Bristol Airport public inquiry to get under way

The campaign group Extinction Rebellion marching in Keynsham last year against Bristol Airport’s expansion

A public inquiry will get under way next week into Bristol Airport’s appeal against North Somerset Council’s decision to refuse major expansion plans.

In 2019, Bristol Airport submitted plans to expand from 10 to 12 million passengers per year which would see 97,000 flights arriving and departing the airport a year (23,800 flights more than in 2017) and increased night flights during the summer.

The plans included extensions to the terminal, enhancements to airside infrastructure, more parking, and improvements to road infrastructure.

The plans were refused on several grounds including that the additional noise, traffic and off-airport car parking would result in adverse environmental impacts on communities; lifting seasonal restrictions on night flights would have serious adverse effects on the health and wellbeing of residents; the proposed increase in passenger numbers would exacerbate climate change; there would be an adverse impact on wildlife habitats; the proposed public transport provision was inadequate and extending the silver zone car park and allowing the seasonal car park to be used year-round was inappropriate development in the Green Belt.

Bristol Airport is appealing the decision that was taken by councillors against the advice of their planning officers. It says the plans to expand capacity 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 to ensure the airport can continue to meet demand for air travel to and from the South West well into the next decade.

The airport recently declared that it would achieve carbon neutrality four years early, reducing the timescale from 2025 to the end of 2021.

The public inquiry is scheduled to begin on Tuesday and is expected to run for approximately 40 sitting days until mid-October in the Town Hall in Weston-super-Mare. Due to space restrictions public access will be limited so the event will be livestreamed on YouTube.

Bristol Airport

Bristol Airport Action Network (BAAN) is a coalition of groups and individuals working to oppose Bristol Airport’s expansion plans and will be represented alongside North Somerset Council and other concerned groups. BAAN says: “Our position is that this airport expansion (and others that are planned across the UK) is not legally compliant with the Climate Change Act, The Paris Agreement and the Government’s commitment to be carbon neutral by 2050 and must be stopped.”

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