‘Airport expansion to hinder carbon reduction efforts’

Bristol Airport wants to cater for 20 million passengers in future. Picture: BBC LDRS

Bristol Airport wants to cater for 20 million passengers in future. Picture: BBC LDRS - Credit: BBC LDRS

Bristol Airport’s grand expansion plans have been labelled ‘bonkers’ by councillors concerned by pollution.

The ninth busiest airport in the UK wants to double maximum passenger numbers from 10 million to 20 million by the mid-2040s.

But all local authorities are facing a target of reducing their carbon emissions by 2036, with Bristol City Council voting to become carbon neutral by 2030.

Strong views against the airport’s ideas were raised at the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) scrutiny committee.

North Somerset councillor Donald Davies said: “Bristol Airport wants to expand, expand, expand, expand because it’s got to make money, doesn’t it, for the Ontario Teachers’ Pension fund which owns it.

“Pollution-wise, I don’t know how the hell we can do 2036 and have any targets or any aspirations for reducing carbon because the airport themselves admit their 2030 target for zero carbon is only for buildings and not for the planes and not for the traffic going in and out.”

Mr Davies, who represents Pill as an independent, said Bristol could be ‘massively working’ to reduce pollution while the airport is working on an expansion scheme which is probably going to generate ‘as much extra carbon as Bristol is saving’.

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Cllr Stephen Clarke, a Green Party member for Bristol City Council, labelled Bristol Airport’s scheme as ‘bonkers’.

Bristol Airport’s plans for expansion are expected to come before North Somerset Council in the coming months.

It unveiled its aim to expand in the spring, with the potential of more long-haul routes in the offing.

Speaking in May, Simon Earles, planning and sustainability director at Bristol Airport, said: “These proposals will ensure Bristol Airport continues to provide the connectivity our region needs to be successful while offering local residents and stakeholders greater clarity about the phasing of future development.”

Several changes have taken place at the Lulsgate site in the past few years, including the construction of a hotel and the addition of more parking facilities.

Earlier this year, 84 per cent of Mercury readers voted in favour of the airport’s expansion in an online poll.