Green Party councillors in North Somerset have said they are “distraught” after the Court of Appeal threw out an attempt to stop Bristol Airport expanding.

Bridget Petty, leader of the Greens on North Somerset Council said: “I am distraught and despairing as I hear the news that the court has decided to refuse an appeal.”

The dismissal marks the end of a long legal battle over the airport’s expansion.

The airport was originally denied planning permission for the expansion works by North Somerset Council in 2020, but appealed to the planning inspectorate who overturned that ruling.

Campaigners Bristol Airport Action Network challenged the inspectorate’s decision in a High Court legal battle held in Bristol last year, with the central issue being whether emissions from the planes should count towards the airport’s environmental impact or not. 

But Mr Justice Lane ruled in favour of the airport, stating: “The main issue in this case is not whether emissions from any additional aircraft using Bristol Airport should be ignored. Plainly, they should not. Rather, it is about how and by whom those emissions should be addressed.”

Now an attempt to take it to the Court of Appeal has been thrown out for having no “real prospect of success and no other compelling reason for the Court of Appeal to entertain an appeal.”

The appeal was refused on all grounds.

Ms Petty said: “We are facing headlines about catastrophic climate warming and still our courts and central government appear to want to maintain business as usual and growth at all costs. The lives of our children and society near and far will be impacted by their inactivity and lack of leadership.

“We know the airport has a significant impact on the lives of local people. That is why Green Party councillors voted no to expansion in 2020. Local democracy has been seriously eroded and this is another example of the powers that be having no real clue on how to address the climate emergency.”

Bristol Airport Action Network said in a post on twitter: “Of course, we are hugely disappointed but after over 4 years of campaigning we take comfort by many positives including the delay we have caused to millions of tonnes of CO2 and non-CO2 emissions.”

The group say they are not going away.

Bristol Airport welcomed the decision, stating: “The decision is excellent news for our region’s economy, allowing us to create thousands of new jobs in the years ahead and open-up new direct links, and support inbound tourism.“

LDRS, John Wimperis