Bristol local campaigners feel betrayed by Bristol Airport approval by the Planning Inspectorate

Despite huge opposition to the plans to expand Bristol airport, from a cap of 10 million annual passengers to 12 million, the plan was approved by the Planning Inspectorate on 2nd February, after an appeal by the airport to refusal by North Somerset Council. Residents and campaigners say that this decision flies in the face of the evidence that was presented to the inquiry by climate experts and local residents. It means about 20,000 more annual flights.  It also makes a mockery of the planning decision taken locally by North Somerset Council and the expressed opinions of the local MPs and surrounding councils. The voices of some 8,900 people who objected in writing to the proposals and the many thousands more who marched in solidarity against the plans has also been ignored in what is a terrible blow to local democracy and accountability.  The expansion would result in hugely more CO2 (at a time of climate crisis), more noise, more car journeys and road congestion. Stephen Clarke from Bristol Airport Action Network (BAAN) said: ” It means that the airport and the planning inspectorate have totally ignored the climate crisis we are currently in.”
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LOCAL CAMPAIGNERS FEEL BETRAYED BY BRISTOL AIRPORT DECISION

3rd February 2022

From the Bristol Airport Action Network (BAAN)

The people in the region who are concerned about the environment were dismayed to hear that Bristol Airport’s plans to expand by two million passengers a year have been approved by the planning inspectorate after the recent three-month appeal inquiry in Weston-super-Mare.

Residents and campaigners are saying that this decision really flies in the face of the evidence that was presented to the inquiry by climate experts and local residents. It also makes a mockery of the planning decision taken locally by North Somerset Council and the expressed opinions of the local MPs and surrounding councils. The voices of some 8,900 people who objected in writing to the proposals and the many thousands more who marched in solidarity against the plans has also been ignored in what is a terrible blow to local democracy and accountability.

So what does this decision mean?

Stephen Clarke from Bristol Airport Action Network (BAAN) said:

‘It means that the owners of Bristol Airport , the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan, can now start to put in place their plans to have more than 20,000 extra planes a year to fly into the airport; this will lead to massive amounts of extra carbon in the delicate high atmosphere, an extra 10,000 plus car journeys on the congested roads around the airport and many extra night flights disturbing the sleep of local residents. It means that the airport and the planning inspectorate have totally ignored the climate crisis we are currently in. Some of the promises that were made at COP26 climate talks in Glasgow only a couple of months ago have already been broken and the members of BAAN are outraged at this decision.

This is not the end of the story though; BAAN consider that the process and the decision taken may well have been unlawful under national and international law and we are taking legal advice to see what action can be taken to stop this self-destructive development’.

Tarisha Finnegan Clarke also from BAAN said:

‘Bristol Airport (BA) are certainly world-class at one thing; Greenwash! That is, they say they care about the local community and the ecological crisis whilst all the time they go against the communities wishes and increase harmful toxic emissions. They say that electric and hydrogen planes will save the day, despite the contrary evidence from scientists and engineers. They claim to be net-zero but they don’t include the emissions from the aircraft in their calculations. They even say people will be healthier if this expansion is allowed to go ahead (see the transcripts of the inquiry!). 

It is unforgivable that the Government’s Inspectorate has been apparently taken in by Bristol Airport’s self-serving lies and exaggerations. Nothing will be healthier because of this expansion other than the airport’s wallet. 

We will continue to fight these damaging plans on behalf of local residents and those suffering from the effects of climate change nationally & around the globe.’ 

Richard Baxter from BAAN and Bristol Greenpeace said:

‘Last November, Prime Minister, Boris Johnson warned world leaders at the COP26 climate summit that it is now “one minute to midnight” in the race to prevent global heating from surpassing a critical threshold. He called for immediate action yet he presides over a government that is seriously failing UK citizens in tackling the problem. 

Reducing carbon emissions is an urgent priority over the next decade for all sectors of industry and it needs to start now, not in several years time in the hope that technology and offsetting emissions will do the trick. Bristol Airport is gambling with our long term future in return for short-term profits. We feel the odds are against them achieving their flimsy promises. The only sure way to reduce carbon emissions this decade and achieve local and national targets is to operate less flights.’

ENDS


Notes for Editors

Bristol Airport Action Network (BAAN) comprises of members of local Extinction Rebellion groups who have been campaigning against the airport for over three years.  They were a Rule 6 party of the 10-week long planning inquiry which was initiated when Bristol Airport appealed following the rejection of their application to expand to cater for 2million extra passengers per year.

For further information contact Stephen Clarke on 07876 740864 or Richard Baxter on 07795 435576

BAAN Website:  https://bristolairportactionnetwork.wordpress.com/

Bristol Airport Action Network – BAAN  on Twitter at   @baancc
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See earlier:

Bristol Airport expansion allowed by Planning Inspectorate, on appeal – called “devastating” by opponents

The 36-day public inquiry into Bristol Airport’s proposal to expand from 10 to 12 mppa, and add thousands more car parking spaces, took place in September and October 2021. Now the Planning Inspectorate have announced their decision to allow the appeal by the airport against refusal by North Somerset Council. This has been condemned as devastating by opponents and extremely disappointing by local councillors. North Somerset Council leader Don Davies said the decision “flies in the face of local democracy”.  His authority had given sound planning grounds for refusing permission in February 2020, and warned that the detrimental effect of the airport expansion of the airport locally – as well as the wider climate impacts – outweighed the narrower benefits,  which would be almost entirely the commercial interests of the owners, the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan..  The plan to expand the airport was opposed by thousands of residents, as well as Bristol City Council, Bath and North East Somerset Council and the West of England Combined Authority. Don Davies said the council is seeing if there are any grounds for challenging the PI ruling.

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