Blog Inquiry - Updates

UPDATE – Inquiry on Bristol Airport’s Appeal to Expand

Return here for the most up-to-date information on the run up to the 10-week Inquiry that will decide on the future expansion plans for Bristol Airport.

The overall conclusion was that the BAAN team made a a tremendous impact on Climate Week. Led by our barrister, Estelle Dehon, our team of expert witnesses offered robust and cogent evidence and performed well under cross-examination. They covered the topic comprehensively given the time available and left the Inspectors in no doubt that an expanding airport flies in the face of the science. We are indebted to the team assembled by Stephen Clarke for their commitment and expertise

CLIMATE WEEK – 7th-10th September. The Inquiry has resumed after a two break and Week 6 will focus on examining the crucial issues surrounding climate change. This is the week that BAAN has been working towards in stopping the airport expand. The links to follow via YouTube will be posted here

Our legal and expert witness team. Team: Left to Right: Stephen Clarke, Estelle Dehon (Barrister), Sam Hunter-Jones, Kevin Anderson and Finlay Asher.

Our Team. We have assembled a brilliant team of legal and expert witnesses to represent the many people who have contributed to the campaign. The key players this week will be:

Our legal representative is Estelle Dehon from Cornerstone Barristers who is also involved in the public inquiry into the proposed Cumbrian Coalmine.  The group have acquired the expertise of Professor Kevin Anderson (Chair of Energy and Climate Change, School of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering, University of Manchester and Chair at
Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research). Kevin Anderson is one of the academics at the forefront of research in the area of climate change. Finlay Asher is the founder of Green Sky Thinking consultancy and has valuable experience as an aero-engineer with Rolls Royce.  His evidence will focus on the fact that sustainable alternative fuels proposed by the aviation industry will not be developed in time to avert the climate crisis.  Sam Hunter-Jones works as a lawyer for Client Earth and will be presenting the current policy framework surrounding climate change. Client Earth has worked on campaigns to stop the 3rd runway at Heathrow.

Monday 9th August – The IPCC released its 6th comprehensive report on the impact of climate change on the planet. It concludes that humanity has been responsible for warming the planet due to greenhouse gas emissions and that it is too late to stop the processes involved. However, there is a slim opportunity to slow down global heating that is causing deadly extreme weather events around the planet. It will need urgent action from international governments and companies to cut greenhouse gas emissions. BAAN has issued a press release that says this devastating IPCC report should be grounds for the rejection of Bristol Airport’s expansion plans. Story published in Bristol 247. See hear.

Thursday 16th September – New date for public involvement.

An additional day of testimonies and evidence has been organised for 16th September. URGENT ACTION IS NEEDED if, as a member of the public or representing an organisation, you are wanting to address the Inquiry in person or remotely (via Teams). If this is the case you need to register by emailing the Public Inquiry Manager, Joanna Vincent, as soon as possible. Email: with the key points you would like to present and how you would intend to attend the inquiry (in person at WSM or remotely via Teams).

  • A brief statement on the area(s) you would like to address the Inquiry on. It is suggested that you limit your comments to a couple of specific areas;
  • Make it clear whether you want to address the Inquiry remotely via Teams or whether you would prefer to present your points to the Inquiry in person
  • state your availability to be attending online or in-person with details of preferred dates and times.
  • For full details please refer to the information below on HOW YOU CAN GET INVOLVED.

    Image from the 3-day vigil organised by BANN outside Weston-Super-Mare’s Town Hall – Feb 2020


    The aim of the inquiry is to deal with the appeal submitted by Bristol Airport Limited following the rejection of their original planning application for expansion from 10 million passengers per annum to 12 mppa.

    The Inquiry will examine the following areas:

    a. The acceptability of the scheme with regard to adopted and emerging local and national policy;

    b. The extent to which the development would harm the openness of the Green Belt and/or conflict with its purposes and the extent to
    which the harm to the Green Belt by reason of inappropriateness,
    and any other Green Belt harm, is clearly outweighed by other
    considerations, including very special circumstances.
    c. The effects of the proposed development upon sustainable transport
    objectives, the highway network, highway safety and parking
    d. The effect of air pollution associated with the proposed development
    on health and quality of life;
    e. The effect of noise associated with the proposed development on
    health and quality of life;
    f. The impact of the proposed development on greenhouse gas
    emissions and the ability of the UK to meet its climate change
    g. The extent to which the proposed development will deliver
    economic, social and/or other benefits;

    Evidence will also cover air traffic forecasts and projections; socio-economic impacts and other health matters though it is considered that these are sub-
    issues within the main issues identified above.

    The administration of the Inquiry is organised by Gateley/Hamer. The Inquiry website can be found here


    The Inquiry will be held in the main Council Chamber at Weston’s Town Hall, Walliscote Grove Road, Weston-super-Mare, BS23 1UJ. Measures will be place to ensure the venue is COVID-19 safe which means there will be limited space for in-person attendance despite there is expected to be a relaxation of COVID-19 rules on 19th July. An online booking form will be introduced to allocate seats on a daily basis. A link will be published here once it is operational. Access will also be granted via Teams for those people taking part in the Inquiry who cannot or prefer not to be in-person. Proceedings will be streamed via YouTube for those who want to observe the event and in addition they will be recorded for those who need to catch up sometime later. The link to watch live streaming is


    The Inquiry will commence on Tuesday 20th July and is expected to last some 10 weeks with an additional three weeks of breaks has been decided to allow participants a chance to have a holiday (*see dates below).

    The Inquiry will officially open at 10.00hrs on 20 July 2021, though may start slightly earlier on subsequent days. Each day will finish no later than
    17.00. Lunch breaks will be scheduled around 13.00, with short mid-morning and afternoon breaks at suitable points in the proceedings. Note that Mondays will not be a sitting day. At least one evening session is planned for member of the public who want to address the Inquiry but cannot get access to the proceedings during the day.

    *Proceeding are estimated to take up to 13 weeks in total which includes a two week break scheduled from 16th to 30th August and a further one week break w/c 20 September 2021.

    The outline of the Inquiry programme is as follows. Please note it is subject to change.

    Week commencing
    (NB no sittings on Mondays)
    Running OrderKey BAAN Involvement
    19th JulOpening statements from all parties.
    PCAA – Residential Amenity/PC Areas/
    B&NES Comments.
    Local Residents Statements (22nd-23rd)
    Opening Statement from
    BAAN legal representative – Estelle Dehon
    26 JulForecasting
    2 AugNoise
    Air Quality
    9 AugAir Quality (continued)
    16 AugBREAK
    23 AugBREAK – Inspector Site Visit
    30 AugHighways
    6 SeptClimate ChangeEvidence from BAAN Witnesses – Professor Kevin Anderson
    (University of Manchester/
    Tyndall Centre) and Finlay
    Asher (Green Sky Thinking), Sam Hunter- Jones (Client Earth)
    13 SeptGreen Belt & Landscape
    20 SeptBREAK
    27 SeptPlanning Balance
    Conditions & S106 (Round Table Session)
    4 OctSection 78 Closings Statements from all parties.
    Compulsory Purchase Order
    Closing Statement from
    BAAN legal representative – Estelle Dehon
    11 OctCompulsory Purchase Order
    For overrunning


    The Panel of Inspectors appointed to conduct the Inquiry comprises
    Inspector Mr Phillip Ware BSc (Hons) DipTP MRTPI (Lead), with Mrs Claire
    Searson MSc PGDip BSc (Hons) MRTPI IHBC and Mr Dominic Young JP BSc
    (Hons) MA MRTPI MIHE.

    Bristol Airport Limited (BAL) is the ‘appellant’ and North Somerset Council (NSC) is the ‘defendant’ – being forced to defend the overwhelming decision by its Councillors who listened to local opinion and rejected the airport’s original planning application on 10th February 2020.

    Parties with ‘Rule 6’ status are groups and organisations who have applied to be an integral part of the Inquiry because they have a particular interest in the proceedings. They have the entitlement to present evidence to the Inquiry and interrogate that evidence presented by Airport’s witnesses/experts. The Rule 6 parties are represented by their legal team and have organised evidence from a number of experts who will present their case during proceedings.

    The Rule 6 Parties involved in the Inquiry are:

    Links are to each party’s Statement of Case available on the Gateley/Hamer website.


    Subject to COVID-19 regulations it is planned to hold the inquiry in person at Weston-Super-Mare’s Town Hall. There will be limited room for the public to attend despite the proposed relaxation of COVID-19 rules. Social distancing and the wearing of masks will need to be observed. The Inquiry sessions will also be livestreamed via YouTube and will be found here

    HAVING YOUR SAY. This is a public inquiry so it is proposed that sessions will be scheduled in order for members of the public to speak for or against the Airport’s expansion plans. It has been agreed that much of the first couple of days will include public involvement – Tues 20th and Weds 21st. It is likely that further opportunities over the 10 weeks will be required to accommodate the number of people who want to express their opinions especially as the Inquiry is tackling the evidence on a topic by topic basis. The Lead Planning Inspector has said that no one will be turned away from speaking.

    URGENT ACTION NEEDED: If you would like to contribute to the inquiry then you need to register by emailing the Public Inquiry Manager, Joanna Vincent, as soon as possible. Email: with the following information:

    • a brief statement on the area(s) you would like to address the Inquiry on. It is suggested that you limit your comments to a couple of specific areas
    • make it clear whether you want to address the Inquiry remotely via Teams or whether you would prefer to present your points to the Inquiry in person.
    • state your availability to be attending online or in-person with details of preferred dates and times.

    At least one session will be held in the evening and as soon as this is known the date will be posted here.

    Finally, if you can, please follow us on our social media outlets (Twitter and Facebook). Do like, share, comment and all the rest so that we can keep this issue on people’s minds.

    Bristol Airport expansion is the biggest climate decision our region faces. Expansion will alone render all other carbon reduction in Bristol and the surrounding region redundant. We were on the right side of history in stopping this expansion once, back in February 2020. We can do this again!


    5 replies on “UPDATE – Inquiry on Bristol Airport’s Appeal to Expand”

    I wish to know if the West of England Combined Authority support either of the two parties, or if not whether they have a view on what is obviously a regional issue. For example, I live in Hanham, South Gloucestershire, and would be affected by a massive airport expansion in terms of noise, carbon emissions, traffic air pollution and regional traffic congestion. I was lead planning officer in 1978 when the Bristol City Council fought an appeal against the refusal of planning permission for warehousing development at Bathurst Basin in the City Docks. The developers argument, represented by lawyers at a public inquiry, was that people would not wish to live in the City Docks (now Harbourside)! I feel strongly that this 40 day appeal could have been avoided if the Government made it clear that there would be a presumption in refusing proposals for major airport expansions in the present climate emergency.


    Hi David. The newly elected Metro Mayor, Dan Norris (Labour) adopted to oppose the expansion of the Airport as part of his campaign. Of the constituent authorities of WECA, Bath and North East Somerset and Bristol City Council oppose the Airport’s plans but South Gloucestershire does support the application. You are right that this expensive and unpopular appeal would not have gone ahead if the Government had a clear policy on airport expansion as part of its decarbonisation plans.
    (On behalf of BAAN)


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