, 17 August 2009
We work in non-governmental organisations and business, both in the south-west and nationally, and we are deeply concerned about Bristol International Airport's (BIA) plans to grow by 60% by 2019.
The Climate Change Act commits us to cutting emissions to 80% below 1990 levels by 2050, and the government has also set a target for aviation emissions to be no higher in 2050 than they were in 2005. Yet, BIA plans to more than double its emissions in the next 10 years.
While advocates of BIA's plan claim that it will have significant economic benefits, it is clear that the number of jobs generated per million passengers is dropping due to the cost-cutting measures of airlines and airports. The airport also handles six to 10 times as many outbound tourists as inbound ones, causing a deficit to the UK economy of over £700m per year that far outweighs any jobs generated by the airport. Significantly, the south-west tourist industry has in recent months seen a notable increase in visitor numbers at the same time as air passenger numbers have fallen.
We believe that airport expansion is incompatible with reducing carbon emissions, that alternatives such as high-speed rail and videoconferencing to replace business flights have been given insufficient consideration, and that the claimed economic benefits do not justify the damage that will be caused to the local environment by the physical impact of the expansion, as well as to the global environment by the increased emissions.
Peter Lockley World Wildlife Fund,
Dr Alison Doig Christian Aid,
Steve Grainger Avon Wildlife Trust,
Richard Archer Royal Society for the Protection of Birds,
Tim Baster Climate Outreach and Information Network
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