News & Hot Topics

E mail Bulletin 24th May 2020

These are difficult times for all. No one knows what the future rate of infections will be, or the financial impact of the disruption. We hope those most affected will see some improvements in the weeks ahead. Many people have commented on the benefits of Backwell with rural surroundings, yet with good facilities. We are pleased that Backwell Lake has recently re-opened for residents to enjoy.

Much has been on hold in recent weeks, but there are some matters that require an update.

Update on Local Plan consultation

Following the demise of the ill-fated West of England Joint Spatial Strategy, North Somerset Council (NSC) has embarked on its own new draft Local Plan (looking ahead up to 2036).

A consultation process was due to start in April, but a combination of the realisation that their earlier attempts at public consultation were flawed, and the Covid-19 disruption has led to a postponement of this process.

We are advised that a two-stage public consultation process will start “in early summer”. Your committee is keen to ensure valuable and informed local opinion is relayed to the NSC Planning Authority at an early stage. We shall ensure our members are told as soon as we have more details of how this consultation process will operate.

Bristol Airport

It is strange to look back to earlier this year, when NSC refused permission for Bristol Airport to expand to 12 million passengers pa, given the current almost clear skies. There is however still the outstanding application for Bristol Airport to become a Coordinated Airport. Comments may be made up to Friday 26th June. BRA members were sent a bulletin dedicated to this topic on April 20th.

Backwell Recycling Centre

There has been much anticipation and concern at the announcement by NSC of the opening of the Recycling Centre on Friday 29th May. At first it will operate very differently. Many similar sites around the country have seen long queues due to social distancing and other requirements. It seems sensible to avoid the Recycling Centre for a couple of weeks if possible. NSC has stated that:

  • The centre should only be used if storing at home is a health hazard.
  • Only one person will be allowed to get out of the car, and there will be no help to put things in a skip.
  • Only one visit per month will be allowed.
  • No trailers will be allowed.
  • Users must obey social distancing of two metres.
  • Users must wear gloves.

It will operate on the former hours and days, but a new ‘odds and evens’ scheme is to be introduced. Different days will be allocated to restrict the number of vehicles using the site. This will be based on the last number on the vehicle’s number plate and whether it is odd or even:  

  • Odd: For example – AB59 REY (1,3,5,7,9) – Monday & Saturday.
  • Even: For example – CD62 WST (0,2,4,6,8) – Friday & Sunday.
  • Both: Odds and Evens are allowed to enter on Tuesday.
  • Backwell is closed on Wednesday & Thursday.

You can find all of the other rules and policies about travelling to the recycling centre by following this link:

The operation of the Recycling Centre may change and potential users are encouraged to check the NSC website before going.

Backwell Motors

This site has been closed during the lockdown, but BRA has been provided with its re-opening details as follows:

Backwell Motors will be re-opening for petrol, shop sales and workshop activities on Tuesday 26th May 2020.

 Please note the revised opening times: 

  • Monday – Friday – 7am – 6pm.
  • Saturdays – 7am – 1pm.
  • Sundays – CLOSED.

Measures have been put in place following government guidelines to keep everyone safe. Although the government has given MOT’s a 6-month extension, please do not wait until then to book a test as we will have a backlog after the extension period ends.

E mail Bulletin 20th April 2020

Making Bristol a Coordinated Airport?

Dear Member

We send our best wishes to members and your families in these troubled and uncertain times, and hope you are coping as well as possible in spite of the many restrictions. Although we are all properly focused on Coronavirus, the BRA committee is trying to keep an eye on other important issues – we hope you will agree this is one such issue.

Much planning and development work has come to a halt during the current lockdown but there is a proposal regarding Bristol Airport, for which comments are invited by Friday 26th June. This bulletin covers this single topic.


Bristol Airport handled 9 million passengers per year (mppa) last year, and has permission to go to 10mppa. It made an application to have this increased to 12mppa. This was refused by North Somerset Council (NSC) on 10th Feb 2020, then ratified by NSC on 18th March. The main grounds for refusal were damage to the environment and the impact on residents. Bristol Airport applied to be granted Coordinated status in December 2019.

What is a Coordinated Airport?

If an airport gets to a certain size, with airlines all wanting the popular slots, it can apply to become a fully Coordinated Airport, working to a four-rotation system, within a twenty-four-hour period. In practice this means that an aircraft could fly out from Bristol in a four-flight onward rotation, i.e. Bristol to Alicante, Alicante to Amsterdam, Amsterdam to Edinburgh, finally returning to Bristol.

Fully coordinated means aircraft are in maximum use. Airlines usually need the early morning and late slots to work four rotations. 

Coordinated airports are considered to be at capacity and congested. Consequently, flight time restrictions can be removed in favour of assigned ‘slots’ throughout the day and night.

In the UK, Coordinated Airports include Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, London City, Luton, Manchester and Birmingham. Bristol is currently ‘partially coordinated’ with restrictions limiting times and numbers of night flights (11pm to 7am), to 1,000-night flights during the winter, and 3,000 in the summer.

Bristol Airport’s Application for Coordinated status

As part of its application, Bristol Airport commissioned a 38-page report from Mott MacDonald, aviation consultants, to make its case. This can be seen on the consultation website link below. The report assumed that Bristol Airport would be granted permission to expand to 12mppa. Despite the planning refusal the coordinated status application is still under consideration, with an original deadline of April 3rd, now revised to Friday, June 26th.

The operation of a coordinated airport is very complex, with many regulations and associated procedures. Becoming fully coordinated increases the number of night flights, with major implications for flights over Backwell, including increased noise, CO2 emissions, and night time road traffic movements. If approved, Bristol Airport flights will be allocated by an independent aviation organisation which will assign landing and take-off slots rather than be accountable to local planning conditions.

Response from our MP, Liam Fox

the request for coordinated designation was made in the expectation that the increase in passenger numbers would be granted. This is not the case and, given that there is to be no change of the planning status, it would seem utterly inappropriate to change the status of the airport at this point. There is local suspicion that this is a means to ensure that there is a mechanism to increase the number of night flights without a change in planning permission being given.”

His full letter can be found on his website,

Stop Bristol Airport Expansion

This organisation has a website with suggested responses which members may find helpful.

What has BRA done?

  • One of our committee members, Barbara Harland, has attended several meetings, including those of the Parish Councils’ Airport Association representing 27 local councils, and read key reports. This has helped us to establish contacts, and understand the implications of the airport’s plans.
  • BRA responded before the original deadline of 3rd and contains many of the points made by Liam Fox and can be found here Letter re Bristol Airport Consultation 1st April 2020
  • Liaised with Backwell Parish Council.
  • BRA has written to Bridget Petty, Backwell’s District Councillor who confirmed NSC’s response to this consultation supported the status quo, having ‘recently refused expansion due to raised concern over the impact to local communities and also questioned the need given current uncertainty in the airline industry.’

 What you can do

In any planning consultation, responses from members of the public are considered as well as comments from technical “experts” and formal bodies

We encourage members to respond via email, letter or the website with views on this matter, in your own words, before the deadline of Friday 26 June 2020

By email to: 

Or write a letter to:

Josie Fieulleteau 

Airports and Infrastructure Directorate

Department for Transport

Great Minster House

33 Horseferry Road

London SW1P 4

Or via the consultation website for response

E mail Bulletin 2nd April 2020

Community Resilience Programme

Dear Member

The impact of Covid-19 is growing by the day.  Please find the letter from Backwell Parish Council – Backwell CRP Letter 2.4.20.

It gives Guidance and Useful Contacts. We hope you will read it, and, if possible, please safely check (e.g. by phone or staying at a safe distance) that your neighbours know the content of the letter, which is also being delivered to households.

Keep safe 

E mail Bulletin 19th March 2020

Dear Member

This bulletin follows less than a week after the last one, which was exclusively devoted to Coronavirus, which is affecting all of us. For some it is an inconvenience, for others it is a huge medical worry or a looming financial disaster. We hope that our community spirit helps pull us through.

There are also other matters to consider, and with us all spending more time indoors we hope you do not mind this update.


We received several offers of help from members which we have passed onto Backwell Parish Council (BPC). They are keeping a list of volunteers to give help and a note of vulnerable people who might need it.

Cllr. James Cousins from BPC says

We are delighted to say that at present we are ahead of the game with an ever-growing list of volunteers and at this stage limited requests for help, this will undoubtedly change and as a community we need to help those that are vulnerable near us where we safely can.

Many local groups are offering support to the village. St Andrew’s Church has a pastoral group and would like to offer spiritual and emotional support to residents. Please call the church office between 9am and 12noon Monday to Friday and speak to Justine our Administrator 01275 463469.

BRA will provide support in this fast-moving crisis wherever we can.


On 10th February North Somerset Council Planning & Regulatory Committee voted 18 to 7 to REFUSE plans for Bristol Airport to expand up to 12 million passengers pa.

On 18th March the same committee RATIFIED the decision to REFUSE expansion 18 votes to 5. The reasons for refusal include the application being against North Somerset’s core strategy in relation to noise, traffic, air quality and emissions, the adverse impact on green belt and inadequate public transport links in addition. It was noted there is still capacity for the airport to expand by an extra one million people to 10million passengers within its current planning permission. Bristol Airport is likely to appeal to the Secretary of State and there will be a Public Inquiry. The Parish Council Airport Association (PCAA) covers 27 councils in North Somerset. The PCAA is committed to supporting North Somerset Council (NSC) with expertise and legal costs should it be necessary. The PCAA has provided BRA with much valuable research and information, which has enabled us to improve our knowledge of airport matters. BRA has made a donation to the PCAA to acknowledge this.


NSC is inviting comments on proposals to apply parking charges in many car parks, including some in Nailsea well used by Backwell residents. This can be seen on:

The link has box ticking in response to questions, but contains a text box where you can make your points in your own words. BRA has submitted a letter of objection to NSC’s charging proposals, which can be found here BRA response to Car Parking Charges March 20

Please make your views known to NSC by the closing date of Tues, 31st March.


Our AGM was attended by over 100 people, who were treated to some fine aerial shots of the village taken by a drone operated by a member of Backwell Environment Trust. The BRA team and Lucy White (planning consultant), gave an update on major issues, followed by a lively Q and A session. The minutes of the AGM may be viewed on the BRA website under the “Other Information” tab.


We are delighted that more than 300 of our 450 member households have paid their subscriptions for 2020, helping our funds, which were reduced by the fight against the JSP last year. We will almost certainly need to employ further professional help in the next year or so. We should be very grateful if those who have not yet paid for this year could renew their subscription asap as it will save us reminding you again during the summer!

E mail Bulletin 15th March 2020


Many of our members are likely to be concerned about the Coronavirus situation.

Backwell Parish Council has established a new section on its website which can be reached via the following link:

The BRA Committee is supporting the Parish Council as appropriate, and we hope members will be able to assist friends and neighbours if the need arises.


The minutes and the presentations from the AGM held on the 25th February can be found here 

E mail Bulletin 20th February 2020

Backwell Residents Association a reminder for our AGM

7.00pm on Tuesday 25 February 2020 Sixth Form Lecture Theatre, Backwell School(entrance via Meadow Close off Station Road)

2,000 hardcopies of our newsletter have been delivered throughout the village by our amazing team of volunteers. If you did not receive a copy, or would like an electronic version, we have attached it to this email.

We are grateful to many members who have renewed their subscriptions already, and we welcome a number of new members. We should be grateful to receive membership subscriptions as soon as possible, please. Forms and money can be given in at the AGM; put in the BRA box in the Post Office; or given to any committee member. Payments received now will cover this year until December 2020

We hope to see you at the AGM. The formal aspects will be kept to a minimum so that we can devote most of the two hours to the subjects covered in the attached newsletter and topics raised by members

This was expected to be a brief email reminder!! However, several events have happened since the newsletter was printed which we felt you should be aware of.

Airport Expansion

North Somerset Council’s Planning & Regulatory Committee voted 18 to 7 to REFUSE plans for Bristol Airport to expand up to 12 million passengers pa. The decision to refuse is likely to be ratified in March. The implications for this will be presented at the BRA AGM.

North Somerset Council (NSC) Consultation

NSC is seeking the views of residents on the following 5 areas:

Garden waste & Leisure and sport centres – Libraries – Parks and Open Spaces and Street cleaning. Consultation is open until 7th May.

This may be seen on the link:

NSC is also inviting comments on proposals for car parking charges, which include Nailsea. This can be seen on

This consultation closes on 31st March.

Joint Local Transport Plan (JLTP4)

Members will remember the delight in Backwell when the Joint Spatial Plan (JSP) for our region was rejected by Government Inspectors at the Inquiry in Bath last summer. Alongside the JSP, was the JLTP4 which gave more detail on the transport aspects, many of us had assumed that this plan had been abandoned along with the JSP. However we discovered towards the end of January that NSC were keen to progress many aspects of this plan to avoid a policy vacuum and to enable them to be able to access funding application for 2036. BRA immediately alerted Backwell Parish Council and wrote to Cllr Bridget Petty with our concerns about the inclusion of JSP trunk roads and access from the motorway across Backwell Common. Extensive work was carried out to raise our concerns and many councillors worked hard reading reports, contacting Transport officers, attending transport briefing meetings with NSC officers to ensure that residents’ concerns were heard. At a meeting on Tuesday Feb 18th, North Somerset Council agreed to accept the proposals in JLTP4 in an amended form. Any proposed new roads associated with the defunct JSP are being withdrawn, this includes the removal of the road across Backwell Common and beside Backwell Lake, plus other roads around Backwell and Nailsea. NSC is now working on a JLTP5 which will be drawn up alongside the development of the new Local Plan which will inform housing and infrastructure development for our area into the 2030s. Given this meeting was only a few days ago, the implications for Backwell will take a while to emerge, but we will have an update at our AGM. Generally, the outcome is seen as positive with the removal of this very unpopular road. There will be additional public consultation with NSC as the new Local Plan and JLTP5 emerge

Backwell Parish Council

BRA has been asked by our Parish Council to publicise the need for interested Backwell residents to become new councillors on their team. Details are available from

January 2020 Newsletter

BRA – January 2020 Newsletter