16 Jul 2009

Stop Bristol Airport's expansion

This week I responded to the planning application by Bristol International Airport (BIA) to expand. Regular blog readers will know I've followed this issue on this blog - we are now getting to crunch time. This development aims to increase passengers by 60% by 2016, increase passenger flights by 40%, summer night flights by 50%, car journeys by over 2m per year, and carbon emissions by at least 40%.

Photo: Banksy cartoon - he also has an exhibition at Bristol Museum which I hope to go to

This will mean more traffic on country roads, more noise day and night, more countryside eaten up by car parking, and more climate changing impacts.

It is argued that expansion will be good for tourism, but between 6 and 10 times as many tourists are outbound rather than inbound, leading to £700m being drained from the UK economy each year. Expansion will make this worse. Recently, the weak pound has caused passenger numbers to drop by 15% or more, but local tourist destinations have seen more visitors than last year.

BIA claim that expansion will create 3500 jobs in the region, but only 900 of these are within the airport and the rest of the jobs appear to be wishful thinking. The outflow of tourism spending destroys far more jobs than this. Even 800 jobs looks high when the expansion is based on no-frills airlines.

Business passengers can already use BIA to reach anywhere in the world through Paris, Amsterdam and Newark. Expansion would not bring any significant change to this, it is targeted at outbound tourists.

We have until 7th August to tell North Somerset council why this expansion is not needed, and why it is bad for the economy as well as the environment.

You can object to the expansion in the following ways:
1) you can visit the campaign website and use the email form www.stopbia.com/objection.php
2) you can email the council yourself at dccomments@n-somerset.gov.uk, refering to planning application number 09/P/1020/OT2, please copy your email to email@stopbia.com
3) write a letter to
Neil Underhay, re: application 09/P/1020/OT2
Development Control, North Somerset Council, Somerset House, Oxford Road, Weston super Mare BS23 1TG

1 comment:

Philip Booth said...

Below are some things the action group have found amongst the 2000 pages of the plan:

We have learnt that BIA are planning to increase their carbon dioxide emissions by 125% despite only having a 60% increase in passengers. This means that by 2020, BIA will have more emissions than the whole of B&NES, and with a climate impact comparable to the whole of Bristol. The rest of the economy is meant to cut emissions by at least 34% (relative to 1990 levels) by the same date.
This also means that BIA are planning a significant increase in long-haul flights, using heavier and probably noisier planes.

BIA think they can mitigate this by putting in some windmills that will generate less than 1% of the site's electricity demand, and some other minor measures that they are compelled to do by law anyway!

They have offered to cap night flights at 4500 per year - but this is 40% more flights than there were in 2008. This shows that there is plenty of opportunity for BIA to increase the number of flights from the average of 11 per night over the summer!

Most of the jobs that they have claimed to be generated by the project (1,974 of 3,500) are jobs in the SW tourism industry through inbound tourists. But they have failed to acknowledge 6 times as many outbound tourists use BIA and the effect this has on removing money from the South West region. The expansion expects to increase outbound tourists more than inbound ones, reaching 69% of all passengers by 2020 versus 12% for inbound.

Only 13% of passengers are on business and this is scheduled to fall to less than 10% of the total.

BIA targets 15% of the passengers to arrive by public transport yet this depends upon an extension for the Bus Rapid Transit scheme which would cost at least £50m. BIA only offer £2m as their contribution to this depsite being the major beneficiary. It is highly unlikely that this extension will ever be built.