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Campfire Voice - 11 Jan 2019


Bristol airport is trying to expand accommodating 20 million passengers by 2040. Extinction Rebellion suggests that "this is a reckless decision which is NOT congruent with the action necessary to safeguard our common future. The Planning permission is seeking approval and there is currently an open consultation. We have made a guide of how to object and need your help in sharing it far and wide. You only have until the 26th of January. "

Their guidelines :

Bristol airport is cheekily located in North Somerset Council area. This means that all public comments need to be added on their site. Here is a step by step guide for navigating the world of Local Government.

  1. Follow this link to their website

  2. Click “Search for an application”

  3. Enter the reference number  18/P/5118/OUT into the search bar and click search

  4. Click the tab labeled Comments

  5. Scroll Down and add your Details, Fill in all fields with an asterix.

  6. Select whatever reasons for commenting you feel are appropriate

  7. Add any personal comments you have for disagreeing with the airport expansion

  8. Here are suggested comments that cover several reasons why this Airport must not be allowed to grow in size and traffic.

The application is for growth to 12 million passengers per annum, phase 1 of growth to 20 mppa. This is a 50% increase from 2017 when Bristol Airport reached 8 mppa and will mean a throughput 97,373 aircraft movements in a 12 month calendar period, a flight almost every three minutes. All tranquillity will be lost during the day and the airport wants more flights in the summer months.

There will be a further extension to the ‘Silver Zone’ car park of approximately 2,700 additional spaces for all-year-round use, in the green belt under 2 km from the Special Area of Conservation (SAC). The SAC is home to the protected species of the Greaer and Lesser Horsehoe Bat.

With a growth of 50% from 2017 it inevitably means that there will be major congestion on the A38 spilling over to the A370 and on to rural roads through rural villages.


Climate Change - Carbon and Other Greenhouse Gas Emissions

In 2017 aviation carbon emissions at Bristol Airport was 746.77 (ktCO2/yr) and in 2026 will be 1,183.87 (ktCO2/yr) an increase of 59%. This figure could well be higher if the modern, less-noisy fleet of aircraft does not materialise. (REF: Environmental Statement volume 1, Ch 17 of the Bristol Airport planning application 18/P/5118/OUT at North Somerset Council)

In 2017 the current baseline figures for vehicle emissions were 184.45 (ktCO2/yr)

In 2026 the future baseline figures for vehicle emissions is 214.23.  This is an increase of 16% in the annual level of vehicle emissions. (REF: Environmental Statement volume 1, Ch 17 of the Bristol Airport planning application 18/P/5118/OUT at North Somerset Council)



Who is going to bear the cost of the very few infrastructure improvements close to the airport entrance?  The 'polluters pays' principle is the commonly accepted practice that those who produce pollution should bear the costs of managing it to prevent damage to human health or the environment. Bristol Airport should pay.

No rail link, no dual carriage way and public transport is only used by 12.5 % of passengers in 2017.  This means more than 87.5% of passengers travel by car to and from the vehicle which means more carbon emissions and lower standards of air quality. The aim is at 12 mppa to reach 15% of all passengers using public transport.

Result gridlock and more congestion.

The current road access struggles at peak times at the moment and nothing in the airports proposals will really improve things when faced with the prospect of 12+ million passengers a year which is a 50% increase since 2017 when passengers were at 8 million.

The airport’s strategy is one of ‘business as usual’ aimed at retaining high levels of car travel to fuel the airport’s significant reliance and near monopoly on revenue from parking.  

The Bristol Airport low cost car parking is in direct conflict with and undermines the use of public transport. Public transport was only at 12.5% in 2017 and is expected to be 15% at 10 mppa and no better at 12 mppa. This underscores the lack of ambition by the airport as it is in their interests to retain heavy car usage.

The airport is disingenuous in marshalling an argument in favour of attracting people from Devon and Cornwall whilst also reversing the argument in seeking to reduce road travel to Heathrow.  If road travel to an airport is a big issue, development should be encouraged at Exeter, Newquay and Cardiff.


Air Transport Movements

There is to be a flight every three minutes and more flights in the summer months.  There will be no respite from noise day or night and the countryside will lose its tranquillity.

There should be a move to reduce night time flying or at least maintain the current limits and not allow more flights in the summer months when residents want to sleep with their windows open.

Night time flying leads to sleep disturbance which causes heart illnesses and stress.


Green Belt

Major impacts on greenbelt land to the south impacts on the rural landscape. The greenbelt is there for a reason. There will be over 6,350 low cost car parking spaces on the green belt if this development goes a head which impact on the protected species the Greater and Lesser Horseshoe Bat.

The Silver Zone Extension Car Parks  phases 1 and 2 will have a total of 6,350 cars located in an environmentally sensitive area Unless the low cost car parking strategy is abandoned, the airport will gradually consume more and more land for car parking rather than construct Multi Storey Car Parkss as passenger numbers grow to 20 mppa.

The current owners of the airport bought the business knowing that access is poor and that it is surrounded by Green Belt land.  They have no special rights to develop into the Green Belt and NSC must be even-handed when they grant the airport use of this land but restrict other land owners, even when both parties wish to use it for car parking.

The airport continues to pursue a low-cost car parking strategy that is clearly in conflict with NSC and national policies: on reducing use of private cars; on encouraging use of public transport; on reducing carbon emissions; on use of the Green Belt; on safeguards for biodiversity; and others.  There is no evidence of a comprehensive assessment of this strategy that includes the negative externalities and that seeks to validate a balance between economic and environmental considerations.

The new administration block is in the green belt by through use of permitted development regulations despite it being a blot on the landscape and affecting the ‘openness of the greenbelt’ close to the A38.  Yet the airport claim that a MSCP can’t be built close to the administration block or hidden behind the hangar as it would compromise the ‘openness of the green belt’. The airport goes on to claim, however, that a low-cost car park can be constructed in the green belt which creates immense environmental harm.  This biased argument must not be allowed to prevail.


Biodiversity – Greater and Lesser Horseshoe Bat


Biodiversity mitigation of the Silver Zone Extension of the car parks phase 1 and phase 2 is inadequate and cannot replace the foraging required for the Greater and Lesser Horseshoe Bat.

There is double counting of some of the mitigation expected to offset biodiversity loss. Mitigation not yet completed for 10 mppa is proposed as future mitigation for growth from 10 to 12 mppa. This does not therefore constitute net mitigation provision for this planning application.

A further 5.1 hectares of green belt is required for low cost car parking on the south side where the Greater and Lesser Horseshoe Bats forage.

The Silver Zone extensions 1 and 2  are under 2 km from the Special Area of Conservation for the Greater and Lesser Horseshoe Bat. These bats are light-averse.  And light attracts insects so there is not only a loss of foraging through the removal of a habitat but the attraction of light denudes neighbouring areas of insects.

The Multi Storey Car Park Phase 3 is for 2,150 car parking spaces which will occupy a footprint of around 1.12 hectares and on the north side of the airport. Whilst the Silver Zone Extension Phase 2  is for 2,700 car parking spaces which will occupy a site of approximately 5.1 hectares and will be environmentally harmful and is in the green belt.



Climate Change

Bristol Airport is a major contributor towards global warming through increased vehicle movement to and from the airport and aircraft movements. Extra green house gas release will accelerate the world towards breaking the 2 degree Paris agreement. We have 12 years to avoid climate catastrophe.

The Bristol Airport planning application states that in 2017 baseline figure for vehicle emissions is 184.45 (ktCO2/yr). In 2026 the future baseline figures for vehicle emissions is 214.23.  This is an increase of 16% in the annual level of vehicle emissions.

Local Authorities in the West of England have adopted targets that are in line with or more ambitious than the national targets in the Climate Change Act. Taken in total, these targets require carbon emissions in the West of England to be reduced by 50% by 2035 and by 83% by 2050 on a 2014 baseline. How is this going to be achieved when there is an increase of 16% in the annual level of vehicle emissions.

The West of England’s intention is to incorporate sustainable transportation and surface access measures in particular which minimise use of the private car, maximise the use of sustainable transport modes and seek to meet modal shift targets.

Public transport to and from Bristol Airport was only at 12.5% in 2017 and is expected to be 15% at 10 mppa and no better at 12 mppa.

In 2017 aviation carbon emissions at Bristol Airport were 746.77 (ktCO2/yr) and in 2026 they will be 1,183.87 (ktCO2/yr) an increase of 59%.




satkartar Kennedy

I think we need more airport expansion like we need a "hole in the head".......more air pollution & traffic.....yuck needs to be stopped!


David Carter

Just an observation, more generally rather than on this specific proposal.

The expansion of airports is driven by travel demand from ordinary people so it seems to me that we - because this includes many of us - either have to cut down the number of trips we make and/or offset the true environmental cost in a better way. Without guiding principles such as these tempering forecasts of air travel growth surely Bristol is only making what it sees as the best case for securing its share of the cake, and in particular the economic benefits in terms of jobs and investment.


Pete Lawrence

Yes, but the whole ethos of growth at all costs in economic theory is what is causing this ecological emergency. In short we have to change our habits and lifestyles and force big business to change their tune.

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