Fury over Bristol airport expansion decision

MPs and campaign groups questioned the environmental implications of the expansion

Big Zero Report 2022

Plans to expand Bristol Airport‘s capacity to 12 million passengers a year have been greenlit by the independent Planning Inspectorate.

The expansion will allow the airport not only to increase its capacity but add thousands more parking spaces.

Although the airport’s officials and business groups welcomed the decision, others branded it “devastating”.

Carla Denyer, Bristol Councillor and Co-Leader of the Green Party, said: “Allowing Bristol Airport to expand – more than doubling its capacity – is an outrageous decision that is totally incompatible with the climate emergency.

Aviation, especially the frequent flights taken by a wealthy minority, is one of the fastest growing sources of carbon emissions and causes incredible amounts of pollution both globally and locally in Bristol and North Somerset.

Dr Liam Fox, MP for North Somerset said: “I am hugely disappointed that the three inspectors have allowed this appeal.

“Whatever the arguments around regional airports, in general, the local transport infrastructure around Bristol Airport cannot sustain this amount of passenger traffic without substantially impacting the quality of life in many of our towns and villages.”

Independent scientific body Climate Crisis Advisory Group responded to the approved plans to expand the airport: “It is impossible to reconcile a decision like this with the reality the world is facing.

“We are building for a future that we won’t get to experience; it just won’t exist unless we face up to the fundamental changes required to reach net zero and beyond.”

Dave Lees, Chief Executive Officer of Bristol Airport, said: “The decision is excellent news for our region’s economy, allowing us to create thousands of new jobs in the years ahead and provide more choice for our customers, supporting inbound tourism and reducing the millions of road journeys made to London airports each year.”

John Mayer, Somerset Area Lead for the Federation of Small Businesses, said: “At a time when being open for business has never been more important, supporting the sustainable growth of our regional gateway sends a strong signal that our region will continue to welcome trade, tourism, and investment from overseas to the benefit of SME owners.”

Kathryn Davis, Director of Tourism for Visit West, commented: “The visitor economy is of huge importance to our region, worth more than £2.33 billion, supporting around 45,000 jobs and welcoming more than 1m visiting from overseas before the pandemic hit.”

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