Somerset

Bristol Airport expansion plans 'can't be at any cost'

Artist's impression of the new forecourt at Bristol Airport Image copyright Bristol Airport
Image caption An artist's impression of the proposed new forecourt at Bristol Airport

One of the UK's top tourist destinations has warned against expansion of a nearby airport.

Bath and North East Somerset Council (Banes), which has declared a climate emergency, said tourism "cannot be at any cost".

Millions of tourists and day trippers visit the Georgian city each year.

Bristol Airport wants to expand to handle up to 12 million passengers a year and has brought forward plans to make it "carbon neutral" by 2025.

"We need to plan ahead to ensure we can continue to meet demand for air travel to and from the region we serve," it said.

The airport says it had responded to the climate emergency declarations by bringing forward its plan to reduce emissions in response to concerns made by neighbouring authorities.

Electric vehicles

This would put Bristol at the forefront of carbon reduction in the UK airport sector, it says.

It also plans an increased use of electric vehicles, a shift to renewable energy and increasing the cost of its drop-off parking as this is the "least sustainable way" to get to the airport.

Councillor Sarah Warren, Banes cabinet member for climate emergency, welcomed news the airport will reduce its direct emissions.

"It will be interesting to hear the fine details of their plans but it doesn't alter the fact that expansion of air travel is inconsistent with having declared a climate emergency," she said.

"While tourism is a vital sector of the economy sector... it cannot be at any cost. The challenge is to maintain the city as an important visitor destination while managing the environmental impacts of tourism."

Image caption Millions of tourists and day trippers visit the Georgian city each year

More than 2,000 people have objected to the proposals, including Stop Bristol Airport Expansion, and Bath's Liberal Democrat MP Wera Hobhouse.

North Somerset Council will make a decision on the plans later this year.

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