'Devastated' protesters gather in city centre to oppose Bristol Airport expansion

  • Stephen Clarke from Bristol Airport Action Network speaks to ITV News

Campaigners have gathered in Bristol to protest against the expansion of the city's airport.

Bristol Airport Action Network (BANN) organised the demonstration on College Green following the Planning Inspectorate's decision to allow Bristol Airport to expand.

The plans will see the airport's capacity increase from 10 million passengers to 12 million passengers a year.

Stephen Clarke from Bristol Airport Action Network (BANN) said the decision had "ignored local democracy".

"None of the local people wanted this to happen", he said.

"None of the local councils, none of the 11,000 people who protested against the planning portal wanted this. All of that has been ignored.

"The Government's Inspectorate has overturned the local decision and completely ignored and trashed local democracy."

Tarisha Finnegan-Clarke, another member of BANN said: "We feel we need an opportunity for people who have had their hopes for a sustainable planet dashed by the decision to come together in a show of solidarity.

"It's a chance to regroup and commit ourselves to the next stage of opposition to Bristol Airport's plans to expand.

"We might be devastated but we are far from feeling deflated. This horrendous decision can be and needs to be reversed because we cannot reverse the damage it will do to the local community and the environment if it goes ahead."

Campaigners say they want to see the decision reversed.

North Somerset Council rejected the proposals in February 2020, despite its own officers saying they should be recommended for approval.

But Bristol Airport's subsequent appeal to the planning inspectorate was successful.

A spokesperson from Bristol Airport said the decision followed consultation with local communities and stakeholders.

"We have listened to local views and accept the challenge of climate change and have made significant changes to our business, which includes solar power, renewable energy and many more initiatives", they said.

"We achieved carbon neutrality status in 2021 and commit to net zero airport operations by 2030. 

An impression of what the expansion could look like Credit: Bristol Airport

"Collaborative partnerships with airlines and key stakeholders introducing innovative sustainability solutions ensures that Bristol Airport provides continued access to global connections and it need not be at the expense of our planet’s future.

“Developing Bristol Airport in a sustainable way will enable more people from the South West to ‘fly local’, reducing the number of road journeys to and from London airports - numbering 8 million a year pre-pandemic.

"The development of Bristol Airport will ensure we can continue to fulfil the vital role of being an international gateway to the region, delivering jobs, tourism and investment which all contributes to the region’s economy.”

Bristol Youth Strike 4 Climate

Bristol Youth Strike 4 Climate activists say the government is not acting fast enough to save the planet.

Elsewhere in Bristol, youth climate activists 'swarmed' the streets with temporary road blocks.

'Swarming' is when a group of people temporarily block a road in seven minutes episodes.

The main demands of Bristol Youth Strike 4 Climate (BYS4C) are to stop fossil fuel extraction, free public transport and to work towards ensuring homes are insulated to be low energy.

BYS4C activist Torin Menzies, 17, said: "We cannot continue to accept the role that the destructive oil industry plays in our society.

"As young people, the future of our generation and our planet is on the line, yet politicians are failing to act.

"That's why we are taking action in Bristol as part of mobilisation efforts across the country to build an unstoppable youth climate movement."