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Government order to reopen Manston Airport officially quashed by High Court


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The government go-ahead on reopening Manston as an airport has been officially quashed by the High Court.

It has been confirmed that the transport secretary's previous decision to allow the Thanet site to reopen as a freight air hub does not possess adequate justification.

The former airport was subject to a DCO
The former airport was subject to a DCO

As a result, the government has been ordered to pay the campaigners’ legal costs - up to £35,000 - while RiverOak Strategies (RSP), the airport's owners, cover the claimant's additional costs.

Today's expected result is however not the end as all evidence will now be once again pored over and a new decision is required in the future.

A judicial review had been launched by campaign leader Jenny Dawes, with evidence put forward against Grant Shapps' approval of a development consent order (DCO).

That DCO would have paved the way for the old airport to be used as a freight hub.

The government was acting against the advice of the Planning Inspectorate, and anti-airport campaigners launched a bid for a judicial review calling for the order to be reversed.

The sprawling Manston site
The sprawling Manston site

The case was due to be heard on February 16 and 17 at the High Court in London, but the Government conceded in December that its approval did not contain enough detail.

They announced the judicial review would not be contested as it "did not give adequate and intelligible reasons" for going against the Planning Inspectorate.

Following that concession, an official consent order from the High Court has today been issued saying the DCO is quashed.

A statement from RSP reads: "In the High Court today, Mr Justice Holgate approved a court order which had been agreed by all the parties to the Manston judicial review in December last year.

Manston was most recently turned into a lorry park
Manston was most recently turned into a lorry park

"The order allows the judicial review on the ground that the Secretary of State for Transport did not give adequate reasons for his decision. It also quashes the Manston DCO and orders costs in favour of the Applicant.

"The effect of the order made today is only to require the decision to be re-taken following a further representation period, it does not reverse any earlier stages of the process. The Secretary of State is likely to explain the reasons for his decision in more detail this time round."

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