Bristol Airport

23rd July 2021 

Please see below a transcript of the statement given on behalf of BRA at the planning appeal meeting on the 23rd July 2021 or the PDF version can be found here BRA statement for the Airport Planning Appeal 23rd July 21

Statement by Backwell Residents Association to the Planning Appeal for Bristol Airport – Appeal reference APP/D0121/W/20/3259234

My name is Barbara Harland. Thank you for this opportunity. I am speaking on behalf of Backwell Residents Association (BRA), a membership organisation representing over 400 paid up households with 700 members in the Parish of Backwell. BRA seeks to safeguard and promote the collective interests of Backwell residents in matters concerning social, economic and community life and the character of the Village.

Bristol Airport is adjacent to Backwell boundaries and directly affects residents particularly those living in the Downside area of the parish.

In December 2019 BRA members gave the mandate to object to the expansion of Bristol Airport Planning Application 18/P/5118/OUT. Whilst recognising the convenience of a regional airport and its contribution to the economy, BRA is seriously concerned about several adverse factors which will be exacerbated by further expansion.

We fully support the position of North Somerset Council’s decision to REFUSE expansion. An additional 2mppa would not be in the best interests of residents’ health and well-being and is contrary to policies CS3, CS23 and CS26 of the North Somerset Core Strategy 2017.

After a global pandemic which has devastated the aviation industry, with recovery at best projected towards the end of 2022 -23, we believe this application is untimely and inappropriate when limited public resources should be better spent. Focus for Bristol  Airport should be on rebuilding to 2019 levels whilst taking a much more considered view to the green economy and environmental impact.

  1. Surface Transport. The airport is in a rural green belt area, poorly served by sustainable transport links. It already generates a significant volume of road traffic. Expansion will substantially increase traffic as most passengers arrive and depart by car. Traffic is bad enough through Downside and along Brockley Combe but is even worse on the narrow, inadequate lanes down to Backwell and Backwell Farleigh where Taxis often drive too fast and inconsiderately. The proposed road improvements on the A38 will do nothing to improve these current problems. Residents report having access to their homes hindered by holiday makers obstructing their driveways to avoid airport car parking charges, taxis outside houses or in gateways waiting for a flight to land, increased litter, and sleep disturbances in the night as people return to their parked vehicles in residential areas. Investment in Mass Transit Systems seems unaffordable and unrealistic in the foreseeable future. Thank you to the Appeal Inspectors for agreeing to visit our narrow country lanes.
  2. Aircraft Noise. Quieter engines might be helping a little over time, but aircraft noise is already very intrusive in our Parish, particularly in Downside. Our members complain about aircraft noise when out enjoying local open spaces including areas some distance away, such as Cadbury Hill and Clevedon. Low flying helicopters and transport planes are also a noise nuisance. More and/or larger aircraft will generate more noise overall, even with quieter
  3. Night Flights. Night flying is a disturbance to residents particularly during the summer and should not be allowed at this airport.
  4. Air Pollution. We are all increasingly aware of air pollution and global warming and it is widely acknowledged that air travel is a major contributor to climate change. Residents report a strong smell of kerosene in the air.
  5. Green Belt Encroachment. Bristol Airport’s excessive use of the permitted development applications is of concern, with a number of new developments encroaching into Green Belt, that have a serious impact on local the wildlife which requires protection.

In Conclusion. BRA acknowledges the airport’s benefits to the local economy and convenience to local users, but these advantages are not sufficient to justify further expansion. Indeed Bristol Airport overstates the economic benefits to the Region as the traffic is comprised principally of outbound tourism. Also that they are trying to attract business away from Cardiff and Exeter airports which would generate longer surface journeys from those areas. The airport should not be allowed to cause any additional intrusion into the Green Belt. To increase beyond the current 10mppa is ‘unsustainable’ and certainly outweighs the advantages. The airport is seriously constrained by its location, local topography, and poor transport infrastructure. Bristol Airport claims to be close to achieving carbon neutral status. However aircraft carbon emissions and associated passenger journeys are omitted from their calculations. Air travel cannot be allowed to continue un- checked. The time has come to call a halt to further expansion. BRA calls upon the inspectors to uphold NSC’s decision to REFUSE planning permission.

Thank you 

7th July 2021 

Airport Inquiry

Bristol Airport has submitted an appeal to the Planning Inspectorate against NSC’s decision to refuse planning permission for the expansion of the airport from 10 million passengers per annum up to 12 mppa.

Government Inspectors will hear the appeal at Weston, starting on Tuesday 20th July, and have assigned 40 days for this huge exercise. As well as NSC opposing the expansion, the Parish Councils Airport Association (PCAA) will be a key player. This organisation represents some 30 local councils, and is very aware of the many complex matters associated with Bristol Airport. BRA and BPC have made contributions to the substantial costs. PCAA members will be speaking at the Inquiry, and BRA has requested a slot.

Members of the public may ask to speak by contacting: 

Our local NSC Councillor, Bridget Petty is intending to speak. Comments that residents made on the original application by the Airport will form part of the huge pack of information given to the inspectors

Details are on the Inquiry website Bristol Airport – Gateley (


BRA has reviewed the new evidence submitted in relation to the expansion of Bristol Airport and find no reason to change our position on the 18/P/5118/OUT application and like Backwell Parish Council object to this submission. Please see below the details of the submission to North Somerset Council

BRA response to Bristol Airport Appeal 31.12.20


Please see below the letter to Grant Shapps MP, Secretary of State for Transport, Aviation Policy and Reform concerning the Bristol Airport Limited (Land at A38 and Downside Road ) Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) 2020.

BRA Letter to Grant Shapps 5th October 2020

Please see E mail bulletin of the 20th April  – Making Bristol a Coordinated Airport

Please see BRA’s response to Bristol Airport’s Coordinated Airport DfT consultation Letter re Bristol Airport Consultation 1st April 2020

Please see letter of objection to airport expansion sent on the 2nd January 2020 Airport planning comment letter – Jan 20



Please see the E mail bulletin on the 30th November 2019 in relation to Bristol Airport planning application E mail bulletin 30th November 2019

The Noise Action Plan 2019 – 24 has now been adopted by the government ( Defra). It can be found on

Please see BRA’s letter in response to the planning application Comments on Bristol Airport Planning Application 18th January 2019

Please see the E mail bulletin on the 9th January 2019 for the latest update on Bristol Airport E mail Bulletin 9th January 2019


Please see BRA’s letter in response to the Noise Action Plan  Letter to Bristol Airport – Noise Action Plan – 27 September 2018

Please see BRA’s letter in response to the consultation  Letter 16th June 2018 Bristol Airport Consultation

Consultation stage II – Your airport: your views. Towards 2050

This second stage of the consultation ran until the 6th of July 2018.

Bristol Airport has produced a consultation document, presenting three possible scenarios for future expansion, which was explained at various local venues in late 2017 and Jan 2018.  The company has examined the comments made, and is starting consultation on a new “Master Plan” which can be downloaded here – Master plan consultation – Stage II

BRA will be considering the proposals and will comment. BRA will also suggest points you might like to mention in any comments you make. The airport impinges on Backwell life in several ways, not the least of which will be the changed infrastructure to carry the much increased passenger number

Please see below the link to the consultation

Consultation stage I (now closed)

This large regional airport handled 8 million passengers in 2017, and embarks on new expansion plans regularly (numbers grew by 10% in 2016 for example). The airport has calculated that by the mid 2040’s passenger demand could have risen to 20 million a year.

In January 2018 Bristol Airport invited the public to comment on how they might satisfy this demand, and arranged for public drop-in events to explain these.

The consultation document gave 3 different ways in which the demand could be met in terms of land use, terminals parking etc., and assumes that the transport infrastructure can be provided to achieve this, and land acquired where necessary. The 3 scenarios vary in their impact on the A38 and Downside Road.

Please note:

  • The consultation was organised by Bristol Airport, and is a first step in what will be a long process
  • The information is shown on their website and the supporting document can be found here Bristol Airport Issues and Options
  • There will be opportunities for further comments to be made to the airport, and to North Somerset Council whenever planning permission is sought.
  • The deadline for comments on this first plan was Friday 26th January 2018