William Eichler 20 December 2018

Parish councils protest against airport expansion

A group of parish councils have protested at plans to expand Bristol Airport on the grounds that it will increase traffic and damage the environment.

Bristol Airport has submitted a planning application to North Somerset Council seeking permission to increase capacity so that it can handle up to 12 million passengers a year by the mid-2020s.

The proposed development includes new infrastructure, improvements to existing facilities, and operational changes to ensure the airport can continue to meet demand.

‘Following consultation with the local community, airline customers, passengers and other stakeholders, these plans set out sustainable development to meet demand for air travel to and from the South West and South Wales over the next decade. They will help deliver more routes, destinations and jobs,’ said Dave Lees, chief executive officer at Bristol Airport.

‘These plans are a practical step to ensuring we continue to connect our region to the world, providing a gateway for business, investment and tourists. At the same time, we have sought to minimise and mitigate any impacts on the local community and environment, building on our track record of investment in surface access improvements.’

However, 21 parish councils surrounding the airport have warned the proposed expansion would lead to more traffic and an increase in carbon emissions.

‘Aviation is the fastest growing source of greenhouse gases in the UK,’ said a statement from the Parish Councils Airport Association (PCAA).

‘The planes from Bristol Airport already create more carbon emissions than all the traffic in Bristol. More flights will lead to increased traffic and, taken together, we will see significant increases in carbon emissions.’

The PCAA claimed that the economic argument for the expansion was ‘weak’ because Bristol Airport was a leisure airport with only 17% of all passengers from the business sector.

The campaign group also said the expansion would mean more green belt land was used for car parking spaces. They also warned of an increase in noise pollution.

‘The climate talks in Poland have only just finished and we learnt two things: that we have 12 years in which to reduce carbon emissions and, as David Attenborough stated very clearly, “civilisation will collapse if humanity doesn’t take action on Global Warming,”’ the PCAA statement said.

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