Expansion: Is Bristol Airport Big Enough?

19 May, 2023

Appeal Against Bristol Airport Expansion is Refused

This week Bristol Airport has cleared the last legal hurdle in the way of its proposed multi-million-pound expansion.

This is the final twist in a rollercoaster legal campaign that has featured tough local opposition and environmental scrutiny. In January, the UK High Court had ruled that the airport’s major expansion plans could go ahead following a lengthy legal battle. However, a group called Bristol Airport Action Network appealed against the decision. But yesterday (18th May 2023) the UK Court of Appeal announced that the appeal had been “refused on all grounds”, paving the way for expansion.

Safe Landing have supported the fight against Bristol Airport expansion for many years, as we viewed this case as an litmus test for a raft of other airport expansion plans around the UK. We are opposed to business-as-usual airport expansion and believe it’s in aviation workers’ best interests to challenge dangerous growth of air traffic amidst a climate crisis. Put simply: money would be better spent transforming the sector and existing infrastructure, rather than expanding it.

Members of Bristol Airport Action Network (BAAN) stand outside the planning inquiry in Weston-Supermare, October 2021 — BBC

Left to Right: Steve Clarke (BAAN), Estelle Dehon (KC), Sam Hunter-Jones (ClientEarth), Kevin Anderson (Manchester University) and Finlay Asher (Safe Landing)

Climate campaigners lead energetic demonstrations outside the Weston-Supermare town hall

Steve Clarke, from BAAN, said: “I’m not really surprised by this decision, but I am angry and disappointed.

He added: “Bristol Airport pretend to be concerned about local stakeholders and the climate, but nothing could be clearer from this process that they don’t give a damn about either.

They must understand though that we are not going away – we will be energised by this ridiculous decision.”

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