Campaigners to take fight against Bristol Airport expansion to the High Court

Bristol Airport wants to expand its passenger numbers from 10 million a year to 12 million

Campaigners are set to take their fight against Bristol Airport's expansion plans to the High Court after winning a legal battle.

Bristol Airport was given the go-ahead to expand from 10 million passengers a year to 12 million earlier this year after a lengthy planning inquiry.

North Somerset Council rejected the airport's plans to expand, chiefly on environmental grounds.

But the airport appealed and the original decision was overturned by the government's planning inspectorate.

While the council has said it will not fight the airport's expansion further, Bristol Airport Action Network (BAAN) immediately appealed the ruling.

BAAN has been campaigning against the expansion of Bristol Airport for three years. Credit: ITV West Country

Permission has now been given to the campaigners to contest the decision through a Planning Statutory Review.

A two-day hearing will now take place later this year in the High Court, either in Bristol or London.

Stephen Clarke, from BAAN, said he is "delighted" they are now able to take the case to the High Court.

He added: "Many thanks to the thousands of people in the region and beyond who have supported us financially through this three-year battle.

"The idea that airports can just continue to expand without limit in the middle of a climate and ecological crisis is so obviously wrong.

"If Bristol Airport plans are allowed, there are more than 20 other regional airports who will use the precedent to also expand; why should aviation be in the privileged position of expanding without limit while every other sector is being constrained? How can this country ever meet its legal obligations under the Climate Change Act?"

In a statement, a spokesperson for the airport said: “Bristol Airport is aware that permission to proceed to a full hearing has been granted for Bristol Airport Action Network Coordinating Committee's (BAANCC) application for statutory review of the 12 million passengers per annum permission. 

"We await the outcome of the forthcoming hearing in which we continue to defend the grant of the permission by the Planning Inspectorate.”