Saturday 29th August, meeting at 11.30 at St Katherine’s Church, Felton Common
Flying in the face of North Somerset Council’s democratic decision to reject Airport expansion, Bristol Airport has launched an expensive and incomprehensible appeal. This pig-headed appeal, requiring a public inquiry, will burden the Council with significant sums that could and should be used for hard-pressed public services .
The issues around Bristol Airport expansion go beyond politics to the common ground of humanity where our local and global concerns centre on the destructive impact of aviation on society. Human health and wellbeing, and the natural environments that support us, cannot be sacrificed on the altar of corporate greed and we can no longer tolerate life dominated by organisations that put profits before people. When global predators sink their claws into vulnerable local communities we must protest.
Protest is all the more important as planning becomes centralised and less accountable while local councils are marginalised and local communities lose their voice. A weakened local democracy means that the last line of defence for communities lies in collective self-help through local action.
The Saturday event advocates Common Ground principles that value the distinctive features of local history and sense of place, seeking imaginative ways to protect the local environment and work locally to create a world we can be proud to pass to future generations. Grassroots action has never been more important and more necessary [2,3].
So this Saturday (tomorrow) will bring together many people who hold different political views but share common ground in the belief that the health of humanity and the environment must be placed at the cutting edge of an economic model for the future built on sustainable principles.
As Don Davies, leader of North Somerset Council has said: ‘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. (…) I am sure that we can reconsider it in future when the airline industry has decarbonised and the public transport links to the airport are far stronger.’ 
Bristol Airport cannot be allowed to ride rough-shod over local democracy, with yet greater destructive impact on the health and wellbeing of the communities of the region. This local action joins hands with communities taking similar steps across the world.
Notes & References
 see https://www.stopbristolairportexpansion.org/bristol-airports-decision-to-appeal-will-have-serious-consequences-for-local-communities/
and other comment at: https://www.stopbristolairportexpansion.org/
 Common Ground principles was founded in 1983 by a group led by writer Roger Deakin to seek imaginative ways to engage people with their local environment and promoting the idea of local distinctiveness
 Broadfield Down, the site of the Airport, is an historic site adjacent to the Mendip Hills, that still carries traces of the Bronze Age settlements going back over 3000 years. From mediaeval times through to the C20 Felton Common provided common ground for grazing livestock. It is now a site of nature conservation, a local nature reserve and designated open access land. There are a number of important archaeological features, including Scheduled Ancient Monuments.
 Common lands (= ground) concept originated long before the feudal system. The rights to open and common lands were relics of the rights which belonged to the members of a township or agricultural community in the pre-Norman when the concept of private individual ownership of land hardly existed, and communal ownership, or at least communal right to use land, was the rule.(…) In the Middle Ages there were few holders of land, by however humble a tenure, who had not some kind of rights of common annexed to their holdings. And every village and township would no doubt be as anxious to exclude strangers from its woods and pastures as to preserve its ordinary members’ rights in them against encroachment from within.