Confirmed: Manston DCO has been quashed

Manston… the story with more twists than a flamenco-dancing snake

The granting of a Development Consent Order allowing developer RiverOak Strategic Partners to reopen Manston as a freight hub has been quashed.
The Department for Transport had already accepted that the DCO approval letter from Andrew Stephenson, Minister of State for Transport, did not contain enough detail on why the conclusions of the four-man Planning Inspectorate’s Examining Authority were effectively dismissed.
And today (Tuesday, February 15), the department agreed to a High Court Consent Order stating the minister had indeed not laid out adequate reasons explaining his decision to go against the advice of the inspectors.
The Examining Authority had been clear that the DCO should not be granted.
The revocation of the DCO meant a judicial review of Mr Stephenson’s decision scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday, February 16-17, at the High Court did not go ahead.
The review had been launched by Jenny Dawes, chair of Ramsgate Coastal Community Team. 
However, on Wednesday, December 2, she wrote on her CrowdJustice page set up to help fund the judicial review: “… yesterday my solicitors received a letter from the Treasury Solicitor, acting on behalf of the Secretary of State for Transport, which said ‘my client has agreed to concede this claim on the basis of ground 1(b), namely that the Secretary of State did not give adequate reasons in his decision letter to enable the reader to understand why he disagreed with the Examining Authority Report on the issue of need for the development of Manston Airport’.
“We subsequently learned that the Interested Party, RiverOak Strategic Partners Ltd, will not be defending their claim.”
With neither the DfT nor RiverOak contesting proceedings, the High Court judgment was short. It did, though, result in the government being ordered to pay Mrs Dawes’s legal costs of up to £35,000; RSP was ordered to pay additional costs, again capped at £35,000.
A statement from RSP said: “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.
“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.”

  • For more on Manston, see here

Tuesday, February 15, 2021

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