Calls for better transport ahead of BIA expansion

PUBLISHED: 18:03 22 January 2010 | UPDATED: 11:36 25 May 2010

TRANSPORT improvements must be made in North Somerset before Bristol International Airport (BIA) is allowed to expand, according to Woodspring's MP.

TRANSPORT improvements must be made in North Somerset before Bristol International Airport (BIA) is allowed to expand, according to Woodspring's MP.

Dr Liam Fox has written to the leader of North Somerset Council, Councillor Nigel Ashton, ahead of a meeting of the authority's south area planning committee.

On February 10, the committee will discuss BIA's plans to double the size of its terminal, create new car parks and increase the number of aircraft stands so the site can handle more passengers.

In his letter, Dr Fox raises concerns about the already high volumes of traffic travelling to and from the airport through villages including Barrow Gurney, Backwell and Yatton.

It says: "The airport growth would see passenger numbers rise from around six to 10 million.

"Just how these extra passengers would reach the airport without exacerbating the problem is a mystery to me."

As part of its planning application, BIA announced in December that its contribution toward the Bus Rapid Transit Scheme and the South Bristol Link road will rise from £3million to £5.4million.

However, Dr Fox believes the link road project is only aspirational and that the money will not help the villages.

His letter adds: "I have always believed that transport improvements should be made before any expansion is allowed.

"Otherwise, there will be a fear that the expansion may go ahead but financial pressures will result in transport improvements being delayed or abandoned.

"I cannot support a position where BIA expansion is allowed before the increasingly unsatisfactory traffic problems are dealt with.

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