Airport given legal go ahead to push ahead with ambitious expansion plans

Bristol Airport

Bristol Airport was today told it can press ahead with expansion plans which will see passenger numbers increase by two million each year.

The High Court has dismissed the legal challenge brought against the Planning Inspectorate’s permission for Bristol Airport’s expanded capacity.

The High Court challenge is the latest stage in the ongoing campaign to stop Bristol Airport from expanding.

Pressure group BAAN opposed Bristol Airport’s original planning application in December 2018 and has resisted the expansion plans ever since.

Last February the Planning Inspectorate decided to allow Bristol Airport to increase its cap on passengers from 10 million passengers each year to 12 million.

The Airport’s expansion plans include major investment in the terminal building, parking facilities, and public transport links.

This decision was challenged in the High Court but dismissed by the judge who heard the case.

Dave Lees, chief executive of Bristol Airport, said: “Bristol Airport welcomes the High Court Judge’s decision to dismiss the claim and uphold the planning permission to increase Bristol Airport’s capacity from 10 million to 12 million passengers per annum.

“The decision is excellent news for our region’s economy, allowing us to create up to 5,000 new jobs, deliver more international destinations for the South West and South Wales, and invest hundreds of millions of pounds improving the customer experience.

“We will do this while working towards our ambitious target of net zero carbon operations by 2030. We look forward to working with stakeholders and the community to deliver our vision to be everyone’s favourite airport.”

Expanded capacity will add 800 jobs at Bristol Airport and up to a further 5,000 regionally, adding an estimated £430m to the South West’s economy.

Bristol Airport made the fastest recovery from the pandemic of any major UK airport and is anticipating a busy 2023.

Expanded capacity will allow the Airport to explore new direct links to Europe and further afield. As well as providing economic links for our region, new routes will remove some of the millions of car journeys made from the South West and South Wales to London airports each year.

Bristol Airport will now push ahead with its multi-million-pound plans for net zero operations by 2030, alongside its work with partners in the region to accelerate the development of zero emission flight.

Stephen Clarke from BAAN said: “The government has policies in place which are designed to encourage the growth of airports and the number of people wanting to fly.

“This shows a total disregard for the climate emergency we are in.”

Carla Denyer, leader of the Green Party said: “Bristol airport’s unnecessary expansion will mean thousands of extra flights which will produce one million tonnes of CO2 equivalents every year, right at the point we most need to be reducing our emissions.

“Not to mention more traffic, noise and air pollution for local people, and it will risk harming endangered local species. All this in face of clear local opposition.

“In the real world, there is no such thing as green aviation or carbon-neutral jet fuel. We must listen to the scientists, not the airports.”

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