North Somerset Council has rejected a planning application to expand Bristol Airport due to concerns over its impact on the environment.
Councillors voted 18 in support of a motion calling on members to refuse the application and seven voted against. There was one abstention.
Leader of the council Don Davies said that the ‘detrimental effect’ of expansion on the local area and the ‘wider impact on the environment’ outweighs the ‘narrower benefits to airport expansion.’
He also argued that the airport could take an extra two million passengers at its current size.
‘The airport currently handles just over eight million passengers and can still expand to the 10 million passengers a year limit it already has, so more people will still be able to fly from there and the number of people who work there should not be affected,’ he said.
The refusal of the planning permission is against the officers’ recommendation and so the decision will be held over until a future meeting of the Planning and Regulatory Committee for it to be ratified.
If the decision is ratified, the applicant will have six months to lodge an appeal which would then be heard at a public inquiry.
‘I know some people will be upset by this decision and I am sure that we can reconsider it in future when the airline industry has decarbonised and the public transport links to the airport are far stronger,’ Cllr Davies added.
A spokesperson for Bristol Airport said they were 'disappointed' by the decision.
'This decision risks putting the brakes on the region’s economy by turning away airlines who want to serve the South West market, shutting the door to international trade and tourism at a time when the UK needs to show it is open for business,' they said.
'By preventing Bristol Airport from meeting demand for air travel from within the region it serves, the council will simply exacerbate the situation which already sees millions of passengers a year from our region drive to London airports in order to fly, creating carbon emissions and congestion in the process.'