FOLLOWING the recent annouuncement by Bristol Airport that they will be expanding, there has been concerns over the environmental impact that this could have.

The decision to increase the airport's passenger capacity from 10 million to 12 million was approved by the High Court Judge after the cap on the number of passengers that the airport could hold was released in February last year.

This sparked a wave of protests amongst environmentalists and residents. Members of the Extinction Rebellion Youth Bristol held a demonstration outside of the Bristol Civil Justice Centre to highlight the impact that the expansion could have on air pollution at a time of climate crisis.

Bristol Airport Action Network (BAAN) has also voiced its concerns for the climate and residents in the area. They challenged the decision when it was first proposed, but were over-ruled.

Stephen Clarke, from BAAN, says: “The government has policies in place which are designed to encourage the growth of airports and the number of people wanting to fly.  This shows a total disregard for the climate emergency we are in.

"This case shows that no one is taking responsibility for the extra carbon emissions from the two million additional passengers because they will not have been taken into account at any stage of the process either locally or nationally."

Bristol Airport continues to maintain that they are working towards zero carbon emissions and that the expansion would benefit the local community.

An airport spokesperson said: “The decision is excellent news for the region’s economy, allowing us to create up to 5,000 new jobs, deliver more international destinations for the south west and south Wales.

“We recognise that climate change is the greatest challenge for all of us, and we take our responsibilities seriously. Our work to move to net zero operations is urgent and well advanced. 

“We will continue to put sustainability at the heart of our proposals and we will push ahead with our multi-million-pound investment to be a net zero operations airport by 2030, cutting emissions under our direct control and investing tens of millions of pounds of investment to make this happen.”

To learn more about the debate and the expansion, visit the Bristol Airport Action Network website.