Airport chief defends plans

THE top boss at Bristol International Airport has tried to allay 'significant concerns' raised by councillors about its expansion plans. Managing director

THE top boss at Bristol International Airport has tried to allay 'significant concerns' raised by councillors about its expansion plans.Managing director Andrew Skipp says the airport's masterplan is 'well made' and any concerns can be ironed out when a full planning application is submitted.The masterplan involves doubling the size of the existing terminal, building more than 8,000 car parking spaces and massively increasing the number of passengers at the site near Wrington.At a full North Somerset Council meeting on February 20, councillors registered six 'significant concerns', which included traffic, parking, a lack of information about subsidised public transport services and the need to look at how the expansion will affect the environment and businesses in the area.Mr Skipp said: "We have worked closely with the council throughout the masterplan to provide a level of information which it has agreed to. The masterplan carries no planning status and does not go into the level of detail that will be required within the final planning application. "The additional detail the council has asked for will be addressed as part of the airport's planning application. The masterplan underlines the economic case for careful growth over the next decade. "We remain confident that we have supplied suitably comprehensive information as is fitting for the plan, and that the case for our planned expansion to meet the obvious and growing demand from people to travel to and from our region, is well made."However, Susan Pearson, a spokeswoman for the Stop Bristol Airport Expansion campaign, said: "North Somerset Council's strong message to BIA was very clear - that there are major concerns over aspects of the masterplan such as growth in road traffic, the impact on biodiversity, growth in noise and other pollution issues."Nearly 5,000 members of the public opposed the airport's plans in the public consultation held at the end of last year. Since BIA plans to double in size by 2030, and by 50 per cent by 2015, this development cannot be considered to be 'careful growth'. It is a major development that will have considerable impact on local communities."In calling for an independent assessment into the cost or benefit impact on local and regional businesses, it is clear that the council has not been satisfied of the economic case for expansion.

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