…and misleading ‘greenwashing’ needs to be challenged
Bristol Airport’s Master Plan Consultation (open until 6th July - link) announces an aspiration to be carbon neutral by 2030. This is despite a plan to grow by 50% in the next few years, and to more than double in size in the longer term. But a small amount of digging by a Green Party councillor has revealed that the airport has no plan in place for delivering this rapid decarbonisation. And more shockingly, it does not include the emissions from flights in the calculation of its carbon footprint.
After reading the consultation document, Councillor Carla Denyer contacted the Bristol Airport consultation team to ask for details of their carbon management plan. The responses she received (see Appendix_-_Airport_emails.pdf) revealed that the airport only has a ‘Stage 1’ Airport Carbon Accreditation, meaning that the airport has not yet demonstrated that it is taking steps to reduce its carbon footprint, only that is it measuring it. And while insisting that it had one, the airport was unwilling to release a copy of its carbon management plan despite two requests. The Airport representative also explained that “emissions from flights are out of scope” of their 2030 carbon neutrality target.
Councillor Denyer commented following the revelation,
“In the Airport’s glossy consultation booklet, the aspiration to be carbon neutral by 2030 is printed next to a photograph of an aircraft engine, (below) clearly implying that emissions from flights would be included. This kind of misleading ‘greenwashing’ is just cynical PR from the airport and does nothing for the sustainability of our city and country. There is already widespread concern that the expansion of Heathrow Airport, which was approved by MPs last week, will make it very hard to meet our national CO2 commitments . Expanding Bristol airport could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. It is very hard to see how the airport could achieve carbon neutrality in 12 years without yet having a road map for it, while expanding the airport at the same time.”
The City of Bristol has made a commitment to be carbon neutral by 2050, while the Climate Change Act requires the UK to make an 80% cut in emissions. And the Joint Spatial Plan for the region – which includes North Somerset and the geographical area covered by the airport – contains an explicit commitment to making a 50% cut in emissions by 2036.
Air travel remains the most climate-damaging form of travel, and significant expansion of air travel will therefore have a significant climate impact.
And this is an equality issue as well as an environmental one. According to the Civil Aviation Authority’s passenger surveys, 47% of the UK population has flown in the last year, and this figure has been stable over the last 15 years. Most of those people only make one or two trips per year, while 10% of the population makes about 60% of all flights, and these people are mainly from the highest income groups.  This means that airport expansion disproportionally benefits wealthier households while it negatively affects us all through climate change, air pollution and noise pollution.
Councillor Denyer summed up,
“Without a clear and feasible path to decarbonisation, the airport’s plans are worth less than the paper they’re written on. It is up to us as citizens to tell the airport and political leaders that we will not accept such a cavalier attitude to carbon emissions, and the airport must develop a workable road map to full decarbonisation before the expansion plans are agreed. The consequences are no less than the future liveability of our planet.”
The consultation is open until 6th July at https://www.bristolairport.co.uk/future and you can write to the leaders of North Somerset and Bristol Councils, and the West of England Combined Authority, using the details below:
- Councillor Nigel Ashton, leader of North Somerset Council: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Mayor Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol: https://www.bristol.gov.uk/mayor/contact-the-mayor-form
- Mayor Tim Bowles, West of England Regional Mayor: email@example.com
1) The Committee on Climate Change found that the UK target of reducing emissions by 80 per cent below 1990 levels could be achieved only if emissions from the UK aviation industry do not exceed 37.5 million tons – the level seen in 2005. And yet, a report released by the Department for Transport has already revealed that aviation emissions will hit 43 million tons by 2030 if the Heathrow expansion goes ahead. https://www.independent.co.uk/infact/heathrow-airport-expansion-vote-third-runway-climate-change-chris-grayling-a8415881.html
2) Calculated by David Banister based on the National Travel Survey data and the Civil Aviation Authority’s Air Passenger Surveys: https://theconversation.com/heathrows-third-runway-is-expensive-polluting-and-unequal-why-the-poor-will-lose-out-98781
Council passes Green motion to ‘reboot democracy’ with Citizens' Assemblies
At Full Council today (14 January) a Green Party motion passed to ‘reboot democracy’, committing Bristol to trialling participatory democracy schemes such as citizens’ assemblies.
Mayor continues to support airport expansion
Despite growing pressure from climate activists, local councils and Greens, Bristol’s Labour Mayor Marvin Rees continues to back the expansion of Bristol Airport, a development Greens say is incompatible with Bristol's own carbon neutrality targets.
'Reboot democracy' with Citizens' Assemblies
Green Councillors in Bristol have proposed putting decision making on some major issues in the hands of ordinary Bristolians through ‘Citizens’ Assemblies’ and other forms of participatory democracy.
Bristol Labour block opportunity to oppose airport expansion
Labour and Tory councillors voted against providing time to debate the Green motion in what could be the last chance for the council to make a statement before the planning decision at North Somerset Council.
Rescuing Our Healthcare - with £6 billion per year
We will push the government to prioritise the health and happiness of those in Bristol and across the UK.
Green Party Manifesto - to tackle Climate Emergency and deliver Social Justice.
A Green New Deal to tackle the Climate Emergency and deliver Social Justice.
One year on from declaring a Climate Emergency – is Bristol on track?
One year after declaring a Climate Emergency in Bristol, Greens say new information from environmental group shows the city needs to radically step up action to meet climate targets.
Green candidate Carla Denyer will be only ‘Unite to Remain’ candidate in Bristol West
Greens bid to win Bristol West – launch crowdfunder
Candidate Carla Denyer has launched a crowdfunder campaign aiming to raise enough funds to take the seat from Labour. Greens in strong position to win after Euro results place them ahead of Lib Dems, and Labour suffered devastating electoral defeat.
‘Tinkering around the edges is no longer good enough’ say Greens
Green Mayoral Candidate Sandy Hore-Ruthven responds to the Mayor’s State of the City address saying Bristol needs action not words. Greens say bold, immediate moves are needed to combat the social and environmental crises.
Report on former Chief Exec payoff
Green Councillor Clive Stevens has completed a report into why the Council made a £98,000 payoff to former chief executive Anna Klonowski
Greens send letter to the city to encourage all to hear Extinction Rebellion warning
Green MP and Mayoral candidates Carla Denyer and Sandy Hore-Ruthven have issued a letter to the people of Bristol today, calling on the city to face up to the climate crisis.
Better buses starts with tackling congestion, say Greens
At a Cabinet meeting today (1 October), Greens called for bolder action to improve public transport in Bristol.
Mayor misses third government deadline on Clean Air plan
Today Bristol City Council has missed the third deadline set by national government to submit a plan to clean up Bristol’s air. Green Mayoral candidate Sandy Hore-Ruthven has called for immediate action.
Nearly 1 year after Climate Emergency declared, progress is too slow, say Greens
The Green Councillor who launched Bristol’s ‘Climate Emergency’ motion in November 2018 has called on councillors from all parties to join her in pressing the administration for urgent action.
Green Party sets sights on second Westminster seat – Bristol West
Bristol West MP candidate Carla Denyer launched her campaign at the Bristol climate strike. Her climate emergency declaration was the first in Europe – driving action on climate change across the continent. Greens aim to elect a second MP to join Caroline Lucas in Westminster after European Elections win.
Green Party chooses Climate Emergency campaigner Carla Denyer to win Bristol West parliamentary seat
Former wind turbine engineer and current city councillor, Carla Denyer, has been picked to contest the winnable seat of Bristol West for the Green Party at the coming General Election.
Labour Mayor refuses to back Climate Strike
Bristol’s Labour Mayor has refused to support Council workers taking part in what could be the world’s biggest ever Climate Strike on 20th September, after a Green Councillor asked him to do so at a Council meeting.
Labour vote down Green policies in ‘Green New Deal’
Green Councillors accused the Mayor of substituting empty words for climate action this evening (10 Sep. 19), at a Full Council meeting where Labour proposed a ‘Green New Deal’ motion but rejected a Green amendment to add practical policy commitments to it.
Environmental Lawyers put Bristol Council ‘On Notice’ over climate inaction
Lawyers from leading environmental law charity ClientEarth have put Bristol City Council “on notice” over its lack of proper climate change plans, giving them eight weeks to explain how planning policy will incorporate carbon reduction targets.
Green ‘Climate Emergency’ councillor calls on Mayor to support Climate Strikers
At a council meeting this evening Carla Denyer, the Green Party Councillor who initiated Bristol's declaration of a Climate Emergency, will ask Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees if he will support Council workers taking time off to join the Global Climate Strike of September 20.
Job Advert: Campaign Manager wanted
Could you work for Bristol Green Party? We're currently recruiting for a paid Campaign Manager to work on the Green Party Mayoral 2020 Campaign.
Government steps up legal threat to Bristol Mayor over air quality failures
Greens respond to a letter sent to Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees from the Government’s Minister for Air Quality, which has highlighted once again that Bristol’s current action on air quality is too slow, engagement inadequate, and that options being consulted on currently may not meet minimum standards.
Former Green Lord Mayor joins reparations protest outside Downing Street
Green Councillor Cleo Lake joined the 'Stop the Maangamizi' protest march in London on 1st August and protested outside Number 10 Downing Street, demanding the UK government compensate the people and nations affected by the Trans Atlantic slave trade.
Nine years for breathable air 'not good enough’ - tell the Mayor we need stronger proposals
Green Councillors have called on Bristolians to respond ‘none of the above’ to the council’s clean air consultation, and demanded the Mayor consider new ideas to improve air quality as fast as possible, as well as longer term changes to reduce private car use.
Greens call for action to follow words as WECA declares Climate Emergency
Following lobbying by Green councillors the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) has finally passed a motion declaring a ‘Climate Emergency’
Labour and Conservatives vote against action on fossil fuel divestment
Green councillors in Bristol last night charged Labour and Conservatives with ignoring the Climate Emergency, as they voted together to amend a Green Party motion calling for fossil fuel divestment, rendering it ineffective.
“We can’t afford to wait any longer” – Greens respond to Council’s Climate Emergency report
With Extinction Rebellion actions hitting headlines in cities across the UK, Green Party councillors in Bristol last night called on the Labour Mayor and council to show greater urgency in tackling climate change.
Greens say Mayor’s climate plan lacks ideas and emergency
Bristol Green Party has welcomed the Mayor’s new plan to address the Climate Emergency, but says that the plan lacks substance or the urgent action needed to address this pressing issue.
Bristol Councillor who kicked off UK Climate Emergency to represent city at climate event
Carla Denyer, the Green Councillor from Bristol who proposed the first Climate Emergency motion in the UK in November 2018, will be taking part in a ‘high level roundtable’ as part of London’s Climate Action Week.