Manston Airport DCO

Adem Mehmet made this Freedom of Information request to Dover District Council

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Dear Dover District Council,

In the latest round of representations with respect to the Manston Airport DCO you submitted a response which was very positive and in support of the project. This seems at odds with the Local Impact Report you previously submitted and also at odds with local opinion on this issue and aviation generally where there’s currently a local campaign against a very small local airfield application.

Can you please disclose the process the council undertook when submitting its most recent response, in particular;

1. Was the response put before the entire council at a meeting where a vote was taken ?
2. If a vote was taken how many Cllrs voted for and how many against ?
3. Was the submission reviewed by council officers? Was it supported by officers recommendation or did the officers conclude the submission should not be sent ?
4. What the council considers has happened since the Local Impact Report was submitted that has allowed them to support the project.
5. Were Cllrs and officers aware of the recommendation by all the examiners to the DCO who concluded it should not be approved?
6. Were Cllrs and officers aware that all the examiners to the DCO concluded that the job numbers claimed by the sponsor were severely exaggerated?
7. Were Cllrs and officers aware that all the examiners to the DCO concluded that if the project was approved it would prevent the UK from achieving its climate change targets and on this basis how did the council conclude supporting it was consistent with its own climate change policy?
8. Were Cllrs and officers aware that all the examiners to the DCO concluded that the applicant had not proven there was any need for the airport?
9. Were Cllrs and officers aware that the initial decision by the SoS was quashed on the grounds that the SoS had not provided sufficient evidence of need for the project?
10. Were Cllrs and officers aware that York Aviation, an aviation consultancy used by the UK government itself had concluded on two occasions that there was no need for an airport at Manston ?
11. Were Cllrs and officers aware that Stratfords, another very respected aviation consultancy had concluded that an airport at Manston was not needed?
12. Were Cllrs and officers aware that Thanet District Council had commissioned three separate aviation consultants to review the need for an airport at Manston and all had concluded that it was not needed.
13. Were Cllrs and officers aware that the sponsor to the project was majority owned by a company based in Panama which would mean no UK taxes would ever be paid on their operations?
14. Were Cllrs and officers aware that the main director of the operational company has been struck off as a solicitor and are they aware of his previous business history ?

Yours faithfully,

Adem Mehmet

DDC FreedomOfInformation, Dover District Council

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Mehmet

 

Thank you for your request for information about the Manston Airport
DCO.   Your request was received on 6 September 2021 and we are dealing
with it under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 or
Environmental Information Regulations 2004, as appropriate. We will
endeavour to respond within 20 working days and if we think the request
requires extra time then we will contact you and let you know.

 

In some circumstances a fee may be chargeable and if that is the case, I
will let you know the likely charges before proceeding.

 

If you have any queries regarding this email, please contact me.

 

Regards

 

Kerry

 

 

Kerry Scott
Corporate Services Officer
Dover District Council
Council Offices, White Cliffs Business Park, Whitfield, Dover CT16
    3PJ
Tel: 01304 872312
Fax: 01304 872300
Email: [1][email address]
Web:  [2]http://dover.gov.uk
 
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Dover District Council is a data controller under GDPR, your attention is
drawn to our [4]Corporate Privacy Notice. This explains how we will use
and share your personal information and protect your privacy and rights.

 

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DDC FreedomOfInformation, Dover District Council

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Mehmet

 

I am writing in respect of your enquiry for information held by this
Authority received on 6 September 2021 and to confirm that we have
completed the search for the information that you requested.  The
information you have sought is set out below.

 

 1. Was the response put before the entire council at a meeting where a
vote was taken?

 

No, the Leader’s letter of 29 June is consistent with the Council’s
position dating back to July 2014, when the Council passed a motion in
support of the airport stating as follows: “The Council supports the
campaign to retain Manston as an operational airport, recognising the role
and place it can have in the UK aviation industry, making better use of
regional capacity in accordance with the views of the South East Local
Enterprise Partnership, while making a significant contribution to the
strategic priorities for the regeneration of the East Kent area.”

 

 2. If a vote was taken how many Cllrs voted for and how many against?

 

The decision taken in July 2014 was by majority and not taken as a
recorded vote.

 

 3. Was the submission reviewed by council officers? Was it supported by
officers recommendation or did the officers conclude the submission
should not be sent ?

 

The Leader’s letter of 29 June was drafted and supported by officers.

 

 4. What the council considers has happened since the Local Impact Report
was submitted that has allowed them to support the project.

 

The Council has been consistent in publicly stating our support for the
re-opening of Manston Airport and the Local Impact Report does not change
this view.

 

 5. Were Cllrs and officers aware of the recommendation by all the
examiners to the DCO who concluded it should not be approved?

 

Yes.

 

 6. Were Cllrs and officers aware that all the examiners to the DCO
concluded that the job numbers claimed by the sponsor were severely
exaggerated?

 

This was not relevant to the Council’s support for the reopening of the
airport.

 

 7. Were Cllrs and officers aware that all the examiners to the DCO
concluded that if the project was approved it would prevent the UK
from achieving its climate change targets and on this basis how did
the council conclude supporting it was consistent with its own climate
change policy?

 

The Council’s reading of the examiner’s report was that they concluded
that the reopening of the airport would “have a material impact on the
ability of Government to meet its carbon reduction targets, including
carbon budgets”. rather than it preventing the UK from achieving its’
climate change targets. Planning decisions such as this need to be taken
on a balanced basis and the Council considers that the economic benefits
of reopening the airport outweigh the impact on climate change which it
has noted the examiners considered to moderately weigh against the case
for development consent being given.

 

 8. Were Cllrs and officers aware that all the examiners to the DCO
concluded that the applicant had not proven there was any need for the
airport?

 

The Council does not accept this view, as it considers the benefits that
renewed cargo and passenger air links can bring will boost economic
development throughout East Kent.

 

 9. Were Cllrs and officers aware that the initial decision by the SoS was
quashed on the grounds that the SoS had not provided sufficient
evidence of need for the project?

 

The Council is aware that the initial DCO has been withdrawn and is keen
to see a new DCO issued.

 

10. Were Cllrs and officers aware that York Aviation, an aviation
consultancy used by the UK government itself had concluded on two
occasions that there was no need for an airport at Manston ?

 

The Council does not believe that York Aviation have considered the
potential economic benefits to East Kent in arriving at their conclusions,
so their conclusions are not relevant.

 

11. Were Cllrs and officers aware that Stratfords, another very respected
aviation consultancy had concluded that an airport at Manston was not
needed?

 

Similarly, the Council does not believe that Stratfords have considered
the potential economic benefits to East Kent in arriving at their
conclusions, so their conclusions are not relevant.

 

12. Were Cllrs and officers aware that Thanet District Council had
commissioned three separate aviation consultants to review the need
for an airport at Manston and all had concluded that it was not
needed.

 

The Council is aware that Thanet District Council have at times taken a
different position regarding the future of the airport, which is why this
Council agreed in March 2017 that its resolution towards the retention of
Manston as an operational airport be maintained and an objection made to
Policy SP05 within Thanet District Council’s draft Local Plan, which
proposed at that time the redevelopment of the former Manston airport site
for mixed use development.

 

13. Were Cllrs and officers aware that the sponsor to the project was
majority owned by a company based in Panama which would mean no UK
taxes would ever be paid on their operations?

 

This was not relevant to the Council’s support for the reopening of the
airport.

 

14. Were Cllrs and officers aware that the main director of the
operational company has been struck off as a solicitor and are they
aware of his previous business history ?

 

This was not relevant to the Council’s support for the reopening of the
airport.

 

If you have any queries about this email, please contact me.

 

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are unhappy with the service you have received in relation to your request
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contacted at [1]https://ico.org.uk/global/contact-us/.

 

Regards

 

Kerry

 

 

Kerry Scott
Corporate Services Officer
Dover District Council
Council Offices, White Cliffs Business Park, Whitfield, Dover CT16
    3PJ
 Tel: 01304 872312
Fax: 01304 872300
Email: [2][email address]
Web:  [3]http://dover.gov.uk
 
P Please consider the environment before printing this email

 

  [4][IMG]

Dover District Council is a data controller under GDPR, your attention is
drawn to our [5]Corporate Privacy Notice. This explains how we will use
and share your personal information and protect your privacy and rights.

 

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Dear DDC FreedomOfInformation,

Thank you for your recent response to my FOI.

Your responses to questions related to the conclusions of the planning examiners during the DCO process, York Aviation, Stratfords and the three consultants used by Thanet District Council, which all agreed that an airport at Manston was not needed, suggest that you don’t agree with the conclusions of these experts. Can you please provide evidence that supports your assertion on these points, perhaps you have expert opinion of your own, have undertaken detailed analysis etc in coming to a conclusion so widely disagreed with by aviation experts.

Yours sincerely,

Adem Mehmet

DDC FreedomOfInformation, Dover District Council

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Mehmet

 

The Leader’s letter dated 29 June sets out very clearly the Council’s
position on the reopening of the airport at Manston and the potential
benefits it considers that this would bring to the local economy. The
Council has not commissioned its own independent assessment of the
proposals as it is content to rely on the outcome of the DCO process where
the evidence presented by York Aviation, Stratfords  and others will
receive careful scrutiny.

 

Regards

 

Kerry

 

 

Kerry Scott
Corporate Services Officer
Dover District Council
Council Offices, White Cliffs Business Park, Whitfield, Dover CT16
    3PJ
 Tel: 01304 872312
Fax: 01304 872300
Email: [1][email address]
Web:  [2]http://dover.gov.uk
 
P Please consider the environment before printing this email

 

  [3][IMG]

 

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Dear DDC FreedomOfInformation,

Kerry, thanks for your quick response. The submissions from York Aviation along with those of the local community in Ramsgate both for and against were considered alongside the documentation submitted by Riveroak during the lengthy examination. After careful in depth investigation, four experienced planning inspectors concluded it should be refused. Why is DDC not able to accept this decision by experts who have considered both sides of this issue in an impartial way and concluded as they have to refuse the DCO?

Yours sincerely,

Adem Mehmet

DDC FreedomOfInformation, Dover District Council

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Mehmet

 

The Council has responded to your request and set out its position.  I am
afraid that I will not be responding on this point any further.

 

Regards

 

Kerry

 

 

Kerry Scott
Corporate Services Officer
Dover District Council
Council Offices, White Cliffs Business Park, Whitfield, Dover CT16
    3PJ
 Tel: 01304 872312
Fax: 01304 872300
Email: [1][email address]
Web:  [2]http://dover.gov.uk
 
P Please consider the environment before printing this email

 

  [3][IMG]

 

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Dear DDC FreedomOfInformation,

Kerry, that’s very clear. Would you be so kind as to send a copy of the leaders letter you refer to together with any supporting evidence if there is any ?

Yours sincerely,

Adem Mehmet

DDC FreedomOfInformation, Dover District Council

3 Attachments

Dear Mr Mehmet

A copy of the Leader’s letter is attached.

 

Regards

 

Kerry

 

 

Kerry Scott
Corporate Services Officer
Dover District Council
Council Offices, White Cliffs Business Park, Whitfield, Dover CT16
    3PJ
 Tel: 01304 872312
Fax: 01304 872300
Email: [1][email address]
Web:  [2]http://dover.gov.uk
 
P Please consider the environment before printing this email

 

  [3][IMG]

 

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