care about our collective future.  Thank you!

Update 39

Jenny Dawes

Oct. 11, 2023


Rather later than expected, Mr Justice Dove has refused our application for permission to appeal his decision of 22 September. We will be applying to the Court of Appeal.

Despite apparent setbacks, I remain 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, and the procedure followed by the Secretary of State was deeply flawed.

Update 38

Jenny Dawes

Sept. 29, 2023

What now?

Last week's decision was disappointing - but not the end.

You can read the full text of Mr Justice Dove's decision here: Manston Decision 22 September 2022

All three parties received a confidential draft of the decision on Tuesday 19 September. This meant that, in accordance with instructions issued by the court, we were ready to lodge an application for permission to appeal before the decision was made public on Friday 22 September.

The Department for Transport and RSP have had a week to make any submissions in response to the application. 

Mr Justice Dove will make his decision on Monday 2 October. If he refuses permission to appeal, which is often the case at the High Court stage, we will have 21 days to apply to the Court of Appeal for permission.

Update 37

Jenny Dawes

Sept. 22, 2023


Sadly the application for judicial review was not successful

While I am disappointed with the judge's decision today, this is not the end of the process. Judicial review proceedings are seldom straightforward and this one particularly so, given that this is thought to be the first redetermined Development Consent Order (DCO) considered by the courts.

Having already succeeded once in a judicial review against the Secretary of State's first decision to approve Manston Airport, we always knew it would be more difficult to succeed a second time round.

That is not because the economic case for Manston Airport has improved or because the climate change concerns have been resolved - quite the opposite in fact - but because the government was more careful the second time round to immunise its decision from judicial review. So far, that approach has worked.

However, I remain 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, and the procedure followed by the Secretary of State was deeply flawed. The case raises significant issues relating to DCO redetermination processes, which will have an impact on how those cases are conducted in the future. I will therefore be appealing today's ruling.

Update 36

Jenny Dawes

Sept. 4, 2023

Silly Season?

August used to be a month for silly stories but this year has seen no respite from continuous reports of havoc wreaked by war and climate change. Now it's September - the holidays are over, and politicians and press are taking up positions for the party conference season.

The front page of yesterday's Sunday Telegraph reported that the Prime Minister's "proportionate and pragmatic" approach to net zero would mean rejecting the advice of the Climate Change Committee that there should be no further airport expansion until the government had a plan for managing carbon emissions. The Comment page followed up with the headline "Sunak is finally standing up to the green Blob", heralding this as "good news for 'hard-pressed families looking forward to their annual foreign trip during this cost of living crisis." and claiming "the Climate Change Act creates endless opportunities for the Government's opponents to wage lawfare against it."  The Guardian quickly responded with "Ignoring call to halt new airports would be 'electoral carnage' Sunak warned".

Clearly the Government doesn't do joined up thinking - or maybe it does... A recent report by the New Economics Foundation, Losing Altitude: The Economics of Air Transport in Great Britain, found that "broad access to international travel ... brings social benefits...however, the welfare case is undermined by the share of new capacity which is typically captured by a small and wealthy subset of the British population while, each year, around half of British residents do not fly at all. Furthermore, the welfare benefit must now be offset against welfare losses resulting from greater environmental damage..." These welfare losses affect all of us, whether we fly or not.

Thanet is an area with high levels of deprivation and a high incidence of respiratory illnesses often associated with poor air quality. At the beginning of August, Thanet District Council's Climate Change Advisory Group received a report on projected carbon emissions from a reopened Manston Airport, based on information made public by the developer, RiverOak Strategic Partners Ltd. In simplistic terms, the report states that an area 4.5 times the size of Thanet would need to be planted with trees within the next five years to offset aircraft emissions forecast over a twenty-year period from the time the airport opens. Thanet, as a district, needs to halve its total emissions by 2030 to align with an agreed Kent County Council emissions reduction pathway. However, that reduction - and the benefits it would bring - would be almost wiped out by aircraft emissions from Manston in its second year of operation.

The Climate Change Committee describes the Climate Change Act 2008 as "the basis for the UK's approach to tackling and responding to climate change. It requires that emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are reduced and that climate change risks are adapted to." We do not know when Mr Justice Dove will give his decision but one of the grounds for judicial review of the Manston Airport DCO was around climate change. This was not, as the Sunday Telegraph might suggest, about waging 'lawfare' but rather about fighting to stem, in the words of the Aviation Environment Federation, "welfare losses resulting from greater environmental damage".

Update 35

Jenny Dawes

Aug. 8, 2023

More questions than answers

Tuesday 3 July 2023 was the hottest day ever and last week saw the highest sea temperature ever recorded.  Both events have been attributed to climate change caused by, or, at the very least, exacerbated by human activity.

In the week before our court hearing, the government's Climate Change Committee (CCC) issued its Progress Report 2023 which recommended that there should be no airport expansion until the government had a plan for managing carbon emissions.

On 17 July, the New Economics Foundation (NEF) released "Losing Altitude", a report on the economics of air transport in Great Britain. Both "Losing Altitude" and NEF's earlier report on the climate cost of airport expansion, "Turbulence Expected", published in May 2021, contain a similar recommendation to the CCC report.

This week Thanet District Council's Climate Change Advisory Group (CCAG) considered the council's updated Net Zero Strategy which  recognises that: “The UK Government is responsible for the reduction of emissions from airports, ports and military transport. For example, the Government’s approach for achieving net zero aviation by 2050 is set out in their Jet Zero Strategy. TDC has no powers with regards to these emissions however we will keep a watching brief on Manston Airport’s adherence to their low emission plan.”

The CCAG went on to consider a report on RiverOak Strategic Partners' carbon reduction plan - a plan that raises more questions than it provides answers.

Although August is traditionally a month for light summer reading, each of these reports is well worth reading - here are the links: 

CCC Progress Report 2023

Losing Altitude

Turbulence Expected

TDC Net Zero Strategy 2023

RSP Carbon Reduction Plans

TDC report on RSP Carbon Reduction Plans

Update 34

Jenny Dawes

July 7, 2023

The Morning After

The one and a half days scheduled for the hearing in the Royal Courts of Justice stretched to two days as barristers representing the Claimant (me), the Defendant (Secretary of State for Transport), and the Interested Party (RiverOak Strategic Partners), each put their case.

The judge made it clear that his decision might not ready until September or October.  It is impossible to guess what that decision might be.  

A director of RSP, in an interview for local radio this morning,, was confident the Secretary of State would appeal if the decision went against him.  The other option open to the Secretary of State would be to accept the judgement and carry out a further consultation before remaking his decision.  Alternatively, the Interested Party, could appeal. 

If, however, the decision went in favour of the Secretary of State, it would be for me to consult my lawyers and decide whether there were sufficient grounds for appeal.

Judicial review is not for faint hearted!


Update 33

Jenny Dawes

July 4, 2023

Almost there - but not quite

In less than 24 hours I will be at the Royal Courts of Justice.

Reams of paper have been submitted. Tomorrow, Wednesday 5 July, my barrister, Richard Harwood KC, will present our case, then barristers for both the Secretary of State for Transport and RiverOak Strategic Partners will respond. The hearing will almost certainly continue on Thursday morning. The decision will follow in due course.

We may not have quite reached the CrowdJustice target but I am so very, very grateful to everyone who has made this court hearing possible by supporting this two-part campaign since its inception in July 2020.

Update 32

Jenny Dawes

June 28, 2023

Push Comes to Shove

A very sincere "Thank you!" to everyone who has supported this campaign from its beginnings in 2020.

The hearing is now a week away and the fund stands at just under 90% of the amount needed to pay legal bills and costs. Now is the time to donate to the current crowd funder if you've been thinking about getting round to it - or, if you are able, to make an additional contribution, no matter how small.

This judicial review will focus on just two areas, Need and Climate Change, making it very much in tune with the times and with the Climate Change Committee's 2023 Progress Report to Parliament released today.

In a summary of the report, the Guardian said:

 "The committee warned that the UK could no longer expand any of its airports without closures or shrinking of capacity elsewhere but the government seems not to have accepted this."

The report recommends making the National Planning Policy Framework consistent with Net Zero and calls for "a suite of policy and technology options to address aviation demand" while stressing the need for a framework to manage airport capacity:

"There has been continued airport expansion in recent years, counter to our assessment that there should be no net airport expansion across the UK. No airport expansions should proceed until a UK-wide capacity management framework is in place to assess annually and, if required, control sector COemissions and non-COeffects."

It is not too late for the Department for Transport to re-assess the decision to grant a Development Consent Order for the re-opening and development of the former Manston Airport.

In today's climate constrained world it makes no environmental or economic sense.

Update 31

Jenny Dawes

June 24, 2023

Wishful thinking - or blue sky thinking?

On a beautiful summer evening, a small group with a banner proclaiming "Why not Manston?" gathered at the entrance to Ramsgate Harbour's East Pier. The demonstration went largely unnoticed by guests on their way out along the harbour arm to a fundraising "Solstice Supper" in support of the judicial review.

The two groups hold diametrically opposed views, except in one respect. The protestors think those against re-opening the airport would prefer to see it used for housing. Not the case - and probably the only point on which we might agree.

On the other hand, supporters of the airport believe it will offer thousands of jobs, transform the economy of Thanet and that technological advances will negate the harmful impacts of aviation. We strongly disagree.

Aditya Chakraborty, writing in the Guardian yesterday, said, "Realism comes from facing who we are and dropping the pretence that a growth miracle is just around the corner." We strongly agree!

Update 30

Jenny Dawes

June 21, 2023

Turning Point

Barristers for both the Secretary of State for Transport and RSP  have now submitted their skeleton arguments.

Skeleton arguments are, by their very nature, relatively short summaries, 25 pages or so, of what will be said at the hearing in two weeks' time. No surprises in the two latest documents. And no surprise that there are similarities between the two.

The hearing is two weeks away and there is just one more set of documents to be lodged, an agreed list of reading and a short chronology - no gripping bedtime read!

Today is the the Summer Solstice, the longest day and the turning point of the year.  Fundraising continues and this evening some of my supporters are hosting a Solstice Supper in support of this campaign - hope to see at least some of you there!

Update 29

Jenny Dawes

June 14, 2023

Three weeks to go

Yesterday my barristers' skeleton argument was filed with the court.  Next week it will be the turn of the Government Legal Department, for the Defendant,  and the lawyers acting for the Interested Party.

It all seems very orderly but the process of judicial review is not a smooth, easily costed progression. It twists and turns so that estimates of cost are just that, estimates.

The application for judicial review of the first Manston DCO progressed fairly smoothly until the Secretary of State for Transport conceded and opened up the case up for further consultation - three rounds of further consultation. This meant additional work for my legal team as well as the need to employ experts to review and comment on the questions posed by the government. However, the balance of the monies raised was enough to kickstart this second application for judicial review.

Has it been straightforward since then? No. The government repeatedly refused to comply with legitimate requests for information. Belated disclosure of ministerial briefings raised a raft of new issues resulting in further work and a further application to the court to amend our grounds. Extra work inevitably means extra costs and plays havoc with fundraising targets.

Yesterday, the Office for National Statistics reported that the UK economy had grown 2% month on month from May. On the same day, it was reported that the costs of borrowing were up. The pressures of increasing costs of living are very real for most people. I am enormously grateful for the more than 3,000 donations made to this two-part campaign since the summer of 2020 but it isn't over yet and more donations are urgently needed to bring us closer to a successful conclusion. Can I ask you to consider making at least a small donation? And to tell others about this campaign?


All the money raised through this funding page is transferred to the solicitors' client account after CrowdJustice's fee has been deducted (see website). The solicitors keep careful records of what has been received and what has been spent. Harrison Grant Ring and the barristers at 39 Essex Chambers are very aware of the need to keep costs to a minimum and each stage of the legal process is agreed with me in advance.  At no time do I have access to any of the funds raised.

Update 28

Jenny Dawes

June 7, 2023


The hearing is just four weeks away and we're into a tightly orchestrated period of preparation.

Yesterday, my solicitors lodged all relevant documents (the hearing bundle) with the court. Next week, the barristers will submit their skeleton argument to be followed a week later by arguments from both defendant and interested party. Finally, a week before the hearing, a list of issues, an agreed chronology, and an agreed list of essential reading will be submitted.

Taken together - thousands and thousands of words to be marshalled for the formal hearing which will start on Wednesday 5 July.

Update 27

Jenny Dawes

May 31, 2023


As May with its holidays and celebrations comes to an end, the time has come to really focus on fundraising.

The court hearing is just five weeks away. The barristers are about to file their skeleton argument - "a short overview of the areas of controversy", in the words of the Law Society. In this case, the areas of controversy can be summed up as Need and Climate Change.

Remember how, in 2019, a panel appointed by the Planning Inspectorate concluded that the applicant, "had failed to demonstrate sufficient need"? And how in 2022, the Independent Aviation Assessor appointed by the Secretary of State came to the same conclusion?

The Conservative Party has lost ground in the recent local elections - even in Thanet where they attempted to frame the contest as a vote for reopening Manston Airport. The developer claims to have the support of most local people. However, the outcome of the election, which saw Labour assume overall control of Thanet District Council for the first time since 2003, would seem to suggest that the majority agree with the Planning Inspectorate and the Independent Aviation Assessor - there is not sufficient need to justify the proposed development.

But now the push: there is just a short window of opportunity to complete the fundraising challenge and ensure the case against development will be heard in the Royal Courts of Justice.

Update 26

Jenny Dawes

May 26, 2023


Looking through the list of fundraising events planned in the lead up to the court hearing on 5 and 6 July, two things stand out.

How very generous people are with their time and talents. Thank you!

And how many simple pleasures would already have been lost if the development of the airport had gone ahead as planned; the quiet beauty of early summer, talking with friends, sharing a meal, listening to music, enjoying our natural environment. These are things worth fighting for.

(The Isle of Thanet News has published a preliminary list of events at IoTN)

Update 25

Jenny Dawes

May 12, 2023

Sense and Nonsense

Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn't.  

The Mad Hatter, Alice in Wonderland

Sometimes it seems we've achieved the Mad Hatter's vision but sometimes, just sometimes there are glimmers of sanity.

Without evidence, pro-airport groups consistently claim, a majority of local people want the former Manston Airport to re-open.

Both Thanet MPs attempted to turn the future of Manston into a campaign issue for the recent local elections. North Thanet Conservatives wanted to " Keep fighting to see Manston Airport re-open", while South Thanet Conservatives claimed," Vote Conservative - get our airport back." 

 And yet, on 4 May, the people of Thanet, voted for a majority Labour council which will focus on protecting our environment and building a thriving economy.

Angus Walker, solicitor for RiverOak Strategic Partners Ltd, was quoted in an article for New Civil Engineer dated 14 February 2023. He was talking about plans to expand Heathrow Airport but it could equally well have been Manston when he said, "The likely impacts on net zero, noise, air quality and road congestion remain serious and although surface transport decarbonisation is advancing, so-called 'jet zero' is some way behind."

The article continued: [Heathrow] recently updated its ... plan for sustainable growth, although aviation experts have said it does not adequately factor in expansion emissions and relies too heavily on the development of negative emission technologies.

Local politicians may argue that technology will (one day) mitigate environmental damage incurred in pursuit of economic gain, but the local elections have shown that people in Thanet think differently.

In just under eight weeks, the argument returns to the Royal Courts of Justice. Reaching the target of £75,000 before the 5 July is challenging but achievable.

Update 24

Jenny Dawes

May 1, 2023

A lesson from history

"For the transport of coming years, Ramsgate Corporation, with courage and exceptional foresight, have provided Ramsgate with an Air port. Situated within easy reach of the town, indeed within easy reach of the three towns, Ramsgate Air Port is going to play a big part in the future of Thanet, and Ramsgate in particular."

 Huddlestone, John Thanet 1937. 400 Facts And Curiosities of Ramsgate. Thanet Publicity Service, Ramsgate


In 1935, Ramsgate Corporation, forerunner of today's Ramsgate Town Council, took the bold step of investing in a civil airfield. It is  now an industrial estate, employing more people than the airport ever did.

The University of Sheffield and the Institute of Historical Research have set up a pilot project to explore how today's policy makers can learn from history. The project's advisory council is chaired by Lord Blunkett who said,

"... I have always been puzzled by two things: the first was the way in which the same policy dilemmas kept popping-up on the agenda, the second was the paucity of historical evidence that policymakers seemed to have at their fingertips about what policy responses had been tried in the past and therefore ‘what worked’."

As local elections approach and the future of the last of Thanet's three airfields is being used as a campaign tactic, it would seem that neither local nor national politicians are willing to learn lessons from history.

Update 23

Jenny Dawes

April 21, 2023

Back in court

Back to the Royal Courts of Justice on 5-6 July for a 1.5 day hearing. 

In the meantime, the funding target of £75k stands and will continue to roll forward at the end of each 30-day cycle.

Update 22

Jenny Dawes

April 20, 2023

A Real Challenge

As inflation remains high, and prices escalate, the need to raise a further £35k for Judicial Review of the Manston Airport DCO is not being made lightly.

We're waiting for the court to set a date for the hearing in the Royal Courts of Justice - not an easy thing to do when three different parties are represented. But this Government is in a hurry: it is seeking to abolish thousands of laws made by Europe, some initiated by Britain, and to curtail the power of Courts to challenge its rulings. 

It seems likely that the hearing will be before the end of July - and before the start of the summer holidays. We need to reach the overall target of £75k before the hearing takes place - no easy task but achievable if we work together.

Update 21

Jenny Dawes

April 19, 2023

Truth Matters

In a press conference on Tuesday 18 April 2023, following the settlement between Fox News and Dominion, Dominion attorney Justin Nelson spoke to the press.

“Truth matters,” he said. “Lies have consequences. The truth does not know red or blue,” he continued. “People across the political spectrum can and should disagree on issues, even of the most profound importance. But for our democracy to endure another 250 years and hopefully much longer, we must share a commitment to facts.”

Update 20

Jenny Dawes

April 15, 2023

Is this the future?

State-owned Amsterdam Schipol Airport, one of the busiest airports in Europe, has announced it is "going for quieter, cleaner and better" and is aiming to introduce a series of measures by 2025-2026 including no night flights, tighter standards and a stricter approach to noisier aircraft, and a ban on private jets and small business aviation. Plans for an additional runway will be dropped and, together with central government, an environmental fund will be created for the area with investment in innovative construction, home insulation and an improved living environment. Both unions and government have agreed the measures.

In France too, attitudes are changing: the transport minister has proposed a 70% increase in fuel tax for private jets, while the chief executive of Aéroports de Paris has admitted that demand growth has to slow, at least temporarily.

The future looks very different in the UK where the government acknowledges that it is opting for a highly ambitious strategy refusing to curb demand and pinning its hopes instead on the development of new technologies, including net zero aviation fuels and net zero airports by 2050. As the Royal Society points out in its report on Net zero aviation fuels, there is as yet no clear or single net zero alternative to jet fuel. It also points out that "politics and science frequently move on vastly different timescales". And the redevelopment of the former Manston Airport as a cargo hub has become increasingly politicised.


With local elections imminent, debate about the future of Manston has been reframed as blue v red by local politicians, MPs and prospective councillors, but many of their claims just can't be substantiated.


South Thanet Conservatives' election leaflet, promoted by the local MP, claims 'potential for 23,000 local jobs'.

This is simply not true RSP's own forecast is for a total of 23,235 jobs to be created by year 20. This figure includes both indirect and catalytic jobs ie jobs that aren't local.

RSP's own forecast is 3,417 direct jobs by year 20 but the Examining Authority (ExA) found that even this figure should be reduced to a more realistic 2,734, and pointed out that the development of Manston would inevitably mean the loss of jobs elsewhere in the UK. And, of course, if the airport closes, as has happened in the past, the real number of jobs is likely to be a fraction of that.

Ramsgate Town Council?

The same leaflet also claims, " Labour run Ramsgate Town Council spent £10,000 of local taxpayers' money to finance legal action to stop Manston from ever flying again." (Who knew airports could fly?) and continues "Your council tax was staked on legal fees to prevent the biggest investment and opportunity in Thanet's history."

Ramsgate Town Council's decision to spend £10,000 in support of a legal action to fight a proposal that would have a damaging effect on the town and its people was perfectly proper. Section 137 of the Local Government Act 1972 allows a local authority to incur expenditure which in their opinion is in the interests of, and will bring direct benefit to, their area or any part of it or all or some of its inhabitants.

The town council's offices and council chamber overlook Ramsgate's Royal Harbour and were directly under the flight path when Manston was an operational airport. The town council is well placed to understand the potential impact of an operational cargo hub, with planes flying less than 300m above Ramsgate's historic town centre, on the town's economy.


The Examining Authority plainly stated that the proposed development would adversely affect the tourism industry in Ramsgate and that "other UK coastal airports did not provide examples of airports with runways which were so closely located and oriented towards a coastal resort". The ExA report continued "The argument that the airport may bring tourism benefits to other parts of Thanet and East Kent and that this in some way mitigates any adverse effect on Ramsgate is likely to be of little comfort to the residents and tourist business holders of Ramsgate."

But there is more to Ramsgate than tourism and the government's own Indices of Multiple Deprivation show that areas directly under the flight path have actually improved since the airport closed in 2014: IoD


For those of us opposing redevelopment of the site as an airport, the argument has never been that it should instead be used for housing: that's the alternative promoted by local politicians, the developer and airport supporters. Yes, we can think of better uses but the site is currently safeguarded for airport related uses and any change would have to be considered as part of an early review of the Local Plan.


The Conservative's election leaflet also refers to 'the biggest investment and opportunity in Thanet's history".

In 2018, the cost of redeveloping Manston as a cargo hub with some passenger flights from year 3, was £300m. Economic changes now mean at least £500m needs to be raised from investors. It is not clear where this investment will be coming from. It is also no guarantee of success for an airport that is simply in the wrong place.

Twenty-five years ago, Manston was owned by Wiggins, a property developer with partners who had 'deep pockets'. The company embarked on a £1bn (equivalent to £2.5 billion today) redevelopment that was forecast to bring 10,000 jobs to the area.

The Wiggins Group became Planestation Group before collapsing into administration in 2005. Around 40% of the company's shares were owned by 44,000 private investors, many of whom lived close to Manston and bought shares as a way of demonstrating support for the airport. The promised jobs and financial returns did not materialise. The location of Manston Airport hasn't changed and there is nothing to suggest the result would be any different this time round.

Update 19

Jenny Dawes

March 31, 2023


It seems fitting that we lodged our amended Ground 2 - Climate Change, on the day when the government launched its new net zero growth plan, Powering Up Britain, and its Carbon Budget Delivery Plan.

Our climate change ground now focuses on how the Secretary of State:

(i) failed to reach a conclusion on the relevance of the sixth Carbon Budget, despite this being one of three questions he raised in the Statement of Matters. In so doing he failed to take account of something he was required to consider, acted irrationally in not determining the question he’d raised, or, if he did, failed to give adequate or intelligible reasons for the conclusion reached; and

(ii) unlawfully relied upon the Transport Decarbonisation Plan and the Jet Zero Strategy as the sole basis for reaching his ‘neutral’ conclusion on climate change, without considering the fact that these policies did not take account of any activity at Manston, and did not contain evidence capable of supporting his conclusion because these policies are aspirational, unspecified and unquantified in nature.”

If you want to learn about the government's new plan, here's the link: Powering Up Britain

And if you want to know what The Royal Society thinks about Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF), the government's main strategy for reducing aviation emissions, here's the link to that: The Royal Society

Update 18

Jenny Dawes

March 24, 2023

Grounds for Judicial Review

Yesterday's hearing was argued on points of law, not on the merits of RSP's proposal.  The defendant is the Secretary of State for Transport, not RSP.

Mrs Justice Lieven granted permission on:

· Ground 1(a) which is that it (1) was procedurally unfair to rely upon the Azimuth Report without having the underlying evidence or submitting that evidence to scrutiny by IPs (2) the reliance on the IBA report which the IPs were not afforded the opportunity to comment on.

· Ground 1(c) irrationality – i.e. that in determining whether there is a need for the development, the Defendant irrationally relied on qualitative, rather than quantitative evidence, despite having asked for quantitative need to be demonstrated in his Statement of Matters.

· Ground 1(d) which is there was an error of law as to treatment of potential growth at other airports; the minister erred in law because he was unlawfully advised in the briefing that the potential for growth at other airports was not a material consideration.

· Ground 2 – Mrs Justice Lieven granted permission to advance an amended version of the climate change ground.

Update 17

Jenny Dawes

March 23, 2023

Permission granted!

Once again, permission has been granted for judicial review of a Manston Airport Development Consent Order!

Update 16

Jenny Dawes

March 22, 2023

1 day...

Tomorrow my application for permission to apply for judicial review of the second Manston DCO will be heard in the Royal Courts of Justice.

I brought this case, with the support of thousands of people from Kent and beyond, because in today's climate constrained world, ploughing ahead with an airport (or cargo hub) for which there is no need and without taking into account its climate change impacts, is nonsensical.

The government's decision to press ahead with Manston Airport, against the advice of the experts, including the government's own advisors, risks irreparable harm to the people, economy, environment and heritage of the towns and villages of East Kent.

Update 15

Jenny Dawes

March 20, 2023

3 days ...

In just three days time, a judge will decide whether or not to grant permission for judicial review of the latest Manston Airport DCO.

It's perhaps worth pointing out that we are applying for permission to challenge a decision made by the Secretary of State for Transport  in August 2022, on an application that was mostly prepared in 2017 for submission in 2018, using evidence dating back to 2016. 

In other words, an application that relates back to a different world, a world that was pre-Making Best Use of Existing Runways, pre-Brexit, pre-pandemic, pre-Sixth Carbon Budget, pre-Net Zero Strategy, pre-Jet Zero Strategy.

Update 14

Jenny Dawes

March 16, 2023

One week to go

The renewal hearing in Royal Courts of Justice is just a week away.

Reams of documentation have been submitted but, for the first time in this campaign, it will be an oral hearing and not a purely paper-based decision-making process.

Whatever the outcome we will still need to keep fighting.  Do we still need to fundraise? Yes!

Update 13

Jenny Dawes

March 13, 2023

Ten days!

Just 10 days until the renewal hearing in the Royal Courts of Justice when my legal team will again be asking for permission for judicial review of former minister Karl McCartney's decision to grant a second DCO for the redevelopment of Manston.  The decision made no sense first time round and now makes even less sense as our understanding of climate change and its contributing factors grows!

Update 12

Jenny Dawes

Feb. 15, 2023

Renewal hearing - a date!

Our 2-hour renewal hearing is listed for Thursday 23 March 2023 at the Royal Courts of Justice.

If the hearing is decided in our favour, the case will proceed to judicial review.  If the decision is not in our favour, we can apply to the Court of Appeal.

Update 11

Jenny Dawes

Feb. 15, 2023

Renewal hearing - getting closer

The court is asking for "mutually agreed" dates for a 2-hour hearing before the end of March.

Both the Government Legal Department and developers, RSP,  will be represented.

Update 10

Jenny Dawes

Jan. 25, 2023

Application for an oral hearing

Contrary to rumours, our application for an oral hearing for permission to apply for judicial review has not been refused..  

The High Court has confirmed that the hearing will be listed for 2 hours and has issued instructions on the contents of the bundle to be submitted electronically.  We will be notified of the date for the hearing within the next 8 weeks.

Update 9

Jenny Dawes

Jan. 23, 2023

Jumping another hurdle

Commenting on the dispute over Scotland's new gender recognition bill, Guardian columnist Martin Kettle wrote "The worlds of politics and law are not neatly demarcated."

Last week we learned permission for judicial review had been refused by the Honourable Mr Justice Lane. This is not, however, the end of the road - just another hurdle. Today, we lodged an application for renewal of the claim for permission to apply for judicial review of the Manston Airport DCO.

We are confident that the grounds remain arguable and are asking for the decision to be reconsidered at a hearing in open court before a planning judge.

These grounds of claim are of significance to campaigners across the country and it matters that the process of decision making should be fair, transparent and based on all relevant information, not biased by political or personal interest. This is particularly the case, when the experts, including the independent examining authority and the government’s own advisers, have recognised that there is no need for Manston Airport. The economic case simply does not stack up. When the climate change impacts are taken into account, it becomes a no-brainer.

In the course of this second judicial review and after repeated requests for disclosure, we have learnt that the hundreds of responses to the three rounds of consultations that took place during the re-determination process were largely dismissed in a single sentence in a briefing to the minister on the basis that they either did not raise substantial new issues or were not considered “material”.

The government chose to focus instead on evidence that was based upon 24 unpublished, outdated interviews conducted in 2016.

It is for these reasons that I will continue to challenge this irrational decision before the courts and continue to ask for your support to help common sense prevail.

Update 8

Jenny Dawes

Dec. 22, 2022

End of year update

Almost the end of the year and still no decision on whether or not permission for judicial review of the second Manston DCO will be granted.

2022 has been 'interesting' and 2023 looks set to be another challenging year. By coincidence, the funding page will roll over for another 30 days on 1 January - a fresh start after the winter break!

Update 7

Jenny Dawes

Nov. 25, 2022

A bit of a challenge

How Much Can We Raise in Seven Days?

A decision on the application for judicial review of the second Manston Airport DCO is imminent.

If permission is granted, we will need to be ready to respond to the arguments of the government and RSP and to raise the considerable amount of money needed to prepare for a hearing in court.

After much persistence, our legal team has finally managed to obtain the ministerial briefings and have amended our grounds of challenge as a result.

However, despite this, permission could be refused. In which case we'd have just seven days to request an oral hearing - and that would cost. Can we raise £12k in time to ensure the challenge to the second Manston Airport DCO can go ahead?

RiverOak Strategic Partners' website claims "Manston is the right solution, in the right location, at the right time". Obviously, I don't agree but judicial review is about challenging the way a decision was made rather than the decision itself. And we argue this decision was legally flawed and irrational.

The Secretary of State (or the Minister acting in his place) relied on qualitative evidence from the original application, despite having asked for quantitative evidence of need and appointing an independent aviation assessor to advise on quantitative need in redetermining the application.

The Examining Authority had considered that same qualitative evidence and recommended that the application for development consent be refused; the independent aviation assessor upheld the Examining Authority's recommendation; the Secretary of State ignored the recommendations and granted the application.

Is there a justifiable need for a new cargo hub at Manston?

This is not a little local issue: aviation is one of the fastest-growing sources of the greenhouse gas emissions driving global climate change. Cargo planes tend to be older and dirtier than passenger planes and the sector will be slower to adapt to new, greener - and as yet untested - technologies.

After all the political turmoil this year and the mounting evidence of the impact of man-made climate change, it is more important than ever that our decision makers are held to account. Judicial review is a way for ordinary citizens to do just that but it only if we are prepared to act together. The response to my first appeal was incredible and together we raised almost £120k to challenge the first ever aviation Development Consent Order. We are all affected by current economic uncertainties, but can we still act together to secure a better future?

Update 6

Jenny Dawes

Nov. 19, 2022

Strengthening the Case

On 12 September, the Department for Transport was asked to disclose information on ministerial briefings relating to the decision to grant a second Manston DCO. In spite of repeated requests the information wasn't forthcoming until 1 November, just one day before papers had to be filed with the court - no time for any proper consideration.

On 3 November we requested additional information.  This was  received on 10 November but the initial delay has meant a lot of extra work for everyone involved - the legal team has been brilliant!

On 15 November, the court was asked to accept an amended Statement of Facts and Grounds to take account of the disclosures.  Both defendants have objected, saying the amendments should not be accepted.  But they would, wouldn't they?

Now it's just a matter of waiting for the judge to decide... 

Update 5

Jenny Dawes

Oct. 28, 2022

Closely followed by...

For weeks - nothing.  Then, suddenly, several things happen at once and the process grinds forward.

RiverOak Strategic Partners (the Interested Party) has now Acknowledged Service (of the Application for Judicial Review) and submitted Summary Grounds of Resistance.  These, together with the Defendant's Summary Grounds of Defence, will be reviewed by my legal team.

The next significant stage will be when, in a few week's time, a single judge has to decide if there is an arguable case.  

Update 4

Jenny Dawes

Oct. 27, 2022

All in one day

The Department for Transport has now confirmed it will be contesting the application for Judicial Review. No response so far from the Interested Party, RiverOak Strategic Partners.

Coincidentally, our local MP, Craig Mackinlay, presented a petition to the House of Commons yesterday, on behalf of 340 residents of South Thanet, calling on Ramsgate Town Council to accept the DfT's decision to grant a DCO for the re-development of Manston Airport.  You can read the full text of his petition here:  Mackinlay Petition

(South Thanet includes Sandwich, Ramsgate, Broadstairs and part of Margate - but not Manston.)

Update 3

Jenny Dawes

Sept. 29, 2022

It's in!


An application was submitted earlier today (29 September 2022) for Permission for Judicial Review of the retaken decision to grant Development Consent (DCO) for the re-opening and re-development of the former Manston Airport.

The original campaign, challenging the granting of the first Development Consent Order, succeeded in getting that DCO quashed. The Secretary of State for Transport was then required to carry out further consultations before issuing a fresh decision on 18 August 2022.  While not repeating all the errors in the first decision, this decision was also flawed.

What next?

The Government Legal Department, on behalf of the Secretary of State for Transport, now has 21 days to respond, setting out their grounds for resistance to which we, in turn, respond if necessary.

Usually, within the next three weeks a single judge will decided whether there is an arguable case.  If permission is granted, the hearing should take place no later than six months after the claim was issued ie March 2023.


In the meantime fundraising has to continue.  The current target will be updated and extended as the case progresses.

More than £119k was raised through CrowdJustice for the first campaign and what turned out to be a long and complicated case..   Additional contributions included other donations as well as costs awarded against the  DfT. ( Costs were also awarded against the Interested Party, the developer RiverOak Strategic Partners, but so far they have declined to pay.)  All this money was held in a client account and used to pay the solicitors, barristers and consultants, as well as for miscellaneous disbursements like court costs. 

The small amount left was rolled over to help fund this second campaign but is not included in the total at the top of this page. 

Update 2

Jenny Dawes

Sept. 23, 2022

We're off!

On Thursday 22 September 2022, a Pre-Action Protocol letter (PAP letter) was sent to the Department for Transport in an attempt to resolve the matter without resorting to Judicial Review. 

 However, in expectation that the DfT won't agree, an application for Permission for Judicial Review is being prepared to meet the deadline for challenging to the Secretary of State's decision to grant a second DCO for the development of the former Manston Airport.

The SoS's decision was announced at the start of the holiday period. This has meant that the last few weeks have been a little like a relay race but the full legal team is now back together and confident of meeting next week's deadline!

Update 1

Jenny Dawes

Sept. 12, 2022

Small Steps...

The first meeting with the team of two barristers and two solicitors today.  We are proceeding carefully and later this week will be reviewing a draft statement of facts and grounds in support of an application for Judicial Review of the second Manston Airport Development Consent Order.  

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