Public Inquiry into the expansion of Bristol Airport enters final week

05 Oct 2021

Planning and Environment

This week the public inquiry considering the proposal to expand the current capacity of Bristol Airport by two million terminal passengers per annum enters its final stages. The hybrid virtual and in-person inquiry opened on 20 July 2021. Following over thirty days of the inquiry sitting, the parties will give their closing submissions from 5-8 October 2021. The inquiry has heard evidence on aviation forecasting, surface access, air quality, the Green Belt, socioeconomics and climate change.

The panel of three inspectors will be required to consider whether the appeal proposal will have a material impact on the ability of the Government to meet its climate reduction targets, and whether it draws on all feasible, cost-effective measures to limit its climate impact. These climate reduction targets include the obligation under section 1 of the Climate Change Act 2008 to ensure that the net UK carbon account for the year 2050 is at least 100% lower than the 1990 baseline (the ‘Net Zero Target’) and to meet the legislated Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Carbon Budgets.

Estelle Dehon acts on behalf of a Rule 6 party, Bristol Airport Action Network (‘BAAN’). BAAN will close its case, which focuses on the climate change impact of the appeal proposal, on Thursday 7 October 2021.

BAAN will argue that the appeal proposal does not accord with the Development Plan as a result of the material impact of the appeal proposal on the ability of the Government to meet Net Zero by 2050, the legislated Sixth Carbon Budget and the temperature-based target under the Paris Agreement. Further, the appeal proposal is not compliant with aspects of the National Planning Policy Framework concerning climate change as well as national aviation policy.

The appeal is also opposed by the Council and other Rule 6 parties.