Proposals to reopen Manston airport as a freight hub have hit yet another stumbling block.
No sooner had the granting of a Development Consent Order allowing developer RiverOak Strategic Partners to progress its plans been quashed than it has now learnt it must also resubmit documents relating to air space.
February’s High Court quashing of the DCO was down to the approval letter from Andrew Stephenson, Minister of State for Transport, not containing enough detail on why he had effectively dismissed the conclusions of the Planning Inspectorate’s Examining Authority.
The court verdict meant the DCO process had to be restarted, but RSP has also fallen short in convincing the Civil Aviation Authority to approve its Airspace Change Proposal.
For that change to be backed by the CAA, RSP needed to complete seven stages and 14 steps; it also had to win approval for four ‘gateways’.
Sadly for RSP, however, the CAA concluded that RSP’s ‘develop and assess gateway’ included in the second stage of the process was unacceptable.
Last week’s CAA pronouncement cited “errors and inconsistencies” in RSP’s submission, which failed to meet two necessary criteria.
It said: “The Civil Aviation Authority has informed the change sponsor [RSP] of this decision.
“The change sponsor is now able to reconsider its submission before resubmitting it for further review by the Civil Aviation Authority at a future develop & assess gateway.
“It is important to note that whether an airspace change proposal passes a gateway successfully or not does not predetermine the CAA’s later final decision on whether to approve the airspace change proposal.
“This decision is not an explicit or implicit comment on the merits or otherwise of this Airspace Change Proposal (ACP). This will come at the decision-making stage.”
Responding, RSP said: “In order for the CAA to allow an ACP to pass through a gateway, the change sponsor must satisfy the CAA that it has followed the process correctly before it can move to the next stage in the process.
“The purpose is to minimise any work having to be repeated, particularly in getting the supporting documentation for consultation right.
“Following advice from the CAA, RSP will re-evaluate the supporting documentation with a view to submitting the documents to the CAA for a further Stage 2 Gateway Assessment in the near future and progressing the ACP to the next stage which will involve a full public consultation.”
Friday, April 9, 2021