by Adrian Gibbs
Analysis of Bristol Airport’s planning application has found that the carbon emissions submitted in the environmental statement hugely underestimate the actual impact of the expansion.
Adrian Gibbs, an environmental consultant who analysed the planning statement, found that the “impact of the current planning application from 10 to 12 million passengers by 2025 is likely to be around 920ktpa CO2e per annum, six times greater than the 154ktpa CO2 stated in the environmental statement.”
Gibbs found that the application failed to account for a series of impacts of the expansion, including an accounting dodge which omits the impact of the increase in returning flights that would also result. The current planning application only accounts emissions for flights leaving the airport, wheras to allow it to expand would of course also mean additional arriving flights. The application also does not consider emissions from the production of aircraft fuel, nor for aircraft manufacture, and omits the highly significant warming effect of contrails and gases released at altitude.
In addition, serious concern is raised on how the application has divided flights that are set to occur within its current permit, and those attributed to the proposed expansion. The airport’s modelling suggests a large increase in emissions will occur due to additional passenger growth within its current permissions – a 50% increase in flight CO2 from a 21% increase in passengers. But the airport claims only a 14% increase in emissions for the further 20% increase in passengers which the application covers.
Finally, Gibbs’ analysis found that North Somerset Council’s efforts to reduce 1 million tonnes of carbon emissions in line with becoming carbon neutral by 2030 would be entirely negated by an additional 4.5 million tonnes of CO2 impact if the airport was to expand in line with its long term plans.
To offset the impact of the expansion would require 180 million trees to be planted every year, the equivalent of reforesting an area the size of North Somerset every four months. The full analysis can be read here: