Appeal Court rejects application by BAAN to appeal against Bristol Airport expansion decision
In January the High Court ruled that the airport’s major expansion plans could go ahead following a lengthy legal battle, but local group Bristol Airport Action Network appealed against the decision. Now that appeal has been “refused on all grounds”. by the Court of Appeal. A ruling found that there was not “real prospect of success” of the challenge and no other compelling reason for to allow it. The airport plans to expand its maximum capacity from 10m to 12m passengers a year, had initially been refused planning permission by North Somerset Council in January 2020. The airport’s owner Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan later appealed to the Government, and the decision was overturned by the Planning Inspectorate in February 2022. BAAN has been fighting ever since, and commented that “The airport can now expand by an extra 2 million passengers a year, build a multi-storey car park on Greenbelt land, massively increase the number of summer night flights and congest the local roads with an extra 10,000 cars a day.” As well as hugely increase its carbon emissions. BAAN says “the planning system concerning airport expansion has been rigged by the government to ignore the climate crisis.”
Anti-airport expansion group in Bristol loses appeal
Campaigners have lost their appeal to stop Bristol Airport from expanding.
The airport plans to increase capacity from 10 to 12 million passengers a year and enhance its facilities.
Bristol Airport Action Network (BAAN) said it was disappointed by the decision from the Court of Appeal in this time of a climate crisis.
Bristol Airport welcomed the court’s decision to uphold the planning permission and said its plans will create thousands of new jobs.
In January, the High Court ruled that the airport’s expansion plans could go ahead following a lengthy legal battle, but BAAN appealed against this decision.
‘Refused on all grounds’
Now Bristol Airport has announced that the appeal had been “refused on all grounds”.
The ruling found that there was no “real prospect of success and no other compelling reason for the Court of Appeal to entertain an appeal”.
A spokesperson for the airport said: “We will now take forward our multi-million-pound plans for net zero operations by 2030 and look forward to working with stakeholders and the community to deliver responsible growth.”
Steve Clarke, from Bristol Airport Action Network, said: “I’m not really surprised by this decision, but I am angry and disappointed.”
He added: “Bristol Airport pretend to be concerned about local stakeholders and the climate, but nothing could be clearer from this process that they don’t give a damn about either.
“They must understand though that we are not going away – we will be energised by this ridiculous decision.”
Comments from an AirportWatch members:
Condolences to BAAN. Sadly, the outcome is all too familiar. The Courts’ hands are tied by government policy, regardless of the fact that the policy is illogical, incoherent and based on mythical claims of thousands of new jobs and economic benefits for the UK. Eventually, the truth will out.
What should really be called out is the sheer hypocrisy of the airport claiming they can now get on with their “multi million pound plan for Net Zero”. As if they were only doing it to make the airport net zero.
If they are that serious about it, the challenge should be that they, by all means, proceed with that plan but also state upfront that the airport refuses to take any additional flights because of the destructive impact of planes on the environment. We could say if they did that, we would not just withdraw opposition but endorse their plans.
Think they’ll take that offer? Not a chance. Because the flights are ‘nothing to do with me guv!’ Another ludicrous hypocrisy that needs to be exposed.
Campaigners fighting Bristol Airport expansion plans have appeal dismissed by courts
Bristol Airport has welcomed the court’s decision
18.5.2023 (Bristol Post)
Bristol Airport has cleared a legal hurdle in the way of its proposed multi-million-pound expansion, but campaigners against the scheme say they will continue their fight. In January the High Court ruled that the airport’s major expansion plans could go ahead following a lengthy legal battle, but a group called Bristol Airport Action Network appealed against the decision.
But today (Thursday, May 18) Bristol Airport announced that the appeal had been “refused on all grounds”. A ruling found that there was not “real prospect of success” and no other compelling reason for the Court of Appeal to entertain an appeal. Bristol Airport’s plans to expand its maximum capacity from 10m to 12m passengers a year, had initially been refused planning permission by North Somerset Council in January 2020.
The airport’s owner Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan later appealed to the Government, and the decision was overturned by the Planning Inspectorate in February 2022. The Bristol Airport Action Network (BAAN) had since been seeking various legal routes, including the High Court appeal, to try and overturn the Government’s U-turn decision.
Bristol Airport has welcomed today’s decision to reject the appeal, however BAAN has voiced concerns that it now means there is no longer any legal impediment to stop the airport ‘ignoring the huge majority of local opinion and democratic institutions that have rejected the airport’s plans’.
In a statement Bristol Airport said: “Bristol Airport welcomes the court’s decision to uphold the planning permission to increase Bristol Airport’s capacity from 10m to 12m passengers per annum providing enhanced customer facilities for the region’s gateway for air travel.
“The decision is excellent news for our region’s economy, allowing us to create thousands of new jobs in the years ahead and open-up new direct links, and support inbound tourism. We will now take forward our multi-million-pound plans for net zero operations by 2030 and look forward to working with stakeholders and the community to deliver responsible growth.”
A statement from BAAN slammed the decision saying it ‘defied local opinion’. The statement said: “The airport can now expand by an extra two million passengers a year, build a multi-storey car park on Greenbelt land, massively increase the number of summer night flights and congest the local roads with an extra 10,000 cars a day. These plans shows clearly that Bristol Airport simply put profit above any consideration of the climate and ecological crisis, or the considerations of local people and it is impossible for them to pretend otherwise.”
“On the face of it, because the airport has ultimately been given permission, it may look like this campaign has been a waste of time and effort but in fact this could not be further from the truth.”
The group said by continuing to fight the expansion decision it had delayed the airport’s plans by four years, which they say has saved four million tonnes of carbon and other emissions.
Stephen Clarke, one of the co-ordinators of BAAN said the group is ‘not going away’. He said: “We know, because they have told us many times, that Bristol Airport have plans to expand from the current ten million passengers a year to twenty million. They now know clearly that the vast majority of local people and politicians will be steadfastly against this but in view of their actions to date that is unlikely to stop them pushing forward with their destructive plans.
“Therefore, we shall be vigilant and wait for their next planning application. We do not expect the wait to be very long and again, we will do everything we can to stop them. I am naturally very disappointed and angry about this decision. It now seems very clear to me that the planning system concerning airport expansion has been rigged by the government to ignore the climate crisis.”
High Court has ruled that expansion of Bristol Airport will be allowed to go ahead – BAAN to appeal
Campaigners against the expansion of Bristol airport legally challenged the decision of the Planning Inspectorate (PI), a year ago. The High Court has now ruled that the expansion can go ahead. North Somerset Council rejected the expansion in 2020 on environmental grounds but that decision was later overruled by the PI. Expansion would see the airport increase its capacity from 10 million to 12 million passengers per year. Opponents of the growth, through the Bristol Airport Action Network (BAAN), are very disappointed, but are already planning on challenging the ruling. BAAN has been arguing planning inspectors were wrong to ignore the impact a bigger airport would have on climate change. In his decision Lord Justice Lane said expanding the airport would impact the environment but that the decision is for central government not local. There is no proper law on UK aviation, or any legal means to control cumulative CO2 emissions from many airport expansion. The Climate Change Committee say there are big risks in the airline industry hoping for low carbon fuels in future, and recommend that “there should be no net expansion of airport capacity”.
Bristol Airport court case is test for Sunak’s green credentials, and test case for other airport expansion plans
The decision on whether Bristol Airport should be allowed to expand has faced a court challenge. Carla Denyer, the co-leader of the Green Party, has commented that this case has huge significance for the future not just of Bristol and the South West, but for the whole of the UK. Despite the expansion application being rejected by North Somerset council, in February of this year, the Government’s Planning Inspectorate overruled the public mandate and the views of local councillors, all the surrounding councils, the West of England Combined Authority, the local MPs and the vast majority of the local residents. The expansion of Bristol Airport would be catastrophic. The carbon emissions from the expansion alone will equate to an extra 1 million tonnes of CO2 per year. That’s double the annual carbon currently emitted by all the rest of Bristol’s transport. It is a nationally important test case for whether carbon emissions and the UK’s legally binding environmental targets can carry weight in planning decisions. Up to 20 other regional airports have plans to expand, and are waiting and watching this Statutory Appeal closely.