Bristol Airport urged to drop expansion appeal

PUBLISHED: 06:55 31 July 2020

Protests against Bristol Airports expansion were held in February.	 Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Protests against Bristol Airports expansion were held in February. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

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Campaigners are urging Bristol Airport to withdraw its threat to appeal the decision against its expansion.

Protests against Bristol Airports expansion were held in February.	 Picture: MARK ATHERTONProtests against Bristol Airports expansion were held in February. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

North Somerset Council’s planning committee refused the plans in February, which aimed to boost passenger numbers to 12 million a year by the mid-2020s, and to expand its on-site infrastructure.

The committee said the possible economic benefits did not outweigh the environmental harm and potential adverse effects of noise and pollution on the health and wellbeing of people across North Somerset, as well as climate change and the need to meet carbon reduction targets, were also cited.

More than 10,000 comments were posted on the council’s planning website, with 75 per cent of respondents against the expansion.

The airport has until September 17 to announce whether or not it is going to appeal.

Protests against Bristol Airports expansion were held in February.	 Picture: MARK ATHERTONProtests against Bristol Airports expansion were held in February. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Emma Crewe of the Stop Bristol Airport Expansion campaign is urging the Airport to ‘respect the democratic decision and the wishes of the vast majority of its neighbours’.

She said: “The fact that the airport is clinging to its dystopian vision at a time when the effects of climate change are becoming increasingly obvious demonstrates its deep contempt for both local and wider communities.

“Its refusal to withdraw the threat of appeal constitutes a barely-veiled threat to the council at a time when it is financially vulnerable.

“It should do the decent thing and immediately and publicly abandon any intention to appeal to remove the corrosive uncertainties inflicted on the council and communities.”

An artist's impression from Bristol Airport's expanison proposal. Picture: Bristol AirportAn artist's impression from Bristol Airport's expanison proposal. Picture: Bristol Airport

PICTURES: Mass protests in Weston over airport expansion.

The proposal, submitted in December 2018, would have seen more than 97,000 flights arriving and departing the airport per year, 23,800 flights more than in 2017.

Airport chief executive David Lees previously said the airport’s expansion would create 800 jobs and its ‘extensive package of mitigating measures would ensure the impact on nearby villages and the environment would be minimal’.

Campaigners have pledged to support the council whatever happens next.

Emma added: “If the airport decides to go ahead, then community groups are ready to band together again in a crowd-funded initiative to employ leading legal advisers to support the council in the appeal process. We are ordinary people standing up to an enormously wealthy organisation whose priority is making its shareholders even richer no matter what the costs. This is a fight for the environment, for the future health of our children and for the planet. We are not going to give up.”


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