Campaigners claim airport expansion will cause ‘severe gridlock’ on county’s roads

Bristol Airport has this week put in a planning application for a larger terminal. Picture: Bristol

Bristol Airport has this week put in a planning application for a larger terminal. Picture: Bristol Airport - Credit: Bristol Airport

Campaigners have said Bristol Airport’s expansion plans will cause ‘severe congestion and gridlock’ on the district’s rural roads and lanes.

The Parish Councils Airport Association (PCAA), comprising of representatives from the 21 surrounding parishes, will oppose plans which will see an increase in the number of passengers passing through the terminal to 12 million per year by 2025.

Planning permission is being sought for a bigger terminal, improved road access, and more parking.

PCAA chair Hilary Burn said: ”The planes from Bristol Airport already create more carbon emissions than all the traffic in Bristol.

“More flights will lead to increased traffic and, taken together, we will see significant increases in carbon emissions.

“More than 85 per cent of all passengers travel to and from the airport by car but there are no plans for rail or mass transit in phase one, just a tweaking of the junctions at Downside and Winters Lane.

“Bristol Airport’s own master plan stated that 40 per cent of all traffic on the A38 would be airport related should the airport reach 12 million passengers per year, leading to congestion spilling over to rural lanes and the A370, causing severe congestion and gridlock.”

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The PCAA also criticised the economic argument for the expansion saying only 17 per cent of passengers flew on business at the airport.

Ms Burn claimed parking would also ‘remain an issue’ and plans would result in ‘approximately 15,000 cars parked on greenbelt.’

She said: “The airport is constructing a new administration block on the green belt which local parishes were powerless to prevent and other buildings will follow.

“This is unwarranted destruction of the environment and an act of vandalism.”

Bristol Airport chief executive, Dave Lees said they will seek to ‘minimise and mitigate’ any affect expansions plans could have on local communities and the environment.

He said: “We are aware increasing passenger numbers will affect the road network, the A38 junctions with West Lane and Downside Road are focus areas for change.

The airport expects to cater for nine million travellers this year.