Councils split on Bristol Airport expansion plan [North Somerset Times, 10/10/19]

A debate on climate change has exposed divisions between the leaders of three South West councils over Bristol Airport’s proposed expansion.

Both Bristol city and South Gloucestershire local authorities support the plans to increase the number of passengers by a fifth to 12 million a year by 2025.

But Bath & North East Somerset Council (B&NES) has lodged a formal objection.

The difference in opinion reared its head at the West of England Combined Authority (Weca) committee, which is made up of Bristol mayor Marvin Rees, South Gloucestershire Council leader Toby Savage and B&NES Council leader Dine Romero, along with metro mayor Tim Bowles.

Weca itself has also backed the expansion in its consultation response to the plans lodged with North Somerset Council, which is not part of the regional authority.

North Somerset Council will make a decision on the plans, although the Government may also get a say.

Campaigners fighting the development pleaded with Weca committee members to oppose the proposals during the meeting’s public forum on Friday.

Prof John Adams, of Stop Bristol Airport Expansion, said: “There is overwhelming evidence the Bristol Airport expansion cannot be justified.

“We need to move in the direction of a sustainable airport and that means an airport tied to the health and wellbeing of the communities and also tied to technology.

“Weca assumes economic benefits to the West of England, whereas there is mounting evidence that there will be very few economic benefits but there will be massive harm to local communities if expansion goes ahead.”

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