Yet another expansion project that will have implications for our area is Bristol Airport. The airport has been given the go-ahead by North Somerset council to expand its passenger numbers from 6 million to 10 million.
The huge increase in passenger numbers means that there will be an extra 11,000 car journeys on our local roads every single day.
We already have travellers using the minor roads around Barrow Gurney and Backwell extensively to avoid congestion on the A38; what’s going to happen with an extra 11,000 cars on the roads each day?
There are currently no substantial plans for improved transport links.
“Traffic congestion already has a major effect on many villages in North Somerset, particularly in Barrow Gurney, and I can only imagine how much worse this will be when passenger numbers are set to almost double in number.
“Current plans do not adequately address the increase in traffic, and the idea that this can be dealt with at a later date seems entirely the wrong way round. I have repeatedly called for any transport improvements to be made before any expansion is allowed.”
Building On Our Green Belt. Again.
The expansion also includes a massive new car park and hotel built on Green Belt land, both approved by the Council. Our councillors simply cannot be trusted to protect the Green Belt.
Please use your votes in May to send a clear message to the council that they have to take Green Belt protection, as well as traffic, seriously.
Noiser, More Polluting Aircraft
Noise pollution will become much more of an issue for our area with the expansion of the airport. As well as many more flights circling to land, we will also hear the introduction of up to 10 flights per day from new wide-bodied jets. According to the Government’s own report for Heathrow’s expansion:
“wide-body aircraft are many times noisier and produce much more nitrogen oxide/nitrogen dioxide [air pollutants] than smaller narrow-body aircraft”.
Good News For Travellers
Not wanting to sound all doom and gloom, obviously the expansion will be good news for people looking to fly on holiday to a greater range of destinations. Less than 20% of the new flights will be targeted at business users, so the vast majority of flights will be to holiday locations.
The increase in the number of destinations will mean less of us having to travel to London or Gatwick to fly on holiday, and for most of us that means we can simply get a taxi or lift to the airport to avoid parking fees too.
However, the question to ask is: are you happy to put up with more congestion and aircraft noise all year round just to save on a journey to London and back every year or two for your holidays? (and there are already plenty of destinations from Bristol!)
No expansion without transport improvements
Since the expansion has already been given the go-ahead, we need to look at how we can minimise the impact of the traffic. That means improving the transport network first, as suggested by Liam Fox. It’s no use expanding the airport and then complaining that people can’t get to the airport at peak times later because of congestion.