Following yesterday's decision by the High Court to allow Bristol Airport's expansion, Bristol Airport Action Network have told The Journal they are 'extremely disappointed, but defiant, and vowed to fight on after hearing the result of the recent High Court action that approved Bristol Airport continuing with their expansion plans.
In a statement to The Journal, BAAN said,: 'In his decision Lord Justice Lane referenced the stark warning from the UN that humanity faces a Code Red for Humanity when it comes to the climate emergency, yet he still then went ahead and gave a green light for the airport to expand its capacity to handle twelve million passengers per annum (ppa). This decision will result in hugely increased emissions of carbon.
'The judge echoed the agreed view of all parties involved that if the expansion went ahead ‘the climate change position would be worsened.’ Bristol Airport Action Network (BAAN) intends to appeal this decision because the impacts on local people and the environment are so serious
'There is to be a rally on College Green, Central Bristol at 12 noon on Saturday, 4th February 2023 to give local people the opportunity to express their views on the decision.
Tarisha Finnegan-Clarke from BAAN says, “It beggars belief that our appeal was rejected. It raises the question regarding the ability of the law to protect its citizens from the effects of accelerating climate chaos. The planning system is not responding to the climate emergency that we are facing. It is clearly outdated, outmoded and not fit for purpose and this now looks like it is by design.”
Stephen Clarke also from BAAN says, “The Government has policies in place which are designed to encourage the growth of airports and the number of people wanting to fly. This shows a total disregard for the climate emergency we are in.
"In addition, this case shows that no one is taking responsibility for the extra carbon emissions from the 2 million additional passengers because they will not have been taken into account at any stage of the process either locally or nationally. The Planning Inspectors who presided over the Inquiry stated that the responsibility lay with national Government however the Secretary of State has chosen not to consider the impact of the additional carbon; either at Bristol or other regional airport.
"The end result of this decision is that the overwhelming voices of opposition of local people and their elected representatives have been ignored. This is despite the chaos that will be caused locally through extra traffic congestion, noise and air pollution and the fact that the airport is already the biggest carbon emitter in the region.”
Richard Baxter from BAAN says, “We are well aware that the airport has recently declared its ambition to further expand to twenty million passengers per annum. This just shows that the airport is intent on generating profits at the expense of local people and the environment. Expert evidence given at the Planning Inquiry proved that the estimates for jobs and economic growth were vastly overestimated by the airport as well as debunking the technological developments to decarbonise the industry that will not be commercially available for decades.”
Jackie Head is also a member of BAAN who lives in the Chew Valley. She says: “The decision is devastating and will take a while to process but one thing that is clear is this: If this is right in law then our laws are wrong. What use are these laws if they cannot protect future life on this planet? I know we will regroup and fight on. Bristol Airport needs to know that we are playing the long game and will not stop until justice and fairness in aviation are achieved.
"So, because Bristol airport plans to keep on expanding, because the government’s own minister reports in the recent Net Zero review, that the National Planning Policy Framework is not fit for purpose when it comes to the climate emergency, because even this judge who found against us has said emissions from aviation cannot be ignored, and they have been ignored nonetheless,..because of all those things we plan to take our campaign to the national stage.
"So we are calling on all banner makers, drummers, singers, performance artists, politicians and people who care about the planet, to join us this Saturday, 4th February at 12 noon on College Green. We want you to talk to friends, to family, to colleagues at work, we want you to lobby your politicians and ask them to come too. We want the press to cover the event and springboard us into the national media. We wish we could have given you more notice- but we couldn’t: we are law abiding citizens.
"For years you have helped us to lobby, you have funded our legal challenges and you have spoken out against the expansion, attended rallies, written articles, staged protests, persuaded others. You have been magnificent and we have always felt your hand on our backs.
"Together have saved millions of tons of greenhouse gases entering the atmosphere, and for that reason we have been an incredibly successful movement. We have much to thank you for and much to all feel proud of. You have grown our movement, and now we need you to grow it to the next level. We think you will rise to the challenge.
"This decision is devastating, and it is wrong. It would be easy at this point to feel helpless and to give up.
"But we believe in active hope, not the wet lettuce-like hope of ‘ I hope it goes ok’ or ‘ I hope it will all work out ok’ but the strong and resilient hope that sets itself determinedly against injustice and says ‘this is the right thing to do so I will lean my hope against this obstacle, until something moves, I will turn my hope towards the storm and not be broken.
We are the hope, and we will fight on."
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