UK’s (London) Manston Airport finally gets development consent; cargo services from 2025

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Manston Airport in Kent, some 60 miles from London, could by now have been an integral part of London’s air transport network, specifically serving the freight market and relieving pressure on Heathrow Airport in particular. But instead, Manston Airport closed in May-2014.

Not long after, a US investment firm, RiverOak Strategic Partners, drew up plans to reopen the airport principally to handle freight and, latterly, as a ‘net zero carbon’ facility from 'Day One'. A five-year battle against other developers, one of which wanted to turn the airport into a housing estate, has been won, with the award of a development consent order by the government.

But that decision, for what is by implication regarded as a piece of national strategic infrastructure, was made against the advice of planning authorities.

The exercise portends an escalation of the conflict between the supporters of such infrastructure – especially in what is going to be a harsh economic environment – and those for whom the only environment of concern is the natural one.

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