Bristol airport hope to expand from 8 to 12 million annual passengers; 73% rise in CO2 emissions

Bristol Airport is hoping to expand. There is a consultation that started on 19th December, and ends on 26th January, on their plans. Details can be found here.  The headline application issue is a 50% growth in passengers – from the current 8.2 million per year, to 12 million by the mid 2020’s. Carbon emissions from flights are estimated to rise by 73% from 746 ktCO2 in 2017 to 1,290 ktCO2 with 12 million passengers, an increase of 73%. The increase in passengers will be achieved by de-restricting night flights up to 4,000 per year, expanding car parks, changing road lay outs, and building a multi-storey car park (persuasively capped with some wind turbines). There are further plans to raise passenger numbers to 20 million by 2040. There is a lot of local opposition, focused on issues such as congested roads, ‘parking blights’ (cars parked in lanes etc), other local environmental impacts, noise pollution – through the night and day. There are some minimal hyper-localised ‘Noise Insulation Grants’ (up to £5000 for glazing). The airport plans to get more income in from cafes, shops and car parking, to boost profits. Bristol Airport is entirely owned by Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan – it is not British owned at all.


See more information from the local campaign, Bristol Airport Watch at

with a lot of details about what people who want to respond can say, writing in their own words.


Local campaigners also say:

Local opposition is based around functional issues – congested roads, ‘parking blights’ – cars parked in lanes and locals’ spots, noise pollution – through the night and day (though some placating / bribery occurs through some hyper-localised ‘Noise Insulation Grants’ of up to £5000 for glazing), and local environmental impacts.

Additional attention on the difficult to monitor localised pollution of particulates and harmful gases is necessary, as well as the mostly locally-unacknowledged climate impact of greenhouse gases on creating runaway climate collapse in the coming decades.

Development of the airport is framed in ‘sustainable economic’ terms, creating employment at the airport and tourism income locally.

Reframing the economic picture to include localised health impacts (air quality, sound pollution affecting quality of life), congestion effects, impacts on the local environment in a green-belt area of natural beauty, with Bristol’s water supply being sourced nearby (in the Chew Valley Lake and Barrow Gurney Reservoirs immediately affected by particulate matter), and the unimaginable costs of climate collapse of which air travel is a major contributor is necessary.

Local criticism against the airport claims the growth in increased passenger numbers are mainly required to develop a more profitable retail and cafe operations and income from car parks (Bristol Airport Communities Parking Association in Chew Valley Gazette January 2019).

Bristol Airport is entirely owned by Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, Ontario Teachers’ owns a substantial portfolio of infrastructure assets including: 100% of Bristol Airport and minority stakes in other airports; the High Speed 1 rail line linking London with the Channel Tunnel; and international water and power utilities. Ontario Teachers’ also owns Camelot Group PLC, which holds an exclusive licence to operate the U.K. National Lottery. It has acquired a share of the Irish National Lottery in 2014. It seems Canadian teachers are gambling on our future!


The application can be found at

It says:

Planning – Application Summary


Outline planning application (with reserved matters details for some elements included and some elements reserved for subsequent approval) for the development of Bristol Airport to enable a throughput of 12 million terminal passengers in any 12 month calendar period, comprising:

2no. extensions to the terminal building and canopies over the forecourt of the main terminal building;

erection of new east walkway and pier with vertical circulation cores and pre-board zones;

5m high acoustic timber fence;

construction of a new service yard directly north of the western walkway;

erection of a multi-storey car park north west of the terminal building with five levels providing approximately 2,150 spaces and wind turbines atop; 

enhancement to the internal road system including gyratory road with internal surface car parking and layout changes;

enhancements to airside infrastructure including construction of new eastern taxiway link and taxiway widening (and fillets) to the southern edge of Taxiway GOLF;

the year-round use of the existing Silver Zone car park extension (Phase 1) with associated permanent (fixed) lighting and CCTV; extension to the Silver Zone car park to provide approximately 2,700 spaces (Phase 2);

improvements to the A38; operating within a rolling annualised cap of 4,000 night flights between the hours of 23:30 and 06:00 with no seasonal restrictions;

revision to the operation of Stands 38 and 39; and landscaping and associated works. 

Bristol Airport North Side Road Felton Wrington BS48 3DP


There are 172 documents associated with this application.

Chapter 17 of the Environment Statement deals with carbon emissions. It is at

Bristol airport carbon expansion

Other environmental documents are at


They seem to estimate a 9% increase in CO2 emissions from a 20% increase in number of flights, from 10 million p.a. to 12 million.  Why so low?  The rise overall is 73%.

The increase in carbon emissions from the current level would rise by about 60%, if there were 12 million passengers per year. (ie. from 746 ktCO2 up to 1,290 ktCO2).


Climate Change – Carbon and Other Greenhouse Gas Emissions

In 2017 aviation carbon emissions at Bristol Airport was 746.77 (ktCO2/yr) and in 2026 will be 1,183.87 (ktCO2/yr) an increase of 59%, to go to 10 million passengers. This figure could well be higher if the modern, less-noisy fleet of aircraft does not materialise. (REF: Environmental Statement volume 1, Ch 17 of the Bristol Airport planning application 18/P/5118/OUT at North Somerset Council).

The carbon emissions with 12 million passenger per year are estimated to be 1,290.46 ktCO2/yr. That is 73% higher than the 746 ktCO2 per year estimated for 2017.

The 2017 figure of 746.77 ktCO2 is in a different table, in the document.
In 2017 the current baseline figures for vehicle emissions were 184.45 (ktCO2/yr)
In 2026 the future baseline figures for vehicle emissions is 214.23. This is an increase of 16% in the annual level of vehicle emissions. (REF: Environmental Statement volume 1, Ch 17 of the Bristol Airport planning application 18/P/5118/OUT at North Somerset Council)


38 Degrees petition, set up by Bristol Rising Tide:

There is a 38 Degrees petition to North Somerset Council, against the runway.  It is at

Bristol Airport wants to introduce a free drop-off zone – but only if allowed to expand to over 10million annual passengers

Bristol Airport wants to bring back a free drop-off zone and create a new waiting area for taxis. The airport has not had a free drop-off zone since it removed its 10-minute ‘free’ period in May 2011. People now pay £1 for up to 20 minutes. The airport has now announced plans to introduce a free drop-off zone – but only if it gets planning consent from North Somerset Council to expand. People living near the airport complain about cars clogging up local areas, with drivers parking in lay-bys and residential roads to avoid paying to park at the airport. The airport’s expansion plans, with hopes of expanding from the current 8 million annual passengers up to 12 million, (its current cap is 10 million) would include a new authorised waiting area for taxis and a free drop-off area for other vehicles. It is not yet known how much time drivers will get for free. The plan is included in the airport’s proposals for the Section 106 Agreement, so is dependent on the plans being approved. The airport hopes to reduce opposition to its plans, by this small gesture towards helping with the local parking issue. And to please future air passengers.

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