Metro Mayor Dan Norris addressed residents campaigning against the expansion of Bristol Airport as the High Court challenge to the decision to allow the airport to expand gets under way.
In his speech, the Metro Mayor urged the Government to set out a “national airport policy with the environment centre stage” during the COP27 talks taking place this week.
“A piecemeal approach does not work”, the Metro Mayor said. “If 20 regional airports all individually decide to expand, it would lead to an extra 80 million passengers a year. But due to a lack of government policy, no consideration is being given to the combined impact of their additional emissions. Treating each regional airport in isolation is artificially minimising the perceived climate impact.”
Metro Mayor Dan Norris, who opposed the airport’s current expansion plans in his manifesto, successfully changed West of England Combined Authority policy to this position soon after he was elected. Bristol, Bath and NE Somerset, South Glos and North Somerset councils also oppose the expansion.
Mr Norris questions if the Government’s lack of a national airport policy is consistent with their obligations under The Paris Agreement agreed at COP21.
Mayor Norris said: “If the planet wasn’t heating dangerously; if the tech for zero carbon flights existed commercially; if Bristol airport was at capacity for passengers; if local people wholeheartedly supported the expansion – then maybe there would be an economic argument. But that’s a lot of ‘ifs’ and that’s not the case. The expansion of Bristol Airport would drive a coach and horses through our net-zero-targets, and set a really dangerous precedent when it comes to other airports and their expansion plans. It shouldn’t go ahead. Yet I fear judges will be hampered by a lack of national airport policy. Local people can see the climate emergency, and the need for action now. The government should show leadership at this week’s COP climate summit.”
The two-day appeal case will start tomorrow (Tuesday 8 November) and end on Wednesday.