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Stop Bristol Airport Expansion! (SBAE) is an alliance comprised of the following groups:

cpreBristol Friends of the Earth

Read more about the SBAE alliance

All content © Stop Bristol Airport Expansion, 2009.


100 months

Bristol Friends of the Earth's Official Response to the Draft Masterplan

BIA Draft Master Plan Consultation,
Bristol International Airport,
Bristol BS48 3DY

Dear Sir or Madam:

In response to the consultation on the Draft Master Plan, Bristol Friends of the Earth would like to make the following points:

1) We believe that any expansion of the flights from the airport should be limited by the level of emissions released by the current activities. The major pollutants due to aircraft using the airport are carbon dioxide and the other Greenhouse Gases produced during flight. There is a global requirement for us to cut the production of these gases and aviation must play its part, whereas this plan is liable to double emissions of these gases due to the airport by 2015 and triple them by 2030. Therefore the rate of growth in passenger miles should be limited to the deployed efficiency improvements in aircraft and engine design, expected to be around 1% per year.

2) We do not believe that the airport is beneficial to the National or Regional economies. The airport sends out far more tourist revenue than it brings in and this has a direct impact on the tourism based industries of the South West. There is no evidence that an expansion of the airport will bring in any extra investment, and there is plenty of evidence that aviation aids the flow of investment out of the country. The jobs that are projected to be created are low paid, often seasonal and on anti-social shift patterns. It is very unlikely that this will help the deprived wards of South Bristol and Weston-super-Mare because the wages are too low, the access to the airport is too awkward and the shift patterns do not fit with the needs of the unemployed in those areas.

3) The Surface Access Strategy is heavily flawed and under-estimates the true volumes of traffic that expansion will cause. We do not believe that the existing road infrastructure will be able to handle the extra traffic and the A38 and other roads will need to be extensively widened to cope. We do not believe that the airport will pay for this work, and we feel this is just another symptom of the unsustainable nature of the planned expansion.

4) We do not believe that the airport should be allowed to extend its site, and should work within the current footprint. This will mean that if parking is to increase that it should be by means of double decking the existing car park which is largely hidden from the surrounding countryside and can be made less conspicuous in the process. The increased cost per parking space will give the airport an incentive to reduce the number of people using cars to reach the airport. At the 1% growth rate proposed by us, the increase in public transport should outstrip the growth in passengers and hence no extra parking will be required, and the illegal off-site parking will gradually wither away. We do not agree with any extra parking to the South of the airport because this will use up more Green Belt space and be far more visible at a distance, and will encourage more car use.

5) We do not believe that an on-site hotel is warranted. As Servisair stated, no flight crew will ever stay there, it is merely a way to increase airport revenues at the expense of local business which currently service this market, and it also forces the extension of the site.

6) We do not believe an extra terminal is warranted. Within 5 years there will be no manned check-in desks, merely on-line or ATM style check-ins with quick bag drops. In this case the existing facilities can easily service a considerably larger number of passengers than at present.

7) The airport is currently run as a low-margin, high volume business. This is not a sustainable way of doing business and relies on the cheapness of aviation fuel and the lack of taxation placed upon it. In the long run this cannot continue and it is inadvisable for the region to place its hopes on a business that is founded on such low margins. If the airport wants to increase its profits then it should increase its landing charges: even a £5 increase per passenger would increase the airports retained profits by 500%. This revenue could enable greater public transport provision and to discourage unnecessary growth in frivolous flights, and allow the airport to pay its employees at more reasonable levels which could then attract workers from the deprived wards.

To summarize, the existing Draft Master Plan has no economic justification, is hugely damaging to the environment and local communities, will cause massive congestion on key roads and is not in the best interest of the region or the country as a whole. Bristol International Airport should limit its growth to 1% per year and increase its margins rather than its volumes.


Jeremy Birch,
Climate Change Campaigner,
Bristol Friends of the Earth


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