Expert claims Bristol Airport expansion would scupper North Somerset's carbon neutral pledge

PUBLISHED: 07:00 17 July 2019 | UPDATED: 07:46 17 July 2019

An artist's impression of what Bristol Airport may look like in future.

An artist's impression of what Bristol Airport may look like in future.

Bristol Airport

A waste management expert has claimed Bristol Airport's expansion would destroy any work done by North Somerset Council to meet its zero emissions pledge.

Dr Adrian Gibbs, an environmental consultant, claims increasing passenger numbers from 10 to 12 million per year by 2025 is 'likely to create 920,000 tonnes of CO2 per year, six times the 154,000 tonnes of CO2 stated in the airport's environmental statement'.

Dr Gibbs believes the airport's figures do not account for the increase in flights arriving at the airport, only those leaving.

He also states the application does not take into account emissions from 'the production of aircraft fuel or aircraft manufacture, as well as the effects of contrails and gases released by planes at altitude'.

Bristol Airport to increase its size has submitted a planning application to North Somerset Council.

Dr Gibbs concluded North Somerset Council's efforts to reduce one million tonnes of carbon emissions in order to become carbon neutral by 2030 would be negated by an additional 4.5 million tonnes of CO2 created by the airport if it were to expand in line with its long term plans.

He said: "To offset the impact of the expansion would require 180 million trees to be planted every year, the equivalent of reforesting an area the size of North Somerset every four months."

However, a recent study by York Aviation commissioned by the airport claims the expansion could in fact save 157,000 tonnes of carbon per year as a result of passengers from North Somerset choosing to fly from Bristol Airport instead of travelling to London airports.

The report states: "The potential carbon savings which could be made if these passengers used Bristol is equal to the domestic carbon emissions of nearly half the population of North Somerset."

Dave Lees, chief executive officer at Bristol Airport, said: "Technology is driving performance improvements in the sky, with new aircraft like the A320neo generating 15 per cent fewer carbon emissions than its predecessor.

"Reducing distances travelled by passengers to and from the airport can have the same positive impact on the ground - with new destinations, more frequent flights and improved public transport we aim to persuade passengers to ditch the drive to London."

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