Council rejects Bristol Airport application to increase night flights in summer months

After having its expansion plans rejected, the airport applied to change night flight numbers. Credit: ITV West Country

Bath and North East Somerset Council has rejected an application by Bristol Airport to increase the number of night flights.

Currently the airport is allowed 3,000 night flights throughout the summer months and 1,000 in winter.

Bosses applied for 'co-ordinated airport' status which would allow them to move some of their winter allocation to the summer, when demand is higher.

They want to increase the number of night flights to 4,000 throughout the whole year, starting from Summer 2021.

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 airport's expansion proposals were rejected earlier this year. Credit: Bristol 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.

The controversial proposals were rejected on the grounds they were “incompatible” with the council’s declaration of a climate emergency.

Councillor Sarah Warren, cabinet member for Climate Emergency, said in a statement:"Even before coronavirus, increased awareness of the climate emergency looked set to influence travel behaviour and now the pandemic’s impact has made the future of the airline industry uncertain.

Therefore it seems highly unlikely that passenger increases projected by Bristol Airport to reach 12 million passengers per year will be met in 2020 or in the future. We do not believe that Bristol Airport should be permitted to increase its slot allocation on a year-round basis but should remain with its current summer and winter scheduling.

The disadvantages of more night flights would primarily be borne by Bath and North East Somerset and North Somerset residents living in villages and towns close to the airport who would experience more airport traffic.

The other major issue is the increase in pollution and carbon emissions. Approval of this application would lead to the airport having a wider impact on our environment that outweighs any economic benefits."

Councillor Warren also pointed out that more flights could mean more parking problems in towns and villages on the airport bus route.

These include Newbridge, Bath, Corston and Keynsham.

Bristol Airport opened a public consultation on its plans to change flight numbers in February 2020.

It was due to close in April, but has been extended due to the pandemic.

The only airports currently with ‘co-ordinated status’ in the UK are the London ones - Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, London City and Luton - alongside Manchester and Birmingham.

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