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

cpreBristol Friends of the Earth

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All content © Stop Bristol Airport Expansion, 2009.


100 months

Letter to consituents from Dr Liam Fox MP and John Penrose MP opposing the expansion of BIA

"House of Commons
020 7219 4198
20 October, 2006

Dear Constituent,

The Expansion of Bristol Airport

Please forgive the impersonal nature of this letter, but I thought all those constituents, who have written to me about this issue, would like to see as soon as possible a copy of the joint letter which John Penrose and I have sent to the local press and North Somerset Councillors.

We appreciate that there is a national debate taking place about the environmental impact of plane travel, which should frame Britain’s overall approach to airport expansion in all areas of the country, not just North Somerset.  The question of how to travel sustainably without banning people from moving anywhere, ever, for business or pleasure is extremely important, but it needs to be debated as part of a national policy framework rather than for Bristol alone.  More locally, however, we think that there are several major issues which have not been addressed in the case of Bristol International Airport (BIA).

Firstly, there is a bold assertion in the Government’s White Paper that the expansion of regional airports is good for regional economies.  When we investigated this area further in Parliament, it transpired that there had not been a single study done into any particular regional airport to assess what might happen to the regional economy.  Instead, an extrapolation was made from national figures.  When we consider whether there should be major changes to existing airports which would, of course, have environmental costs, we should have sufficient information at our fingertips to conduct a proper and through audit.  We are concerned that this detailed information has not been made in the case of BIA.

The second concerns the local infrastructure and the ability to deal with increased passenger numbers.  BIA has very poor road access and no major rail access.  There is already considerable congestion through villages like Barrow Gurney, Cleeve, Claverham, Yatton, Congresbury, Banwelland Backwell.  While central government seems keen that areas such as our own should bear the brunt of increased congestion, there is no government money made available to alleviate the problems that increased passenger traffic would inevitably produce.

Our third concern is aircraft noise.  We appreciate that Bristol international Airport is making great efforts to reduce noise levels by improving aircraft flight paths and charging airlines more for using older, noisier planes.  But existing Government noise regulations are based on measuring average levels over a period of weeks, rather than capping maximum allowable levels when a plane is directly overhead. This means that much of the impact on residents in villages such as Congresbury and Yatton is understated, and we are concerned that the problem will only get worse as the number of large planes flying from Bristol increases in future.

Due to these reservations, we do not believe that BIA has made a good enough case for expansion.

Yours sincerely

Dr Liam Fox and John Penrose"


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