Bristol Airport expansion: Just days left to comment on plans

An image of what Bristol Airport could look like if its expansion plans are accepted. Credit: Bristol Airport

Members of the public have a final opportunity to comment on Bristol Airport's appeal to allow its expansion plans to go ahead.

The airport wants to overturn a decision by North Somerset Council not to approve plans to expand its capacity from 10 million passengers a year to 12 million.

Its appeal is due to be heard by an independent planning inspector in a public inquiry in the summer.

Protesters want the West of England Combined Authority (Weca) to reverse its position backing the controversial plans because two of its three constituent local authorities have publicly opposed it.

Bristol and Bath & North East Somerset councils have rejected the idea, with the latter lodging a formal objection in 2019 to the application to increase the capacity to 12 million passengers per year.

Airport bosses want to increase passenger numbers from 8.6 million a year to 12 million by 2026. Credit: Bristol Airport

Bristol City Council made a U-turn in December 2020 when full council passed a motion opposing the development after initially expressing support for the redevelopment.

The council eventually reversed its decision after it decided the expansion was "incompatible" with the region’s carbon goals and "must not go ahead."

Councillor Stephen Clarke, who represents Bristol Green Party, said: "Weca needs to reflect the views of its members.

"BANES and Bristol are now officially against the expansion plans so Weca must be as well.

It is very clear that there is very little support for the airport’s absurd plans in the region as we all work hard to do something about the climate and ecological crisis.

Cllr Stephen Clarke, Bristol Green Party

South Gloucestershire Council and Weca are currently in favour of the expansion, with the area supporting thousands of aviation jobs, including industry giants Airbus and Rolls Royce.

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

North Somerset Council planning committee rejected the proposals last February, and the authority’s leader, Councillor Don Davies, claimed to "robustly defend" the decision when the airport’s appeal against refusal is heard at a public inquiry in the summer.

Jackie Head, one of the public speakers, told the committee: "You have a moral duty to represent the members of Weca.

"Among your ranks now there are more people against the airport than for it.

"I am calling on you as Weca to use any methods you can – the emergency powers of Covid if need be – to reverse your decision, to comment on the consultation that is now in place, in order to represent truly your area."

Comments should be submitted before Monday.

Credit: Adam Postans, Local Democracy Reporting Service

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