Below is a press release from Bristol Airport Action Network on the historic decision last night by North Somerset Councillors to reject Bristol Airport's plans to expand.
Green Councillor for Southville Steve Clarke was part of the campaign against the Airport's plans working with councillors and groups across the region. He said:
"This is a fantastic result of hard work and real co-operation amongst campaigners and residents. It is a real ‘David and Goliath’ story as, on the one side is a £200 billion Canadian pension fund who own the airport, and on the other is a crowd-funded campaign and lots of hard work by ordinary but committed people."
Press release: Bristol Airport: Response to North Somerset Council Planning Committee’s rejection of the expansion of Bristol Airport.
Environmental campaigners and local residents were delighted at the decision of the North Somerset Planning and Regulatory Committee to turn down Bristol Airport’s plans to expand to 12 million passengers a year. This would have involved over 20,000 extra flights, severe road congestion, damaging noise pollution and massive extra amounts of carbon being emitted into the atmosphere.
At a tense meeting held at Weston Town Hall on Monday night (10th February), the 27 decision-making councillors heard from a variety of environmental and legal experts and decided that to agree to the expansion of the airport was completely incompatible with their recent declaration of a Climate Emergency. Many members of the local community spoke clearly and emotionally against the expansion plans and their strong opinions, together with the nearly 9000 written objections on the planning website, convinced the councillors to reject the application despite their officers having recently recommending acceptance.
There were noisy celebrations at the end of the meeting and Tarisha Finnegan-Clarke, co-ordinator of Bristol Airport Action Network (BAAN), one of the key campaigning organisations in this campaign said:
‘I ask Bristol Airport to accept the result and not appeal against it. 83% of North Somerset residents who commented have objected to the expansion and the planning committee has thrown out the application. Be respectful of the democratic process and do not appeal.
‘Many people involved in BAAN, local Extinction Rebellion groups, Parish Councils and other local groups have been working incredibly hard to achieve this result for over a year now. I am so pleased that the local councillors have listened to the community and rejected this application’.
This decision is likely to send shock-waves through the aviation industry in the UK as it may make it much more difficult for the many other airports who are currently applying to expand their passenger numbers before more difficult carbon targets are imposed on them by the Government.
Stephen Clarke, member of BAAN and a Green Party Councillor in Bristol said: ‘This is a fantastic result of hard work and real co-operation amongst campaigners and residents. It is a real ‘David and Goliath’ story as, on the one side is a £200 billion Canadian pension fund who own the airport, and on the other is a crowd-funded campaign and lots of hard work by ordinary but committed people.’
Richard Baxter also a key member of BAAN said:
"From the beginning of our campaigning we aimed to tell the truth and as a result thousands of people living in local communities clearly reject Bristol airport's plans. It is wonderful that the majority of councillors of the Planning Committee have listened. Local democracy is the winner here as well as the local and global environment."