ABOVE: Freight operators like Atlas could be operating at Manston airport by 2025

The UK government has reportedly granted permission for Manston to reopen and be turned into an air freight hub. Last year a previous decision by No 10 to develop Manston Airport as a freight hub was quashed by the High Court after a judicial review was launched by campaigner Jennifer Dawes. The High Court subsequently ordered the Department for Transport to reconsider its decision to grant permission for the works, which the transport secretary had agreed to in July 2021.

Anti-airport campaigners had described the Manston development as a “highly polluting cargo hub” that went against the government’s planning advice in the face of air pollution and climate change. On the other hand, pro-airport campaigners had claimed that the redevelopment of the former Battle of Britain airfield in east Kent would lead to the creation of more than 23,000 jobs.

Owners RiverOak said it will now push on with a £500m redevelopment. Tony Freudmann, RiverOak director, said:” Today is a day to celebrate the culmination of years of campaigning. I would like to pay tribute to the extraordinary army of Manston Airport supporters who have never given up hope of seeing new life breathed into this historic aviation asset.” Construction should begin later next year, with the airport operating its first cargo services in early 2025.

Image: Boeing