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Monday, 30th Nov 2020

A million reasons to oppose Bristol Airport expansion

Following new research showing that planes have three times the impact on the climate when total emissions released at height are properly incorporated, Bristol Green councillors are calling on the Bristol Mayor to rethink his support for Bristol Airport. Bristol City Council will debate this on December 8th 2020.

Once the true climate impact of planes are taken into account, Bristol Airport’s expansion plans would emit an additional one million tonnes of CO2 equivalents every year. Campaigners have today launched a petition (www.OneMillionTonnes.com) and #OneMillionTonnes campaign to increase the pressure on local leaders to oppose the airport’s plans.

Bristol Airport was previously refused planning permission for expansion by North Somerset Councillors after a huge outcry from across the region, but the Airport has since said it will appeal this decision.

 Councillor Jerome Thomas who created the petition said:

“The proposed expansion of Bristol airport is the biggest decision for our climate in the Bristol region. Support for expansion of Bristol Airport is utterly incompatible with meeting our climate commitments and addressing the climate emergency we face.”

 “Leadership should be about doing what’s right – both for the communities of today and the generations yet to come. Our Mayors must make good on their climate promises by publicly opposing airport expansion.”

Bristol City Council were the first local authority to declare a Climate Emergency in 2018, pledging that Bristol would become carbon neutral by 2030. The West of England (WECA) followed suit, declaring a climate emergency last year. Despite these commitments, both Bristol’s Mayor, Marvin Rees and the West of England Metro-Mayor, Tim Bowles have formally supported Bristol Airport’s expansion plans.

Green Councillor Carla Denyer, who proposed Bristol’s Climate Emergency motion said:

“At the moment we should be thinking very carefully about every single tonne of CO2 we emit. Expanding Bristol airport would generate a million tonnes of CO2 equivalent every single year – that’s 50% of Bristol’s current carbon emissions. That’s a million reasons to oppose it.”

The petition comes as those campaigning against the airport’s expansion gear up for the second round of resistance against the plans.  

 Green Councillor Stephen Clarke who is a member of Bristol Airport Action Network (BAAN) a network of individuals and organisations which helped to successfully challenge the Airport’s original application said:  

 “Local people are overwhelmingly against the Airport’s plans to expand, but they are being ignored. These plans would completely undo all the hard work towards reducing carbon emissions across the region.”

“Over 20 other local airports across the country also have plans to expand, so Bristol Airport will also be acting as a test case.”

The public enquiry into the Airport’s appeal is due to take place in July 2021, just four months before the UK is due to host the next global round of climate negotiations at COP 26.

Green Councillor Jerome Thomas, concluded:

“I’d like to call on everyone who cares about the climate emergency, everyone who cares about future generations and everyone who cares about Bristol and our surrounding region to sign this petition http://www.tiny.cc/OneMillionTonnes and ask our leaders to speak out against expansion of Bristol airport.”

Notes

Expansion plans:
Bristol Airport previously applied for planning permission to expand, but the application was turned down by North Somerset Councillors in March 2018 - a decision they are now appealing.

The Climate impact:
The EU’s aviation regulator confirmed last week that the aviation sector’s impact on the climate is three times bigger than the effect of its carbon dioxide emissions alone:

The airport has previously been criticised by climate experts for underestimating the climate impact of airport expansion – estimating this at 154kpta CO2e – six times lower than the 920ktpa CO2e calculated once other factors are taken into account. This figure will rise way over 1 million tonnes, once the new multiplier of 3 confirmed in the new EU research is accounted for (the previous 920ktpa CO2e used a multiplier of 1.9). A multiplier is the additional impact that non-CO2 emissions and contrails have on the climate:

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