PICTURES: Extinction Rebellion deliver card opposing airport expansion ahead of weekend of protest
PUBLISHED: 13:47 06 February 2020 | UPDATED: 17:52 06 February 2020
Protestors landed in Weston for an out-of-this-world demonstration.
A group of Extinction Rebellion (XR) elders dressed in silver robes made their way to the town hall in a mournful procession to hand a card signed by more than 100 members of the group calling for North Somerset Council to reject plans to expand Bristol Airport.
The peaceful protest is the start of a three-day vigil in the town in the run up to a special planning meeting which will decide the airport's fate on Monday evening at 6pm.
Council planning officers have recommended the airport's plans to expand its facilities to be able to accommodate 12 million passengers per year by 2025 for approval.
The vigil, which the group said will be full of 'creative shenanigans', culminates in a march through the town on Saturday, which will set off from the Grand Pier at 3pm.
XR elder, Fi Radford, said: "We are a group of grandparents and elders who are deeply concerned about our future.
"We will be back here on Saturday for major action, there's going to be a vigil featuring creative shenanigans but with a serious purpose.
"If the airport expansion plans come to pass then all of the efforts from councils in the area which have declared climate emergencies will be for nothing because it will wipe out all of our gains.
"We are not saying close it down we're saying don't expand.
"They don't seem to see the bigger picture, it's not just a local planning issue as climate change is a global issue.
"We are calling on the people of Weston to come out on Saturday and show their opposition to the increase in carbon emissions the expansion will cause."
READ MORE: BRISTOL AIRPORT EXPANSION PLANS SET FOR APPROVAL
In July, the airport brought forward plans to be carbon neutral by 2025.
It also revealed plans to increase its use of electric vehicles, a shift to renewable energy and an increase in the cost of using drop-off parking.
A spokesman for Bristol Airport said it 'welcomed the conclusions reached by the officers report' and 'hoped they would be echoed by members of the planning and regulatory committee'.
Its spokesman added: "A successful, sustainable airport is vital to the continued success of our region.
"These plans to handle an additional two million passengers a year are a practical step to meeting continued demand from passengers and businesses in a way which minimises impacts on our neighbours and the environment.
"Latest figures show nearly nine million passengers used Bristol Airport in 2019, up more than three per cent over the previous year.
"This increase in passengers was achieved with fewer flights, illustrating how the airport is operating more efficiently to decouple environmental impacts from growth."
If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Weston Mercury. Click the link in the orange box below for details.