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Rejection of Bristol Airport expansion plans "awful" for South West

The Confederation of British Industry says the decision not to expand Bristol Airport is "awful" for the South West (Credit: Bristol Airport)

A national group of industry leaders says the rejection of plans to expand Bristol Airport is a "real blow" to the South West.

Plans had been submitted to North Somerset Council for more night flights, more annual passengers and more on site parking, but they were voted down at a meeting on Monday night.

In a statement The Confederation of British Industry has called the decision "awful", saying expansion would help advertise the South West abroad and could actually help the environment.

That comes despite the fact environmental arguments formed the main points against expansion at Monday's meeting.

“This news is a real blow to Bristol and the wider South West," CBI Deputy Regional Director Ben Rhodes said.

“This project would help further extend the reach of our region and help put us in the shop window of the world.

"Simply put this project would help create jobs, growth and investment in the South West and we should not put it at risk.

“We are now left in the perverse situation that people are driving out of our region to fly.

"That is bad for our economy and bad for our environment.

“In a post-Brexit world we need schemes like this and this awful news will hurt many businesses in the South West."

At Monday's North Somerset Council planning meeting in Weston councillors voted 18 to 7 against the airport's expansion plans, despite them having been recommended for approval by the council's own planning officer.

A lack of infrastructure surrounding the airport, noise issues caused by night flights and the impact on climate change were the main issues highlighted against.

Speaking during the meeting which lasted more than four hours, Councillor Ash Cartman, a Liberal Democrat, described the plans as "bloody awful", saying the roads around the airport are not good enough to cope with expansion. 

Richard Westwood for Labour was one to agree, while Robert Payne, another Lib Dem, said we need "fewer flights not more".

Seven councillors did vote in favour of the airport's growth, with Ann Harley, a Conservative, at one point saying she felt the arguments against were so pathetic that "I almost want to go outside and jump into the sea." but in the end concerns over the potential impact of growth on green belt land and carbon emissions, won the day.

Environmental activists including members of Extinction Rebellion who attended the meeting, let out loud cheers as the result was announced.

Bristol Airport have said they may appeal the decision.


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