The tide is turning against Bristol Airport’s expansion plans. Following a Green Party motion at Bristol Council passed on December 8th last year, two of three of the local councils that make up WECA now oppose airport expansion. Next week a Green councillor will ask Bristol’s Mayor to lobby the West of England Combined Authority to reflect the views of its member councils and change its official stance from being supportive to opposing the plans.
The motion, proposed by Green Councillors Jerome Thomas and Stephen Clarke stated that “Airport expansion is incompatible with the region’s carbon reduction targets and therefore must not go ahead.” It passed with the support of Labour, Green and Lib Dem councillors. Following the rejection of its plans by North Somerset council in March last year, Bristol Airport is currently appealing and a decision rests with a government appointed planning inspector, who will launch a consultation next Monday. At Members Forum at a Council meeting on Tuesday (12th January) Councillor Clarke will ask Bristol’s Labour Mayor to “urgently raise this issue with Mayor Bowles and ensure that a letter is written to the planning inspectorate updating them on the current position (which must be that WECA object to the expansion plans)”.
Councillor Clarke said:
“I was delighted when Bristol City Council finally passed a motion stating clearly that the airport’s expansion plans must not go ahead. If the airport were to win their appeal, despite the strength of feeling from local people, much of Bristol’s good work on reducing carbon emissions would be undone. We now need the combined authority to update their position on this issue, and reflect the majority opinion of the councils that make it up. I will be asking Mayor Rees to lobby WECA Mayor Tim Bowles to write to the planning inspectorate and say clearly that WECA are against the expansion.”
WECA’s current position is one of supporting the airport expansion, but following Bristol Council’s changed position at the recent Council meeting, two of the three councils that make up the authority are now opposed to the project (BANES Council passed a motion opposing the expansion in March 2019).
Question to the Mayor from Councillor Stephen Clarke
Subject: Bristol Airport
I was very pleased to hear the unequivocal statement that members (including the Labour Group) made at Full Council on Dec 8th 2020 on Bristol Airport’s expansion plans. The relevant part of the agreed motion reads: ‘Full Council acknowledges that the airport expansion is incompatible with the region’s carbon reduction targets and therefore must not go ahead’.
However, the Mayor will know that the current stated position of WECA (as outlined in a letter from them to the North Somerset Planning Portal sent in 2019) is that WECA supports the expansion.
As two out of the three constituent authorities of WECA (BANES and Bristol City Council) are now against the planned expansion, can the Mayor please urgently raise this issue with Mayor Bowles and ensure that a letter is written to the planning inspectorate updating them on the current position (which must be that WECA object to the expansion plans)?