We’re now entering the crucial period in the fight to stop Bristol Airport’s proposed expansion when the North Somerset Council’s Planning Committee will meet early in 2020 to decide whether or not to approve the Airport’s planning application. This application must be rejected for the sake of our health and wellbeing, for our children, for the environment and the planet. There’s still time to comment on the Airport’s plans at https://tinyurl.com/BristolAirportExpansion.
A Reminder: what the Airport wants
The Airport wants to increase from 8.5 million passengers a year at present to 12 million by 2025, with an eventual increase to 20 million. The first phase could mean 24,400 additional flights, up to 4,000 night flights (crammed into the summer), Greenbelt land trashed to lift total provision for over 6,000 cars, some 9,500 extra vehicle movements daily through North Somerset, and consequent increase in greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants from aviation, with yet more pollution and congestion from the increased traffic.
Airport expansion is part of the drive maximise profits for the Canadian owners, the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan. Collateral damage to our health and wellbeing will be the lasting legacy of Airport expansion in return for precious little economic benefit for the region.
What we’re doing.
1 We’ve worked hard to develop the SBAEx website. It now includes:
– a guide to the impact of Airport expansion (‘Why Oppose Airport Expansion’)
– a number of ‘Fact Sheets’ with background information and evidence;
– an ‘Updates’ section exploring current issues in detail;
– ways to ‘Take Action’, including downloadable posters and flyers for local use.
2 The SBAEx Facebook page reports and comments on Airport actions and community reactions. Please ‘like’ and share widely.
3 We challenge the Airport’s misinformation campaign with its mendacious attempts to ‘greenwash’ their unsustainable and unethical plans. This includes: claims to be carbon neutral by 2025 that omit emissions from flights and traffic; claims that it would be beneficial to suck in additional traffic from beyond the region; claims that benefits to the regional economy would effectively be worth the damage to local health, well-being and the environment; and much more. See the independent report that challenges the Airport claims: https://www.nefconsulting.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/Bristol-Airport-FINAL-1-August-2019.pdf.
4 The Airport used its huge database and website to ask customers and suppliers to register ‘support’ for expansion on the planning website. This persuaded a miniscule number of people to register ‘support’, often without giving any reasons. We reported this possible breach of data privacy to the Information Commissioner’s Office and are awaiting a judgement.
5 SBAEx runs targeted campaigns. The video in which our local school students sought support from Ontario teachers received tens of thousand of views and resulted in interviews with Canadian media and mobilised members of Canadian teaching unions to protest to the OTPP. This campaign continues, attracting on-going interest from the press and media. We are now focusing on the appalling prospect of increased night flights for local residents.
How you can help
SBAEx supports community actions and regularly speaks at community meetings to make the case against expansion. However, we still need to develop contacts with more local communities in North Somerset in order to inform people about the consequences of Airport expansion. We would be happy to provide expert speakers for community events and provide posters / flyers and other material for those who don’t use social media. If you are part of a group would be prepared to act as liaison with SBAEx, or would like to establish a group, please contact John at firstname.lastname@example.org.
6 SBAEx works with other local organisations to make the case against different aspects of Airport expansion to North Somerset Councillors. In the last few weeks alone our members have addressed the NSC Executive Committee, the full Council on subjects and the West of England combined Authority (WECA) on topics including: the risk of investing public funds in infrastructure to support the Airport when specialised reports shed doubt the business case for expansion in the Aviation sector; parking problems; a qualitative analysis of comments submitted to the planning officers; problems of noise pollution; the incompatibility of Airport expansion and adopting climate emergency policies.
7 We work closely with other local and national organisations opposed to Airport expansion to originate and co-ordinate protest actions and events. https://www.bristolpost.co.uk/news/bristol-news/live-extinction-rebellion-protest-sees-3319325
8 David versus Goliath: join the SBAEx campaign now
SBAEx is part of a consortium employ top legal advice to challenge the Airport’s planning application and, if necessary, North Somerset Council planning officers’ advice to Councillors. The first phase of crowd funding effort raised over £10,000 in 3 days and this has already led to the preparation of a powerful case that reveals the Airport application to be riddled with assertions, inadequate evidence and contradictions. We welcome commitments for the next round of funding which will be collected through the specialised crowd-funding website Crowdjustice.com. Further information when we activate this campaign, or to express interest as a possible donor, please contact John at email@example.com.
We’re up against the Airport owners, the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan (OTPP), which has over $200 billion worth of assets (yes, you read that correctly) and has drawn on these resources for some years to run to a massive campaign of misinformation through press and media, concealing its aims to strip North Somerset of its assets regardless of the dangerous impact on the health and wellbeing of the regional communities. North Somerset Council planners, with their very limited resources, are heavily dependent on ‘advice’ from the many professional consultants employed by the Airport.
Think Global, Act Local
More widely, this campaign is our local response to a global problem where investors move in, trash local communities and the environment for maximum gain, then move on. We welcome and need further support to:
– campaign through social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc.
– distribute posters and flyers in local communities.
– host meetings or events in villages and town communities in North Somerset to make sure people are aware of the consequences of Airport expansion.
– fundraise to help towards publicity, meetings and events, and towards the next stage of the legal battle.
– join our action groups to focus on particular campaign issues such as noise and night flights, and the OTPP.
– help with admin skills to co-ordinate the various SBAEx actions and activities in and beyond the region
Please get in touch if you have the time, skills and inclination to contribute in these areas or in other ways. Just an hour or two a week individually or in small groups can make all the difference. Please contact John at StopBAex@gmail.com.
10 With a General Election now confirmed we will start another round of lobbying MPs, North Somerset Councillors, District Councillors and Parish councils in the West of England Combined Authority (BANES, Bristol, South Gloucestershire). North Somerset Councillors and other politicians are listening but need to know they have the support of constituents in rejecting this pernicious proposal for expansion so please contact them. See https://www.stopbristolairportexpansion.org/take-action/
Our latest information is that the North Somerset planning committee meeting will not take place until the New Year. There’s still time to comment on the Airport’s plans at https://tinyurl.com/BristolAirportExpansion. It only takes a couple of minutes and every comment counts. So please encourage your family, friends and acquaintances to do the same.
Thank you for taking the time to read this update, and please circulate it to others who might like to join the campaign.