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About us

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

What is BIA planning to do?

  2008 2016 Change
Passengers 6.2 million 10 million 60% INCREASE
Commercial Flights 60000 86000 40% INCREASE
Passenger car journeys 3.7m 5.7m 50% INCREASE
Night flights 3300 4500 36% INCREASE
Summer night flights 2300 3500 50% INCREASE
CO2 Emissions 520000 tonnes 840000 tonnes 60% INCREASE

In 2008, Bristol International Airport (BIA) handled 6.2m passengers, 60000 commercial passenger flights and a total of 76000 flights.
The expansion is to enable this to increase to 10m passengers by 2016, with 86000 passenger flights and a total of over 100000 flights per year.

This will mean a flight every 210 seconds through the 16 hours of normal opening hours, but of course there will be far busier times than this average implies.

Extra flights will mean more noise during the day and at night. Most of the planes using the airport are modern planes which means that no technical improvement in the noise per plane should be anticipated in the next decade. The number of commercial flights is to increase by over 40%.

During Summer 2008, the airport had 2300 night flights – an average of 11 per night with a peak of 25.

The airport has offered a cap on night flights of 4500 per year, but in reality this is hiding a planned increase of 50% during the summer months, just when sleep is harder and windows likely to be open.
Flights operations really start at 5am, not the published 6am, and with expansion the number of early and late flights will increase. Not only will this generate more air noise, but the traffic on local roads during the night will increase and will start to clash with morning work traffic.

An increase in passengers will mean a increase in road traffic. In 2007, 93% of passengers got to the airport by car and even if BIA achieve 15% using public transport, there will still be an extra 2m car journeys every year, plus more traffic due to staff and deliveries including around 25 tankers of fuel each day.

More traffic means more parking, and this will take up a large amount of green space to the South of the airport. Despite BIA agreeing to double deck and conceal the northern car park, they have decided instead to have a more obtrusive multistorey and still expand to the south.

BIA are offering to make a “contribution” of £4m to local road and transport improvements. This may sound like a lot, but in reality it is a very small amount. To achieve the 15% of 10m passengers by public transport they are relying on an extension of the Bus Rapid Transit from central Bristol. Not only has this scheme not received planning permission, it has not even made it onto local funding priorities. The scheme would cost at least £50m and be almost exclusively to the benefit of BIA, so the £3m they might chip in seems remarkably low. The remainder would have to come from regional transport budgets and reduce the funds available to relieve congestion and speed environmentally friendly transport throughout the region.

We will have more analysis here soon when we have had time to review the current proposals in detail.