Dismay that Bristol Airport will appeal against Council refusal of its plans to expand for more passengers
Members of XR Bristol Airport Action Network (BAAN) are very disappointed that Bristol Airport is seeking to appeal against the decision ratified in March which rejected their application to increase passenger numbers per annum to 12 million by 2026. The decision made by the North Somerset Council’s Planning and Strategic Committee amplified the views of the local community who clearly did not want this expansion. Some 8,931 written objections were submitted to the Council’s planning website as opposed to 2,431 statements supporting the development. The Planning Committee rejected the original plan for expansion on the grounds that key environmental issues had not been properly resolved while insisting the economic benefits would not outweigh the environmental harm. Tarisha-Finnegan-Clarke, Coordinator of XR BAAN: “At a time when the Coronavirus has forced airports to drastically reduce the number of flights the aviation industry should be focusing on survival. Instead, the unfailing arrogance of Bristol Airport’s management sees them pursuing their fantasy aspiration to expand passenger numbers. An appeal at this time is simply unappealing to so many people.”
BRISTOL AIRPORT’S ASPIRATIONS FOR EXPANSION ARE ‘UNAPPEALING’
Friday 7th August 2020
XR Bristol Airport Action Network (BAAN) press release
Members of XR Bristol Airport Action Network (BAAN) are very disappointed that Bristol Airport is seeking to appeal against the decision ratified last March which rejected their application to increase passenger numbers per annum to 12 million by 2026.
The decision made by the North Somerset Council’s Planning and Strategic Committee amplified the views of the local community who clearly did not want this expansion. Some 8,931 written objections were submitted to the Council’s planning website as opposed to 2,431 statements supporting the development.
The Planning Committee rejected the original plan for expansion on the grounds that key environmental issues had not been properly resolved while insisting the economic benefits would not outweigh the environmental harm. Campaigners claim that any expansion would still have detrimental effects on the local community with more noise from extra flights, an increase in traffic congestion on local roads and the loss of greenbelt land as well an unacceptable increase in greenhouse gas emissions which would worsen the climate crisis.
Tarisha-Finnegan-Clarke, Coordinator of XR BAAN said, “At a time when the Coronavirus has forced airports to drastically reduce the number of flights the aviation industry should be focusing on survival. Instead, the unfailing arrogance of Bristol Airport’s management sees them pursuing their fantasy aspiration to expand passenger numbers. An appeal at this time is simply unappealing to so many people.”
BAAN member, Richard Baxter, said, “Nothing has changed – the reasons for objecting to the Airport’s development remain the same. What has changed since North Somerset Council’s rejection is the emergence of a worldwide health crisis which has seriously grounded much of Bristol Airport’s business. The aviation industry around the world needs to fully recognise the part they played in spreading COVID-19 around the globe so rapidly. Going back to business, as usual, is no longer acceptable and it is so insensitive to be talking about airport expansion at this point in time. People are certainly afraid to fly whilst there is no vaccine to help protect people against the virus.”
Mr Baxter added, “Surely, Bristol Airport’s plans for growth are redundant and are a complete waste of time and money. North Somerset Council is already under great pressure to deal with the circumstances surrounding the Coronavirus. An appeal is going to be hugely detrimental in diverting money and Council resources from providing key services to the local community.”
“The airport says the expansion is important for the economic regeneration of the region. If anything it will be people booking a staycation and holidaying in the UK that will benefit the area instead of encouraging many people to fly abroad whilst the airport profits from car parking fees”
Details of the venue and appeal dates will be announced in due course.
For further information contact Tarisha Finnegan-Clarke on 0787 674 0864 or Richard Baxter 0n 07795 435576
Bristol Airport to appeal against planning refusal to expand for more passengers
Campaigners against the plan face another battle
By Jasper King (Bristol Live)
6th August 2020
Bristol Airport is launching a bid to overturn a refusal by North Somerset Council of its plans to expand.
Councillors rejected the airport’s planning application to increase its current capacity from 10million to 12million passengers per year in February.
They said the environmental and societal impacts outweighed the economic benefits of the expansion.
However, this lunchtime, airport chief executive Dave Lees said there will be an appeal against the decision, which was made by councillors against advice from their own planning officers.
If the airport wins an appeal, the council could be forced to pay for the appeal process.
There is also a danger if the decision is overturned that the council will lose its powers to enforce any conditions on the development.
The decision on the appeal will be made by the Government planning inspectorate.
Mr Lees said: “Expansion at Bristol Airport will spur growth in the South West and increase the rate at which jobs are created, replacing those lost at the airport during the current crisis.
“Approval of Bristol Airport’s planning application will give a much-needed boost to the economy in the West and South West of England and allow exploration of new route development opportunities in the Middle East and North America.”
The airport’s plan has proved to be controversial with hundreds of residents and the majority of councillors in the area objecting to the proposal.
There were also protests by Extinction Rebellion against the plans.
But despite the objections, the council’s own planning officers recommended the application be approved – which is why for many it came as a shock when the plan was thrown out by the council’s planning committee.
After a four-and-a-half hour planning meeting, councillors refused it by 18 votes to seven.
A planning inquiry for an application of this size could take several weeks with witnesses and experts called to give evidence for both sides.
Bristol Airport intends to appeal planning decision
Created: 6th Aug 2020
Bristol Airport has confirmed that it intends to appeal against North Somerset Council’s decision to refuse its planning application to increase capacity from 10 million to 12 million passengers per year. The decision to refuse the planning application was contrary to the recommendation of the Council’s own planning officers.
The decision on the application will now move to a national level and will be made by an independent planning inspector or, if the appeal is recovered, by the Government.
The plans to expand capacity at the airport will offer passengers more routes and flights from the South West directly, create jobs, facilitate inward investment and inbound tourism, and support greener and more sustainable, regional economic growth. Specific improvements include:
- Extensions to the terminal building, including a new immigration hall
- Ambitious new public transport targets, with new and innovative bus and coach services across the region
- Improvements to the A38 and the airport’s internal road layout, as part of a multi-million-pound transport improvement plan
- Construction of a new multi-storey car park and extension of the Silver Zone car parking
- Enhancement of airside infrastructure, including passenger walkways with travellators
The decision to refuse Bristol Airport’s planning application simply exacerbates a situation which already sees millions of passengers drive to London’s airports every year, adding to unnecessary carbon emissions and congestion. This also acts as a barrier for overseas investment into the region.
Bristol Airport’s expansion proposals sit alongside a roadmap which sets out how it will achieve its ambition to become carbon neutral for direct emissions by 2025 and a net zero airport by 2050. A comprehensive package of measures is also proposed to minimise the adverse environmental impacts of an additional 2 million passengers per annum including:
- Developing a Carbon and Climate Change Action Plan to mitigate the carbon emissions associated with an additional 2 million passengers
- A biodiversity management plan to ensure adverse effects on wildlife and habitats are minimised, providing the opportunity to deliver a net gain for local biodiversity
- The provision of on-site renewable energy production
- A significant public transport investment package to encourage sustainable travel
- An Environmental and Amenity Improvement Fund to support a range of measures to minimise noise impacts, including acoustic fencing
As the aviation industry looks beyond the COVID-19 pandemic, it is imperative that all regions of the country have sufficient infrastructure. The South West has not been at the forefront of transport investment to date and expansion of capacity at Bristol Airport will be a significant step in addressing this disparity. This will benefit the South West’s economy beyond the direct jobs that the project will generate and support the Government’s aim of ‘levelling-up’ economic growth across the United Kingdom by driving economic growth outside the South East of England. Regional aviation will play a crucial role in providing international connectivity when the UK completes its departure from the EU. Expanding capacity at Bristol Airport will offer the opportunity to explore new route development opportunities in the Middle East and North America.
Bristol Airport welcomes the opportunity to commence the appeal process in order to fulfil the ambition of enhancing prosperity in the South West and West of England.
Dave Lees, CEO, Bristol Airport commented:
“Expansion at Bristol Airport will spur growth in the South West and increase the rate at which jobs are created, replacing those lost at the airport during the current crisis. Although demand is temporarily suppressed, it is forecast to return to pre-pandemic levels in the coming years. The sector has been operating at close to capacity for some time and expansion at regional airports will allow growth to benefit all regions across the UK. Approval of Bristol Airport’s planning application will give a much-needed boost to the economy in the West and South West of England and allow exploration of new route development opportunities in the Middle East and North America.
“As the UK completes its departure from the European Union, our international connectivity will become more important than ever. International trade and transport links with our European and global partners will be a huge focus over the coming years. Regional aviation will play a crucial role in the economic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis and in delivering the UK’s global ambitions.”
Deborah Fraser, CBI Director – South West & Regions, said:
“Bristol Airport provides South West businesses with vital access to global growth and essential regional connectivity. Further infrastructure investment can also act as a catalyst for training, jobs and growth, especially given the impact of the current crisis within the aviation sector.
“Longer-term, supporting the airport’s ambitions to achieve carbon neutrality and become net-zero in the years ahead will help contribute to a sustainable recovery from the COVID crisis, helping the UK build back better.”
Miles Morgan, Owner, Miles Morgan Travel said:
“Despite the short term Covid affects, I can only see the demands to travel and travel locally increasing. Bristol Airport needs to forward plan to support and fulfil this demand. This, in turn will provide additional jobs in the local area going forward which will also be great news.”
Around 250 job losses likely at Bristol airport, due to collapse in its air travel demand
Nearly 250 jobs could be lost at Bristol Airport because demand for air travel has plummeted. The unions are saying these redundancies would leave a ‘huge economic hole’ in the region. Bristol Airport has begun consultation with Unite over making 76 directly employed staff redundant. Swissport has also announced 167 job losses. A smaller number of redundancies at other firms are also expected to be announced soon. There are the usual claims about the alleged economic benefit the airport brings, and the number of jobs it supports. These conveniently ignore the fact that most flights are taken by local people flying abroad for their leisure, spending their money abroad – not in local businesses or local leisure/ holiday destinations. To try to save jobs, the unions want delay, in the hope that air travel demand picks up. The AOA – lobby groups for the industry – said this week up to 20,000 jobs at Britain’s airports are at risk as a result of the collapse of air travel due to the Covid pandemic. Bristol is yet another area has has become too dependent on the airport for jobs, and this vulnerability has now been shown up. Aviation is no longer a sector with guaranteed security and growth for a local economy.
Still unknown if Bristol airport will appeal against expansion refusal – they have to decide by 19th September
Bristol Airport has not yet decided whether to appeal against a decision to refuse its expansion plans. North Somerset Planning and Regulatory committee councillors went against the council officers’ recommendation earlier this year, to reject the expansion plans which would have allowed the airport to increase its current capacity from 10 million to 12 million passengers per year. The councillors ruled that environmental and societal impacts outweighed the economic benefits of the expansion. The airport has 6 months in which to appeal, and that time ends of 19th September 2020. A spokesman for the airport said a decision on whether to lodge an appeal had yet to be made and was still under review. The decline in air travel demand will be a factor in the decision. The costs of a public inquiry could run into tens of thousands of pounds for North Somerset Council. It has confirmed it will defend any appeal but said it was unable to comment on any potential costs. It would be for the Planning Inspector who is overseeing the case to decide what costs and conditions to impose on North Somerset Council, if it loses.
Bath and North East Somerset Council rejects Bristol Airport application to increase night flights in summer months
Bath and North East Somerset Council has rejected an application by Bristol Airport to increase the number of night flights. The airport wants to increase the number of night flights to 4,000 throughout the whole year, starting in summer 2021. Currently the airport is allowed 3,000 night flights throughout the summer months and 1,000 in winter. The airport wants to be able to move some of their winter allocation to the summer, when demand is higher. Bath and North East Somerset Council rejected the application – stating it would have a negative impact on people living in towns near the airport. The request for more flights comes after the council opposed the expansion of Bristol Airport in March 2019. Then in March 2020 North Somerset Council threw out the plans, (which included increasing passenger numbers by an extra two million each year and building more car parks) on the grounds they were “incompatible” with the council’s declaration of a climate emergency. The extra night flights would cause noise nuisance to people in both councils.
Bristol Airport expansion plans rejected by North Somerset council by 18-7
North Somerset Council’s Planning & Regulatory Committee has gone against the advice of their own planning officers and have refused permission for Bristol Airport to expand. It has been a “David versus Goliath” battle of local campaigners against the airport, (owned by the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan). The airport wanted to expand from 10 million to 12 million passengers per year, with large carpark and other building. The opposition to the plans was huge, on ground of carbon emissions, as well as noise and general local damage. There were almost 9,000 objections sent in by members of the public, against 2,400 in favour. Councillors voted 18-7 against the plans, with one abstention. Councillors were persuaded that paltry economic benefits to the airport and airlines were far outweighed by the environmental harm. There would be large land take for the parking, and the extra carbon emissions would make targets of carbon neutrality for the area unachievable. Because the councillors went against the officers’ recommendations, the decision will return to the same committee to be ratified. If the decision is ratified, the applicant has six months to lodge an appeal, which would be heard at a public inquiry.
Plans to expand Bristol Airport accused of being flawed; decision put off till early 2020
A decision on Bristol Airport’s major expansion bid will not be made this year. They submitted proposals to boost passenger numbers from 10 million to 12 million a year by the mid-2020s, and to expand the airport’s on-site infrastructure. A decision had been due over the summer but people are continuing to comment – there are currently about 3,780 objections and 1,800 letters of support. Reasons for opposing the expansion include climate change, traffic levels, air pollution and noise. When they declared a “climate emergency”, Bath and North East Somerset Council members also voted to oppose the airport’s expansion, amid concerns about increased congestion on rural roads in their area. There is also doubt about alleged economic benefit. The airport and its supporters always talk up the possibility of more jobs, and improved “access international export markets.” In reality, the majority of air passengers are on leisure journeys. The application will be considered by North Somerset Council’s planning and regulatory committee meeting in 2020, with possible dates the 22 January, 19 February and 18 March.