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Bristol Airport appeal will be heard in Bristol

Banner reads "no airport expansion'

A banner from Saturday's rally. Image: James Ward.

The future of Bristol Airport expansion will be decided in Bristol, a High Court judge has ruled. 

Campaigners are celebrating after the High Court decided that an appeal, launched by BAAN after the airport successfully won a planning inquiry last year, would be held in Bristol rather than London. 

Representatives of Bristol Airport argued that the case should be heard in London because it was convenient for their legal team and counsel. 

BAAN said that the hearing should be in Bristol because the airport’s contested expansion plans had significant impact on the local area and local people should have the opportunity to attend the hearing.

Making the decision Mrs Justice Lang, said: ‘I accept the Claimant’s (BAAN’s) submission that accessibility for local people, who will be directly affected by the proposed development, weighs more heavily in the balance than the convenience of (the Airport’s) Counsel, who expect to travel as part of their work. 

‘Clearly Bristol would be a more convenient venue for local people than London.’

Read more: Bristol Airport expansion slammed at rally

BAAN coordinator Tarisha-Finnegan Clarke said: ‘This decision is highly significant for the supporters of the campaign to stop the airport from increasing its passenger capacity from 10 million to 12 million per year. 

‘So many people and local authorities felt the result of the 10-week public inquiry that overturned the clear vote by North Somerset Council to reject the Airport’s expansion plans, was a huge travesty of local democracy. 

‘All of the local councils, WECA and the several local MPs were against it and yet the planning inspectors said it could go ahead. 

‘Such was the outcry against the decision of the planning inspectors that we felt compelled to challenge the Airport in the High Court with a statutory appeal. It seems only right that the challenge is heard in Bristol.’

The appeal will be heard at Bristol Civil Justice Centre, 2 Redcliff Street, BS1 6GR on Wednesday June 7 and Thursday June 8. 

Bristol Airport expansion is caught in an ongoing back and forth between the Airport and campaign group BAAN, who have resisted the expansion since it was announced in 2019. 

Bristol Airport are seeking to expand by two million passengers a year and have submitted a planning application to North Somerset Council. The council rejected that application in February 2020. 

The Airport appealed the decisions and a planning inquiry was held in July and August 2021. Government planning inspectors at the inquiry overturned the council’s decision and granted Bristol Airport planning permission. 

BAAN are now appealing the inspectors decision in the High Court on the grounds that the decision overlooks the climate impact of airport expansion and that the inspectors were wrong in law to judge that climate change is “neutral in the planning balance”.

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