PRESS RELEASE 27 Feb 2020
The Court of Appeal has ruled today that the Government did not take enough account of its commitment to the Paris Agreement on climate change when setting out its support for the proposals in its National Policy Statement (NPS) and has therefore reject plans for a third runway at Heathrow Airport.
Professor John Adams of the Stop Bristol Airport Expansion campaign commented:
‘This a huge victory for the Heathrow campaigners, for the climate and for future generations, and signals the end of ‘business as usual’ for airports across the UK. The Appeal Court judgment puts climate change at the heart of all planning, with major implications for Bristol Airport as it prepares its next steps following North Somerset Council’s recent rejection of its bid to increase annual capacity to 12 million passengers.’
If Bristol Airport decides to appeal the North Somerset decision it will have to demonstrate that their plans fit with national and local net zero targets, preferably aligned with the Paris Agreement aiming to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees.
Department for Transport projections anticipate 25% growth in aviation by 2050 although 27 airports are now planning to expand by up to 50% by 2030. There is a strong possibility that Northern airports such as Manchester will be prime candidates for growth. Straws in the wind include Dr Liam Fox’s opposition to Bristol Airport expansion, probably indicating that the Government wants to direct funding to the North rather than spend large sums of money on infrastructure in safe Conservative seats.
Professor Adams said: ‘However, there is still a policy vacuum until the government publishes its 2050 UK Aviation Strategy lander this year. This will show the extent to which the Government is prepared to stand up to the airports lobby, drop its support for airport expansion, and invest instead in low-carbon transport and sustainable tourism within the UK, which would greatly benefit the economy of the West Country.’
‘Bristol Airport should now abandon its obsolete ‘master plans’ and prepare for a new kind of future where aviation is step-locked to sustainable aviation technologies, fuel technologies, and transport policies. Any development must show that it reduces carbon outputs from all sources and will meet national and local carbon reduction targets.’
‘We are now living the climate emergency. Short-term commercial profit can no longer outweigh the health and wellbeing, wildlife and the natural environment. We must leave a world fit for future generations.’