In February 2020 North Somerset Council [NSC] decisively rejected Bristol Airport’s plans for expansion following powerful objections from local Members of Parliament, parish councils, community groups, campaign groups and the thousands of individuals who submitted their comments to the Council website.
Don Davies, Leader of NSC, summarised the Council’s reasons: ‘the detrimental effect of the expansion of the Airport on this area and the wider impact on the environment outweighs the narrower benefits to Airport expansion’.
A spokesperson for the Stop Bristol Airport Expansion campaign said today:
‘The detrimental impact of expansion includes harm to health and the environment from aviation emissions, noise, congestion and pollution from airport traffic emissions. We are in a global climate emergency from which it will be increasingly difficult to recover yet the Airport, like the tobacco industries in the 1980s, is still in denial about the social and environmental consequence of its operations.’
‘The Airport’s decision to appeal shows complete contempt for democratic decisions and community wishes. Now, funded by its owners (a huge Canadian investment fund), the Airport is hoping to win the appeal on planning technicalities. North Somerset Council will be forced to divert resources and money to the appeal which are required for basic services such as education and social care.’
‘The Airport claims that expansion will create employment. It should publish detail of the jobs it claims will be created. The evidence is that the aviation sector, and associated activities, is automating as fast as it can, leading to a seamlessly depersonalised experience at every point in the journey from car park to destination exit.’
‘The Airport also claims to contribute to the regional and national economy. Tourists make up 85% of passenger traffic, funnelling £millions of spending money out of the UK. Some immediate evidence: the recent boom in staycations has led to hotel, B&B, caravan parks, campsites and holiday rental cottage packed to capacity, bringing immediate and much-needed support to tourist and hospitality sectors in the region.’
‘With airports at Cardiff and Exeter, and fast rail access to Heathrow in the pipeline, the Airport at Bristol has no need to expand to meet regional demand.’
The Airport should heed the advice from Don Davies, Leader of North Somerset Council that North Somerset Council will consider a planning application in future ‘when the airline industry has decarbonised and the public transport links to the airport are far stronger’.
SBAEx will be joining other campaign and community groups to raise crowd funding for legal representation at the inquiry, in support of North Somerset Council. Further detail to follow