1 Jun 2010

Bristol airport - expansion must be stopped

I reported the latest campaign to halt the massive growth of Bristol Airport here - North Somerset Council has sadly approved Bristol Airport’s planning application. This is despite really strong evidence in opposition to the application - however North Somerset councillors chose to ignore this, the 5,000 plus objections, opposition by both Bristol and B&NES councils, and the real impacts of the airport’s expansion on local communities and the wider environment.

There is no question that this is open to be challenged - there is not even a current valid policy on which this decision was based.

The excellent Stop Bristol Airport Expansion campaign say there are two things you could do that would really help. The first is they may need to build a war-chest to help fund a legal challenge. Any sum will help. The easiest way to do this is through the Paypal donation link on their website www.stopbia.com. You can also pay by cheque, made payable to “SBAE” and posted to Stop Bristol Airport Expansion, The Hub Bristol, 3rd Floor,Bush House,72 Prince Street,Bristol BS1 4QD.

The second action is to push for the application to be called-in.

The application will now be referred to the Secretary of State due to the impacts on the green belt and climate change. He can either allow the council to go ahead and issue its decision or ‘call in’ the application and have a public inquiry. The campaign are pushing hard for a ‘call-in’ and again urgently ask for your help.

Please write to Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government at: picklese(at)parliament.uk, copied to David Jones, Planning Manager (Dorset & West of England),GOSW Planning & Housing Delivery Team at: david.jones(at)gosw.gsi.gov.uk

Here is my letter based on the campaign group's info:

I am writing to let you know that I support the request by North Somerset Council for a call in due to the scale of the development within the Green Belt. Bristol airport plan to build a car park of 12.3 hectares/acres that will also be highly visible from the Mendip Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. However I am even more concerned about the air[port's impact on climate change. I fully support the request for the Secretary of State to exercise his call in powers due to issues related to the national interest: specifically Climate Change, which North Somerset Council has not yet considered in full in relation to the recent Heathrow Court Ruling.

The decision taken by North Somerset has also omitted to take into consideration findings from the Committee on Climate Change and the true price of carbon. In March the High Court ruled that plans to build a third runway at London’s Heathrow airport must include issues relating to Climate change. Bristol Airport’s expansion plans are based on the same out-of-date 2003 Air Transport White Paper used to justify Heathrow’s third runway. However the High Court ruling showed that the Air Transport White Paper is no longer sufficient grounds to support expansion.

I believe that North Somerset Council has made a flawed decision based on the outdated 2003 Air Transport White Paper and the draft Regional Spatial Strategy which is no longer in use.

Furthermore I request that there should be a moratorium on airport expansion until new policy developments on aviation are in place. These policies should take account of the latest findings on climate change and noise and health guidance from the World Health Organisation. The tourism deficit should also be included as a cost to the UK caused by aviation. There is so much conflicting evidence within policies surrounding airport expansion, there is no alternative but to call in this application.

The 2003 Air Transport White Paper has always been considered a flawed document, we need a new and policy that really works to deliver integrated transport within carbon budgets. This is an opportunity for the new Government to bring some sanity to this issue.

I urge you to ‘call in’ the Bristol Airport planning application. Indeed I can see you have no other option.

Yours faithfully,

Cllr. Philip Booth,
Stroud District councillor for the Randwick, Whiteshill and Ruscombe ward

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