FACT SHEET 6: Car Parking at and around Bristol Airport
The Fact Sheets are intended as a reference for issues raised by the threatened
expansion of Bristol Airport and updated regularly. Comment and suggestions
welcome. Contact: STOPBAex@gmail.com (subject line: attn LT)
‘A major reason for the proposed Airport expansion is to maximise profit for the
owners of Bristol Airport [the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan] by turning the airport
into a car park business with a landing strip attached’.
(Bristol Airport Parking Community Group)
1 Bristol Airport’s core aviation operation generated less than forty per cent of its
income (around £34 million in 2016). A further £26 million came from was from
concessions (shops, cafés and other retail). However the most profitable part of
the business came from car parking, generating £27 million, So parking at Bristol
Airport is at the heart of its business model.
2 There is no railway service to the Airport and only one dedicated bus service. So
only 12.5% of passengers used public transport to travel to and from the
airport in 2017. The remaining passengers travel to the Airport by car, so the
proposed increase in passenger numbers is intended to suck in yet more cars and
massively increase profits from parking.
3 If Bristol Airport’s expansion proposals are approved, there will be more than
6,350 car parking spaces with an extra 2,700 spaces on green belt land.
4 The Airport wants to have all ‘operational and related land’ released from the
Green Belt designation (4a) so the land, and the lands it plans to acquire, will lose
protected status. Green Belt land should only be sacrificed in ‘in exceptional
circumstances’ according to sources such as the CPRE (4b)
5 Unlicensed and illegal car parking is a major problem beyond the Airport
boundaries causing parking blight across the landscape, increased traffic and
nuisance in country lanes, and ‘dump’ parking in nearby villages with cars scattered
through residential streets by those seeking to avoid any parking payment.
6 The Airport claim that more ‘on-site’ parking is the solution to the problems of
uncontrolled development of unauthorised car parks around the Airport and antisocial
parking in local neighbourhoods. The fact is that Airport expansion will
simply increase the number of travellers using these ‘off-site’ facilities to the
further detriment of the local communities.
7 It is estimated that at least £7.5 million per year is pocketed by illegal airport
car park operators, maybe considerably more. North Somerset Council simply
doesn’t have the resources to enforce regulation effectively and the pirate operators
are preparing for a bonanza should Airport planning approval be granted.
8 Night-time light pollution will increase with further Airport parking. Pylonmounted
lights from existing car parks are already a public nuisance, casting a glow
across the night sky comparable to central Bristol.
9 The proposed parking site is less than 2km from a Special Area of Conservation.
Two endangered species of bat (Greater and Lesser Horseshoe) will lose
habitat at a time critical to their survival. Spillage from car park lights would impact
local residents and affect wildlife by drawing insects away from the surrounding
10 Bristol Airport Parking Community Group (BAPCoG), a residents’ group
concerned about Airport parking, has submitted a comprehensive proposal for an
integrated Airport parking policy to North Somerset Council, including strategic parkand-
ride sites near motorway locations (10a). A company has recently applied to
North Somerset Council for planning permission to create a large park-and-ride site
near the M5. This application, still under consideration, is being opposed by the
For further information on issues around traffic and Airport parking, both
authorised and unauthorised, see the SBAEx website page:
By paragraph number above:
1 Bristol Airport (UK), ‘Directors report and Consolidated Financial Statements, Year
Ended Dec 2016’
2 ’Planning Application 18/P/5118/OUT: PCAA Submission to North Somerset
District Council (2019)’, ‘The low cost parking strategy on green belt land,’ (para.8).
3 ‘Planning Application 18/P/5118/OUT.’ ‘Bristol Airport.’
4a ‘Master Plan Consultation – Stage II Development Proposals and Options (May
2018.) ‘Bristol Airport.’ ‘Green belt and green infrastructure.’
4b see, for example, https://www.cpre.org.uk/magazine/opinion/item/4552-housingwhite-
5 ’Planning Application 18/P/5118/OUT: PCAA Submission to North Somerset
District Council (2019)’, ‘Parking controls,’ (para.2).
6 ‘Bristol International Airport – Master Plan 2006 to 2030,’ ‘Car parking for
passengers and staff, strategic considerations,’ (para. 7.33)
7 This figure is based on charges of £25 per week for around 300,000 cars. Most
off-site operators do not publish financial information so this is a very conservative
8 ’Planning Application 18/P/5118/OUT: PCAA Submission to North Somerset
District Council (2019)’, ‘Lighting,’ (paras.1 – 4).
9 ’Planning Application 18/P/5118/OUT: PCAA Submission to North Somerset
District Council (2019)’, ‘Car parking,’ (para.10).
10 a+b [Links to be added]
SBAEx Fact Sheets