Climate activists take action as Bristol airport expansion gets the go-ahead
A High Court judge has ruled that the expansion of Bristol airport can go ahead, despite mass opposition to the plans. The expansion will see the airport handling up to 12 million passengers, an increase from the 10 million it is currently capped to handle.
Planning permission to expand the airport had already been refused by North Somerset Council in 2020, but Bristol airport appealed the decision, requesting an inquiry. In early 2022, the inquiry upheld the airport’s appeal, so campaigners from Bristol Airport Action Network (BAAN) launched a bid to take the Inspectorate to court.
The High Court ruling means that there will be an extra 23,800 flights, including 4,000 night flights, per year at Bristol airport.
Responding to the news, activists poured fake blood over themselves outside the court:
✈️ Today the High Court ruled to allow #BristolAirport to expand
🔴 Shortly after, XR Youth rebels had blood poured over them outside the Bristol Civil Justice Centre
❌ Young people will not be complicit in the treacherous actions of the UK govt & judiciary #NoAirportExpansion pic.twitter.com/ctA2ZseYJp
— XR Youth Bristol 🌎⌛ (@XRYouthBristol) January 31, 2023
Others listened to speeches outside the court. Green councillor Emma Edwards tweeted:
“The emissions from aviation has not been accounted for in the UK’s carbon targets” Steve Clarke from @baancc outlines the devastating impact of the terrible decision to allow Bristol airport to expand. 1million xtra tons of CO2 equivalent due to be put into Bristol’s air per yr. pic.twitter.com/eQ99BYOYur
— Cllr Emma Edwards (@bristol_pip) January 31, 2023
Meanwhile, people expressed their outrage at the news on social media:
Dreadful decision on #bristolairport makes a travesty of climate change targets. No doubt other regional airports will feel emboldened to expand too. Gutted for all those who campaigned incredibly hard against these damaging plans. @FlightFreeUK @ThePlanner_RTPI @baancc https://t.co/L6uIgx9V9m
— Serena Ralston (@serena_ralston) January 31, 2023
Jobs, jobs, jobs
Dave Lees, CEO of Bristol airport, released a statement saying:
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.
It’s perhaps unsurprising that Lees plugged the fact that the airport expansion will create thousands of jobs. This argument is used to justify the growth of every industry, even the killer arms trade. But what use are jobs on a dying planet? According to Greenpeace, 15% of the UK’s climate impact already comes from aviation. Meanwhile, the government predicts that passenger numbers will rise to 313 million in 2030. The increase in the release of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases doesn’t bear thinking about.
The fight isn’t over
Campaigners have vowed to fight on. BAAN tweeted:
Judge Lane who presided over our High Court challenge has chosen to reject the arguments put forward in our bid to stop Bristol Airport from expanding. We announced the decision to media & supporters outside the court house this morning with a determination to fight on & appeal. pic.twitter.com/6iRpM5oqxH
— Bristol Airport Action Network – BAAN (@baancc) January 31, 2023
The group is asking for people to join them in Bristol city centre to protest the decision. BAAN said:
Join us on College Green on Sat 4th Feb at 12 noon to show your continued opposition to @BristolAirport’s expansion & the inadequate planning policy that allows the aviation industry to exacerbate the climate emergency with plans for unbridled growth.
Featured image via The Bristol Activist /Twitter screenshot
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