Bristol Airport to appeal expansion decision
- Credit: Archant
Bristol Airport has confirmed it intends to appeal against North Somerset Council’s decision to refuse its planning application to expand its facilities.
The airport applied to increase capacity from 10 million to 12 million passengers per year in December 2018.
A special meeting of the council’s planning committee was held in February to consider the airport’s application, when its plans were rejected by councillors. This decision was ratified at a meeting of the committee the following month, as the decision went against officers’ recommendations.
The decision will now be made by an independent planning inspector or, if the appeal is recovered, by the Government.
Bristol Airport said plans to expand its capacity will ‘offer passengers more routes and flights from the
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South West directly, create jobs, facilitate inward investment and inbound tourism, and support greener and more sustainable, regional economic growth’.
Other items such as improvements to the A38 and the airport’s internal road layout, construction of a new multi-storey car park and extension of the silver zone car parking form part of the plans.
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Airport chief executive, David Lees, said: “Expansion at Bristol Airport will spur growth in the South West and increase the rate at which jobs are created, replacing those lost at the airport during the current crisis.
“Although demand is temporarily suppressed, it is forecast to return to pre-pandemic levels in the coming years. The sector has been operating at close to capacity for some time and expansion at regional airports will allow growth to benefit all regions across the UK.
“Approval will give a much-needed boost to the economy in the South West and allow exploration of new route development opportunities in the Middle East and North America.” The council said it will defend its position ‘vigorously’ during any appeal.
Campaigners against the expansion said they were ‘disappointed’ with the airport’s decision to appeal.
Tarisha-Finnegan-Clarke, coordinator of Bristol Airport Action Network, said: “At a time when the coronavirus has forced airports to drastically reduce the number of flights, the aviation industry should be focusing on survival.
“Instead the unfailing arrogance of Bristol Airport’s management sees them pursuing their fantasy aspiration to expand passenger numbers.
“An appeal at this time is simply unappealing to so many people.”
For more reaction, pick up a copy of the paper next Thursday.