Bristol Airport responds to climate emergency with 'carbon roadmap'
Ambitious plans to cut emissions - but opponents not convinced
400 people took part in a protest in Wrington against expansion of Bristol Airport
BRISTOL Airport has stepped up its action on carbon emissions in recognition of the climate emergency.
It has brought forward its deadline for becoming carbon neutral from 2030 to 2025 and is introducing a levy later this year on road journeys to the airport - which will take the form of increased charges for using its express drop-off.
Airport bosses insist that their proposals will mean the proposed expansion of the airport can go ahead without compromising the desire of all local authorities surrounding its site at Lulsgate to take action over the climate emergency.
Bristol Airport says its ambitious targets to cut both direct emissions from flights and indirect emissions from traffic put it at the forefront of carbon reduction in the UK airport sector. Its ultimate objective is to become net zero by 2050 in line with the commitment made by the European airport industry last month, it says.
The airport is committed to joining the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) which will start in 2021 with the aim of stabilising emissions from international aviation at 2020 levels.
The airport has set out its plans in a ‘carbon roadmap’, which can be viewed at https://bit.ly/30MDpea.
The action follows declarations of climate emergency by the West of England Combined Authority, its three component councils Bath & North East Somerset, Bristol and South Gloucestershire, and North Somerset Council as well as other authorities including Keynsham Town Council.
Saltford Parish Council is also involved. It opposes the airport expansion and wants B&NES to encourage Bristol Airport to review and better manage the flight paths over the Bath, Saltford and Keynsham area because of increasing concerns over noise and air pollution.
B&NES councillors are to meet their counterparts from North Somerset Council to outline their objections to the airport’s growth because of the environmental impact.
Cabinet councillors Tim Ball and Sarah Warren wrote to North Somerset leaders urging them to take account of the climate emergency and the urgent need to cut carbon emissions when deciding whether to grant the airport permission to expand.
Councillor Ball said the expansion of Bristol Airport was incompatible with B&NES Council’s carbon neutrality goal.
“From a planning perspective, as a consultee, we have submitted an objection on highways grounds, expressing our concern about the very real impact the increase in airport traffic will have on our nearby rural communities. However, we want to ensure that councillors in North Somerset do not interpret this as the sole basis of our concern about the expansion.”
Councillor Warren added: “The proposed expansion of Bristol Airport won’t just affect North Somerset. Carbon pollution from aviation is one of the fastest-growing sources of the greenhouse gas emissions which drive global climate change. Increasing the capacity of Bristol Airport and therefore the number of aircraft flying in and out will exacerbate the problem and that goes against the commitment that we, and indeed North Somerset Council, have made to tackle climate change in declaring a Climate Emergency.”
Nick Coates, who hopes to contest North East Somerset for the Liberal Democrats at the general election, recently joined 400 people in a protest in Wrington against expansion of the airport.
He said: “We are all aware that there is a Climate Emergency. So why is any sensible government allowing extra runways or airport expansion? All the councils in the West of England, and many further afield, have declared a Climate Emergency. The Committee on Climate Change highlights the fact that the aviation sector is on a path to generate more greenhouse gas emissions than any other sector. This is why I am working with others to stop Bristol Airport expansion.”
He added: “If the West of England is to meet its goal of reducing emissions from 2014 levels by 50 per cent before 2035 then we will need to both reduce vehicle movements and flights.”
Mr Coates said noise pollution, particularly at night, would worsen under the new proposals. The promised money by the airport for window insulation was no use to those further away from the airport sin the villages along the Chew Valley, Compton Dando and South Keynsham which are directly on the flight path.
Chew Valley villages, such as Chew Magna, are also impacted by light pollution as cars drive through the villages in the middle of the night with full beam headlights on, Mr Coates added.