Manston Airport

Enquiry received via email

Manston Airport

23 March 2018
Adem Mehmet

Enquiry

What additional due diligence will PINS carry out with respect to the Manston DCO taking into account the issues I raise in the paragraph above which apply to the sponsor Riveroak Strategic Partners Ltd?
What assurances will PINS demand in order to ensure that the project is actually delivered in accordance with the proposals detailed in the DCO application?
Will PINS monitor the progress of the project should the application be successful?
What action will PINS take if the project is not delivered to the scale and timescale specified in the application?
If the sponsor partially develops the site and operates an airport at a much smaller scale than the plans submitted is this acceptable or will PINS take action and if so what action will PINS take?
If the sponsor partially develops the site and operates an airport at a much smaller scale than the plans submitted, what action can the previous owners of the site, which were the subject of a CPO, take?
If the sponsor develops the site as planned but aviation again fails on the site or is only possible on a small scale will the sponsor then be able to develop the site for other purposes including housing, subject to planning consent, or will the site revert to the original owners either fully or partially in this case.

Advice given

1. "What additional due diligence will PINS carry out with respect to the Manston DCO taking into account the issues I raise in the paragraph above which apply to the sponsor Riveroak Strategic Partners Ltd?"
The tests are the same for every Applicant/ application. In respect of funding, paragraph 18 of government guidance related to procedures for the Compulsory Acquisition (CA) of land states that applicants should be able to demonstrate that adequate funding is likely to be available to enable the CA within the statutory period following the order being made, and that the resource implications of a possible acquisition resulting from a blight notice have been taken account of. An application for a DCO that would authorise CA must be accompanied by a Funding Statement which should demonstrate that the above tests are met.
2. “What assurances will PINS demand in order to ensure that the project is actually delivered in accordance with the proposals detailed in the DCO application?”
The Applicant should be able to demonstrate in its application that the authorised development would be expected to provide for or increase the number of aircraft movements by the legislated amount. The extent of the provision for or increase in aircraft movements should be clear from the description of the works in the draft Development Consent Order (dDCO) and the accompanying plans.
If there is doubt as to whether an Applicant will build out a full Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP) under s23 of the Planning Act 2008 (PA2008) and if the application is accepted the appointed Examining Authority (ExA), if it considered it necessary or appropriate, would be able to explore with/ suggest to the Applicant the possibility of including wording in the dDCO to specify a minimum number of works that when provided could have the effect of increasing aircraft movements. Alternatively, it would be possible for the ExA to ask the Applicant to include a Requirement in the dDCO to specify that particular parts of the development must not be commenced until other enabling infrastructure is provided (eg a sufficient number of aircraft stands must be provided which would be expected to have the effect of increasing the number of aircraft movements to at least 10,000).
Both of these approaches may enable enforcement action to be taken against the Undertaker if there were to be a breach of the terms of the made DCO or a failure to comply with the terms of the DCO (offences under s161 of the PA2008).
3. “Will PINS monitor the progress of the project should the application be successful?”
No. Under the PA2008 there are no statutory functions for the Planning Inspectorate in respect of monitoring the progress of development. Any mechanisms by which the delivery of an NSIP would monitored, and by whom that monitoring would be undertaken, will need to be secured in the DCO. Requirements scheduled to a DCO routinely establish Discharging Authorities which must agree in writing for before certain plans are finalised or works carried out. Typically the Discharging Authority is either the relevant local authority or the Secretary of State.
4. “What action will PINS take if the project is not delivered to the scale and timescale specified in the application?”
The Planning Inspectorate will not take action. See response to questions 2 and 3, above.
5. “If the sponsor partially develops the site and operates an airport at a much smaller scale than the plans submitted is this acceptable or will PINS take action and if so what action will PINS take?”
The Planning Inspectorate will not take action. See above answers.
6. “If the sponsor partially develops the site and operates an airport at a much smaller scale than the plans submitted, what action can the previous owners of the site, which were the subject of a CPO, take?”
If the terms of a DCO are breached by the Undertaker, enforcement action under Part 8 of the PA2008 may be taken.
7. “If the sponsor develops the site as planned but aviation again fails on the site or is only possible on a small scale will the sponsor then be able to develop the site for other purposes including housing, subject to planning consent, or will the site revert to the original owners either fully or partially in this case.”
If CA powers are granted, and following service of notice to treat (or a general vesting declaration), the ownership of the lands in question will have transferred to the named Undertaker. Failure by the Undertaker to deliver the full NSIP would not necessitate the transfer of the lands back to the original owner.
If CA powers are granted but the associated time limit established in the DCO expires, notice to treat (or a general vesting declaration) can no longer be served ie the lands/ rights cannot transfer to the named Undertaker.
Where a person with an interest in the order lands objects to the CA of their land/ rights, at the Examination stage they are entitled to make representations to the appointed ExA to establish their objection (in consideration of the tests set out in the PA2008 eg s122, s123 etc). Any objections will be considered by the ExA in making its recommendation to the Secretary of State about whether the CA powers sought in the DCO should be granted.