Investigation call over airport's master plan

NORTH Somerset councillors have acknowledged plans to expand Bristol International Airport - but have made it clear they have 'significant concerns'. At last week's full council meeting it was voted to 'note' the airport's masterplan, which includes doubl

NORTH Somerset councillors have acknowledged plans to expand Bristol International Airport - but have made it clear they have 'significant concerns'.At last week's full council meeting it was voted to 'note' the airport's masterplan, which includes doubling the size of the existing terminal, building a 180-bedroom hotel, increasing car parking spaces from 9,000 to about 17,800 and increasing passengers from six to nine million per year.But councillors also voted to advise the airport of six 'significant concerns.' These included a lack of information about subsidised public transport services in the masterplan, and the need to look at how the expansion will affect the environment and businesses in the area. Councillors deferred debating the masterplan at last month's full council meeting when councillors Peter Kehoe and Isabel Cummings appealed to colleagues to delay a decision so more information could be collected about pollution.During Tuesday's meeting 11 members of the public stood up and spoke about their concerns over the airport's proposals.The next step for BIA bosses will be to submit a planning application.Councillor Chanel Stevens added an amendment at the meeting, which was agreed. It asked for investigations into an apparent contradiction between the airport's plans and the South West Regional Assembly's mission to cut carbon emissions. The amendment also requested an investigation into the Stern Report, which was commissioned by the Government to look into global warming, to see how it fits in with the airport's plans.The only councillor to vote against approving the motion was Weston's prospective MP, Mike Bell. He said: "We need to send a message to BIA that we won't go along with a flawed prospectus."The local authority's solicitor advised councillors during the meeting that they should be careful about refusing to 'note' the masterplan because they could be accused of already having made their minds up about any planning application the airport might put forward in the future.


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