Cross-Party Motion from the Liberal Democrat, Conservative and Labour Groups on Bristol Airport Expansion

Bath and North East Somerset Council: Full Council meeting, 21 July 2022

To be proposed by Councillor Shelley Bromley

Council notes:

  1. The Planning Inspectorate’s decision to allow the expansion of Bristol Airport at appeal by 2 million passengers a year, up to 12 million.
  2. North Somerset Council refused planning permission for expansion on environmental and traffic congestion grounds and that local elected representatives and neighbouring Councils, including B&NES, Bristol and North Somerset, as well as the WECA Mayor, objected to the application.
  3. The forthcoming High Court challenge by campaign group Bristol Airport Action Network (BAAN), which has been supported by public crowdfunding and which will be heard in Bristol High Court on 8 and 9 November 2022.
  4. The Climate Emergency Declaration adopted by B&NES Council in March 2019, in which Council resolved to oppose the expansion of Bristol Airport, along with the Ecological Emergency motion adopted in July 2020 which further supported the Council’s climate ambitions.
  5. Bristol Airport Ltd.’s published expansion strategy, to more than double in size to serve 20 million passengers a year, and ‘Carbon Roadmap’ policy, which does not include emissions from aircraft.

Council believes:

  1. Airport expansion is incompatible with the action being taken by West of England Councils to tackle the Climate Emergency, the UK Government’s legally binding climate targets, and advice from the Government’s own Climate Change Committee.
  2. B&NES residents’ health and wellbeing will be adversely affected by expansion, including by additional:
    1. Traffic congestion from an additional 10,000 car movements every day – and associated pollution due to inadequate and expensive public transport links;
    2. Noise, from an extra 23,800 flights annually, including 4,000 night flights, which will be concentrated in the summer months; and
    3. Atmospheric and air pollution, including carbon dioxide emissions, water vapour, nitrogen oxides carbon monoxide, particulate matter, and aerosols, which will affect residents’ health directly as well as impacting on climate change.

Council therefore:

  1. Calls on the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities to:
    1. ‘Call in’ the expansion of Bristol Airport for an inquiry, due to the climate impact of airport expansion and the negative impact on neighbouring communities.
    2. Consider all airport expansion applications on a national rather than an individual basis. Make decisions in line with the advice from the Climate Change Committee, which has said there should be ‘no net expansion of airports’ and also taking the cumulative impact of CO2 emissions and their impact on the UK’s legally binding journey to net zero into account.
  2. Requests that the Leader write to the Secretary of State, the aviation minister, and local MPs to inform them of Council’s position.
  3. Reaffirms its 2019 pledge to provide the leadership to enable Bath & North East Somerset to become carbon neutral by 2030 and aim of making B&NES Council carbon neutral by 2030.


  • Unless where specifically set out in the statute, motions approved at Council do not bind the Executive (Cabinet) but may influence their future decisions.
  • Councillors are reminded of their public sector equality duty which requires the Council to consider or think about how their policies or decisions may affect people who are protected under the Equality Act.