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How to Object to Bristol Airport Expansion

Please note that the deadline for written objections submitted to the Planning Inspectorate closed on 23rd February. However, the Inqury being held in the Summer will have public sessions where local people and organisations can voice their opinions. Details of how you can access this opportunity will be posted on our new Inquiry Update page.

Do you want to write a knock-out objection to Bristol Airport expansion but aren’t sure what to say? Then read on, as we have assembled here some of the most impactful arguments against Bristol Airport’s plans.

Below you will find 7 key arguments that you can use in your objection. Of course, there are many, many more and you should bring your own experience and voice to your objection. But if you want to make sure your objection packs a punch, then please feel free to use any or all of the below.

Anyone can make an objection! You don’t need any credentials or fancy words. Just a conviction that airport expansion in a climate emergency is plane wrong!

Remember, the deadline for objections is February 22nd.

You can have your say by emailing your objection to

leanne.palmer@planninginspectorate.gov.uk

quoting case number 3259234


  1. BAL’s plan is not consistent with the policy context relating to the Climate Emergency. 

BAL argues that reducing carbon emissions has no policy basis. 

On the contrary, reducing carbon emissions is given policy basis in the following:

Graphic from the Sunday Times (7th Feb) shows Bristol is just one of over 20 regional airports that are seeking expansion of flights of some sort. 2050 figure for Bristol Airport is nearer 20 million passengers per annum – this is the long term plan for the airport.

  1. Expansion of Bristol Airport would lead to increased carbon emissions (and other greenhouse gas emissions). 

The Airport, in its plan for carbon neutrality, does not account for the emissions from planes arriving at and departing from the airport. These comprise 93% of the airport’s total emissions, equivalent to 939,000 tonnes CO2e per year. 

To claim, as BAL do, that they subscribe to the CORSIA carbon reduction scheme, is no defence. For instance, the scheme is not legally binding on airports. 

For more info on the failings of the CORSIA scheme, see this article: https://www.dw.com/en/corsia-climate-flying-emissions-offsets/a-56309438


  1. BAL claims that by diverting passengers from airports further afield (such as London airports) it will thereby save on carbon emissions by reducing motor vehicle journeys and average journey length. 

The CO2e emissions saved by creating shorter journeys to the airport is estimated by Bristol Airport as 157,000 tonnes per year. 

Firstly, it is not clear how BAL arrives at this figure, and it would be interesting to know whether they have assumed single person or multiple passenger journeys. 

Secondly, the extra 23,600 flights that will depart from the airport, however, will alone increase CO2e emissions by nearly 1,000,000 tonnes per year. Add to this the fact that the majority of flights from BAL head east into mainland Europe – and hence fly over London – and we see that any supposed benefit of pulling passengers away from driving to London airports will be undone by flying those passengers back over London eventually anyway. 


  1. BAL pays no attention to the wider airport development agenda in the UK. 

In its 6th Carbon Budget report, the Climate Change Committee (CCC) recommends that “there should be no net expansion of UK airport capacity” (see CCC Report page 29). BAL’s plans to expand to 12 mppa must therefore be seen in the context of the 20 other UK airport expansion plans underway today e.g. Leeds Bradford, Heathrow (third runway), Gatwick, and Luton. 

The current plan as submitted does not do this and is not in line with CCC recommendations.


  1. The proposed extension to the Silver Zone car park constitutes inappropriate development in the Green Belt. 

North Somerset Council prohibits development on the Green Belt except in exceptional circumstances (see core strategy (n-somerset.gov.uk)). 

BAL has not argued clearly how expanding the car park (and thus the airport’s greatest source of revenue) constitutes an “exceptional circumstance”. 


  1. The proposed public transport provisions are inadequate and the increase in car journeys to and from the airport will cause increased congestion in the area. 

BAL is the largest airport in the UK with no rail link. The majority of BAL’s operational profits derive from parking charges, hence they have no incentive to prioritize public transport and passenger arrivals thereby. 


  1. The wider impacts on nearby residents of noise, air pollution, and night flights. 

North Somerset Core Strategy 2017 (core strategy (n-somerset.gov.uk) CS3, CS23 and CS27 all provide reasons to refuse airport expansion on the grounds of the risk of increased pollution. 

BAL argues that “Emissions from aircraft at Bristol Airport are highly localised and barely encroach the boundary of the airport”. Whilst this may be supported by existing evidence, new methodologies (such as that used in this recent study) may bring new evidence to light. Given that air pollution is already a cause of death for 300 people per annum in Bristol, it would be irresponsible to pursue expansion without fully exploring the impact of increased air travel on air quality for the region. 

The proposed lifting of seasonal restrictions on night flights would place an unacceptable burden on nearby residents who already suffer due to the noise of night flights during summer months.


Don’t forget to leave a comment with your own arguments against airport expansion for others to read.

Let’s Say No To Airport Expansion together!

15 replies on “How to Object to Bristol Airport Expansion”

This airport has no proper road or rail links like Filton Airport had.
Because, for whatever odd reason Filton was not chosen.
The way forward now should be to build another Airport near to the motorway and rail network just north of Bristol.

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Please please consider the environmental consiquences of expanding Bristol Airport. The new Co2 emissions will increase by a disastrous 1,000,000 tonnes a year. Over 2020 we have managed to reduce our co2emissions and it would be a massive step back to pump this toxicity back into our atmosphere. If we have learnt anything from 2020 it is that we need to give our beautiful planet a break and change our travelling habits.
Please reconsider and remember that if we do not listen to mother earth’s desperate cry for help she will take matters into her own hands. We are not invincible. Cancel this plan.

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I didn’t really think about this until lock down happened. I no longer get woken every morning at 6.30 by an airplane, which became me alarm clock. The stars are brighter when I look out at night. Things have changed. It’s time to reset the clock and rethink plans. Does this really need to happen. ?

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Reblogged this on Tiffany Belle Harper and commented:
With the pandemic and restrictions it is not necessary to waste public funds on another airport. It would be more helpful to invest the capital in small UK businesses that are suffering due to unforseen circumstances. Furthermore, the sky is for natural beauty not chemtrails. Namaste and Go Forth Warriors !!!!

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How can this possibly be justified when we are in the midst of a climate crisis which threatens the future of humanity and the planet? We need to be taking drastic steps to reduce global emissions and air pollution immediately, not making plans to increase air and road traffic. At the moment demand for air travel has slumped and airlines are reducing capacity, so I don’t understand how this can make economic sense either. If you want to make it easier to access air travel for those that need it, complete the electrification of the railway line from the West of England to London and create better rail links to Heathrow and Gatwick. The heyday of air travel is over and we now need to be investing in sustainable transport for the future.

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Airports always argue that they need to expand due to the continued growth in business passengers. In fact, holiday makers far outnumber business passengers so that arguement is blown out of the water. There’s also a strong evidence to suggest that businesses travel will actually decline in future as many have had to switch to video conferencing during the pandemic. I believe that this habit is now firmly established and the need to travel for business can be vastly reduced from now on.

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I object to Bristol airport expansion because any increase in volume will increase carbon emissions which in view of the climate emergency is short sighted lunacy.
North Somerset Council have written a Climate Emergency Strategy and the effects of an airport expansion goes against everything written in the policy. Living locally we see the damage caused by air and car pollution from the airport and this is wholly inappropriate for an area of outstanding beauty. The financial gain for a Canadian pension fund should not be at the expense of our precious natural world. Our children and future generations will see the end of the world as we know it if we continue to promote this unnecessary growth. In view of our understanding of the impact any airport expansion has it is irresponsible and unethical for the vote made last year to be overruled. Thank you.

Liked by 1 person

How can this possibly be justified when we are in the midst of a climate crisis which threatens the future of humanity and the planet? We need to be taking drastic steps to reduce global emissions and air pollution immediately, not making plans to increase air and road traffic. At the moment demand for air travel has slumped and airlines are reducing capacity, so I don’t understand how this can make economic sense either. If you want to make it easier to access air travel for those that need it, complete the electrification of the railway line from the West of England to London and create better rail links to Heathrow and Gatwick. The heyday of air travel is over and we now need to be investing in sustainable transport for the future.

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In the wake of a climate emergency, the IPCC in their recent report warns that if we do not act now by dramatically reducing carbon emissions we are likely to go above 1.5 degrees of warming by 2030 (causing catastrophic climate change).

North Somerset Council recently unanimously declared a climate emergency and committed to achieving carbon neutrality by 2030.
We should be radically reducing emissions not increasing them. If further expansion of Bristol airport goes ahead emissions will rise by around 59% in less than 10 years, this is in direct opposition to the commitment made by North Somerset Council to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030.

In the context of a climate emergency alone there can be no justification whatsoever for expanding bristol airport. (and this is before considering the many other negative impacts such as destruction of the green belt, increases in traffic congestion, noise and air pollution which already damage health and well-being across the region).

In terms of the economy, expansion of Bristol airport looks likely to increase the profits of overseas canadian investors much more than bringing any significant benefit to the regional or national economy.

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