Council objects to Bristol airport plan

1.9.2009 (This is Bath)

Politicians in Bath have objected to the £150 million expansion of Bristol International
Airport amid fears over climate change.

Bosses at the airport have accused councillors on Bath and North East Somerset
Council of being swayed by “emotional” arguments over the fate of their plans
to double its size.

The final decision on the plan, which would see passenger numbers increase to
10 million in the next eight years, rests with North Somerset Council.

B&NES this week voted to ask its neighbouring authority to reject the airport’s
planning application.

But the Bath councillors conceded that their colleagues in North Somerset might
ignore their advice, and have put forward a series of suggested conditions about
road improvements, noise and night flights.

The motion to urge refusal of the plans came from Cllr Nicholas Coombes (Lib
Dem, Bathwick), who said: “The expansion of airports is incompatible with attempts
to cut carbon emissions. Indeed, it goes against common sense to imagine that
Bristol International Airport can double its emissions over the next 10 years
but that carbon emissions overall can be reduced in line with Government targets.

“Only this week the Climate Change Committee that the UK will have to cut emissions
by 90 per cent by 2050 for the aviation industry to continue to grow.

B&NES will now tell North Somerset Council that, if permission is granted,
there should be no increase in night flights, and it will ask the neighbouring
authority to commission research into the noise impact of expansion on the Bath

Bristol City Council has also urged the rejection of the application.

Hilary Burn of the Stop Bristol Airport Expansion group said: “B&NES councillors
are to be applauded for seeing sense over the airport’s expansion plans. Climate
change is the greatest threat facing the modern world, and dealing with its consequences
will have a huge cost for the economy.

“With two of the airport’s neighbouring authorities now objecting to the expansion
plans, it is time the airport withdrew its application and cut back its plans
so that it can fit in with economic and environmental realities.”

But Alan Davies, planning and environment director at the airport, said:  “The
discussion at the B&NES Council meeting centred on emotional arguments relating
to aviation’s contribution to climate change.  It ignored the recommendations
of the Bath and North East Somerset planning officers and representatives of the
tourism industry and business community in Bath.

“The aviation industry is at the forefront of developing new technology which
will enable it to meet the challenging target of reducing emissions from flying
to 2005 levels by 2050 against a background of a threefold increase in passenger

“We are confident that North Somerset Council, as the determining authority,
will undertake a more thorough and proper analysis of the application before reaching
its conclusion. We are also confident North Somerset will put much more weight
on the employment, economic and tourism benefits generated by the airport in their