Go ahead for Bristol Airport expansion granted on appeal

Decision “flies in the face of local democracy”

Bristol Airport’s expansion plan has been granted on appeal – which will mean it can increase capacity from 10 million to 12 million passengers a year

The independent planning inspectorate announced the news yesterday – which has been a huge blow to campaigners who fear the negative effects on the environment at a time of climate emergency.

But Bristol Airport’s Chief Executive Dave Lees said the decision was “excellent news” for the region’s economy, allowing them to “create thousands of new jobs in the years ahead” and provide more choice for our customers – as well as “reducing the millions of road journeys made to London airports each year.”

He said they looked forward to “working with stakeholders and the community to deliver sustainable growth.”

Investment will include creating thousands of new parking spaces to accommodate the extra passengers, upgrades to the terminal building, and public transport links.

The planning inspectorate said it recognised the “major disappointment” campaigners would have, but the benefits would outweigh the harm to green belt land.

It also noted there was “no national policy which seeks to limit airport expansion or impose capacity limits – which would be the effect of dismissing this appeal”.

Bristol Airport Action Network (BAAN) is coalition of groups and individuals working to oppose the expansion plans.

The group tweeted after the decision was announced that they were “outraged” by the news.”

BAAN Campaigner Stephen Clarke said the group would be speaking to a legal team about the decision.

MP for North Somerset Dr Liam Fox said on Twitter he was “hugely disappointed” in the appeal being allowed.

He continued: “Whatever the arguments around regional airports, in general, the local transport infrastructure around Bristol Airport cannot sustain the amount of passenger traffic without substantially impacting the quality of life in many of our towns and villages.”

Metro Mayor for the West of England, Dan Norris, said there needed to be an “urgent national conversation” about airports and that he was “dismayed” by the decision. 

He said: “…The government’s lack of green policy on UK airport expansion has resulted in inspectors ignoring the voices of local people, and the resolution of the West of England Combined Authority which I lead.”

‘It undermines…our determination to tackle the climate emergency”

North Somerset Council leader Don Davies said the decision “flies in the face of local democracy,” and they would be looking to challenge the ruling. 

He added: “It completely undermines our vision for a green North Somerset, our determination to tackle the climate emergency and the target we’ve set for the area to be carbon neutral by 2030. 

“We face a climate emergency and to countenance yet more leisure flights that predominate from this airport is completely unacceptable from one of the main sources of greenhouse gas emissions. 

“The airport’s important role in the region’s economy would have continued without expanding beyond its currently 10 million passengers a year limit…”