Bristol Airport expansion appeal granted High Court hearing

BAAN high court appeal

Bristol Airport Action Network Campaigners will go to the High Court to appeal against the expansion of Bristol Airport - Credit: BAAN

Campaigners have been granted a High Court hearing to challenge the decision to expand Bristol Airport.

Bristol Airport Action Network (BAAN) had 'raised arguable grounds which merit consideration at a full hearing’, a judge has ruled.

The airport intends to increase its annual capacity from 10 million to 12 million passengers with the expansion.

Bristol Airport wants to cater for 20 million passengers in future. Picture: BBC LDRS

Bristol Airport says it will continue to defend the planning inspectorate's decision to grant the expansion. - Credit: BBC LDRS

A BAAN coordinator described the decision to grant an appeal as a 'significant boost' to the group's cause.

"This is a very exciting preliminary decision by the High Court Judge." Stephen Clarke said.

"Only very few of the claims of this type make it past this initial review stage and the fact that our claim has done so, and the Judge said that we have ‘raised arguable grounds which merit consideration at a full hearing’ is a significant boost to our chances of eventual success.

"We remain fully committed to this process. With the help of our thousands of supporters, we remain confident that we will stop these ridiculous expansion plans from taking place in the middle of a climate and ecological crisis.

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"Bristol Airport is simply big enough already."

BAAN has raised more than £20,000 through crowdfunding, to cover its legal fees during the appeal.

A plane flying over protesters outside Bristol Airport. Picture: Nick Page Hayman

BAAN claims to have received widescale support on its opposition to the expansion. - Credit: Archant

The planning inspectorate granted permission for the expansion in February, overruling North Somerset Council's decision to reject the plans in 2020.

The council cited environmental concerns such as an increase in road traffic, loss of greenbelt land for parking, increased noise and air pollution from more flights, as well as the inevitable rise in carbon emissions in its reasoning.

Bristol Airport consistently stated that it has taken these worries into consideration and has "consulted extensively with local communities and a wide range of stakeholders, this feedback guided our phased approach to growth."

A spokesperson told the Mercury and Times earlier in the year: "We have listened to local views and accepted the challenge of climate change and have made significant changes to our business..."

The airport also claims to have achieved carbon neutrality status in 2021 and commit to net-zero airport operations by 2030.

It now says it will "await the outcome of the forthcoming hearing in which we continue to defend the grant of the permission by the planning inspectorate."