According to the World Development Movement, a campaign group that seeks to eradicate world poverty, the volume of carbon dioxide produced by Bristol Airport in 2007 was equal to that produced by the entire nation of Malawi, Africa.
At the time, local councillors were unimpressed with the news, and Bristol Airport was forced to shelve its expansion plans for the next three years, until bosses found a way to deal with the smog that was clouding the terminal windows. The airport was finally granted a reprieve from its critics on the 10th March 2010, with a six-to-three vote in favour of the expansion.
Bristol councillors endured a three hour meeting on the 10th March, attended by more than one hundred people, both advocates and fierce opponents. The ultimate decision came as a blow for members of the Stop Bristol Airport Expansion group (SBAE), which had received over 1000 complaints about the expansion, and was hoping to block the plans forever.
The appropriate documents will now be passed to the local planning committee, the final page in Bristol’s great expansion odyssey. The airport hopes to boost passenger numbers to 10m people a year, but eco-warriors continue to fight for a cap at 8m. The SBAE website claims that any expansion at all will lead to a “wanton increase in greenhouse gas emissions.”
Airport bosses have countered the figures with some of their own: 3000 direct jobs and a £200m boost to the local economy. The expansion will include a new car park, modifications to the existing terminal, and a complete rebranding of the airport’s public image.
Bristol Airport has already dropped the word ‘international’ from its name, as the need to emphasise its global connections becomes less important.