Mr Jo Taylor
Chief Executive Officer
Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan
5650 Yonge Street ON M2M 4H5
12 January 2021
Dear Mr Taylor
As leading environmental groups in the West Country we are writing to protest against the Bristol Airport (BAL) appeal challenging the decision of North Somerset Council (NSC) to reject Airport expansion plans. We ask that the OTPP, as responsible owners, instruct the Airport to withdraw its appeal even at this late stage.
The appeal rides rough-shod over the democratic wishes of the North Somerset electorate, supported by regional and town councils (including Bristol), the overwhelming majority of parish councils, community groups and regional Members of Parliament. Over 8,000 local people also voted to oppose expansion in the public consultation organised by NSC.
The expansion plans seek to exploit the many shortcomings of the Airport’s site, not least the lack of public transport. The many adverse consequences of expansion include increased road traffic pollution and aviation emissions, further harm to the natural environment and landscape, and the pernicious effects of night flights on mental health.
Popular and government reaction to Covid-19 across the world has demonstrated emphatically that harm to human health, well-being and the natural environment can no longer be trumped by narrow financial interests. The Airport has existing permission to expand to 10 million passengers per annum (mppa), which still gives the Airport some 15% headroom on pre-Covid numbers and this is more than sufficient for the business and tourist needs of the region for the foreseeable future. Expansion will not bring further net economic benefit to North Somerset and the wider region.
The appeal, as you well know, is placing a huge financial burden on the North Somerset Council and its communities, money that is desperately needed to support social services, education and other public resources during the Covid pandemic. Our communities cannot become sacrificial victims for Airport profits.
We are asking you to instruct BAL to withdraw immediately from this ill-judged appeal and, in addition, to instruct BAL to scrap its current ‘Master Plan’ in favour of a sustainable vision and strategy in line with the recent route map set out by the UK Government’s Climate Change Committee (Dec 2020) to reduce polluting carbon emissions by 80% by 2035 which frames upcoming UK government policy.
Signed by directors or trustees of the following organisations:
Katrina Billings, Bristol Clean Air Alliance
David Worskett, CPRE the Countryside Charity
Geof Allan, Bristol Friends of the Earth,
Richard Lancaster, Greenpeace, Bristol
Dr Jasmine Schulkind, MedAct, Bristol
David Clegg, North Somerset Green Party
Steve Biggs, Rising Tide network
Professor John Adams, Stop Bristol Airport Expansion
Torin Menzies, Bristol Youth Strike 4 Climate
About the signatories
Bristol Youth Strike 4 Climate (BYS4C) BYS4C is an environmental advocacy group calling for climate justice and drawing attention to the climate and ecological crisis, organising many thousands of supporters under the age of 25 from schools, colleges and universities across the region.
CPRE, the Countryside Charity (Avon & Bristol)
CPRE is the national action group, established for nearly 100 years, campaigning to make the countryside a place for all to live, work and enjoy We stand for a countryside that enriches all of our lives, regenerating our wellbeing, and that we in turn regenerate, protect and celebrate. countryside and green spaces that are accessible to all, rich in nature and playing a crucial role in responding to the climate emergency
Friends of the Earth (FoE) Bristol
FoE is an international organisation that aims to secure a safer climate, flourishing nature and healthy air, water and food for the next generation.
North Somerset Green Party
The Green Party aims to widen awareness of the seriousness of climate change and to promote the adoption of Climate Emergency motions by local government and all other relevant organisations in their areas.
Greenpeace UK is part of a global organisation that acts to prevent climate and nature emergencies, working towards a greener, healthier and more peaceful planet.
Medact UK acts on behalf of physicians and health professional from all disciplines engaged in local, national and international issues that affect public health, working together towards a world in which everyone can truly achieve and exercise their human right to health. It undertakes research and evidence-based campaigning for solutions to the social, political and economic conditions which damage health, deepen health inequalities and threaten peace and security.
Rising Tide Bristol
Rising Tide UK campaigns against the root causes of climate change, working towards a fossil-fuel free future.
Stop Bristol Airport Expansion (SBAEx) SBAEx is a campaign group created and supported by communities from across North Somerset and the wider region to campaign against the expansion of Bristol Airport.