Airport Master Plan for next 30 Years - Consultation


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TheLocalYokel

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Any idea if and when the airport gets the go ahead for these plans ?
It was originally going to be before August but that was put back. August itself was considered a non-starter because too many people would be on holiday and the last I read in the local press was that it might be in either September or October. September it wasn't and October now looks unlikely.

The local paper thought that because of the complexity, importance and intense interest sourrounding the application the local authority might set aside a special day rather than consider it at one of its scheduled planning committee meetings.

In a parallel issue, we are still awaiting publication of the airport's new draft master plan that was originally going to be put out for further consultation at the end of last year, then put back to early this year.
 

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Further to me previous post #262, I've looked on the Wrngton Village website and the last entry from the North Somerset councillor for the area is still saying he thinks the determination will occur in Septemer or October.

That was written in August, so the fact that September saw nothing and we are approaching the end of October suggests that a date is still to be set. If one has now been set one would have hoped the councillor would have updated his entry on the village website.

 

TheLocalYokel

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I was perusing the minutes of the latest Wrington Parish Council meeting (September) and came across this item. For those unfamiliar with the area Wrington is a large village in whose parish the airport sits.

To consider a request from the Parish Councils Airport Association to contribute towards their legal advice fund in relation to Bristol Airport expansion. Resolved: A proposal was made to provide £5,000 of funding to the PCAA legal advice fund, if needed in the case of a judicial review. Cllr Taylor proposed approval with Cllr Steinbach seconding the motion. All were in favour (my bold).

Yet again there is an element of hypocrisy as is so often the case with airport opponents (of any airport) whatever their reasons. I know for a fact that many residents of Wrington and of the parish in general use the airport and I would not be surprised if some members of the parish council are included in their number. I grew up in that village and in a neighbouring one. I visit the area regularly, know long-standing members of the village, and am kept informed of activities there, even though I've lived in Bristol for many years.

Despite this, parishioners have elected a parish council that is obviously unanimously against the airport's expansion plans. I've commented before on a twinning association between Wrington and a small French town that began solely as a result of Ryanair's route from Bristol to Beziers. It remains an important conduit for members at both ends to travel to their counterparts and the twinning association is supported in spirit at least by the parish council (I don't know if it contributes financally).

The parish council apparently takes a view that what is already there however disagreeable is there but anything further must be prevented. So it's all right for those who want to go to Beziers and anywhere else that is currently available, but for anyone looking for further routes or even expansion of existing ones; tough excrement, drive somewhere else to find a flight. It would be poetic if Ryanair axed its Beziers route.
 

Coathanger16

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I doubt you'd find many parishes or local councils across the UK with airports in their 'domain' that had a different opinion unfortunately.

I wonder how much of it is a small but very vocal minority against airports expanding further (or even existing in the first place) that forces the parishes/councils to have these views. Because the only opinion being voiced is of one against aviation, in order to remain popular and in their position they also need to hold those views.

It's been quite interesting to see politicians voice their opposition to Heathrow expansion when their sole job has been as a local MP, and in order to keep being elected they've agreed with the opinion of their (vocal) voters.

Once they've obtained a more important position (as SoS or even PM), its then interesting how their previously held opposition has fallen away.

On a slightly different note I was watching a piece on the news about flying, the new flight shaming movement, and whether we should be flying less. The reporter went to an airport (I think it was actually Bristol) and was asking arriving passengers what their thoughts were. I was quite surprised when all those interviewed said that in future they would fly less.

I wonder how much the interviews were edited (to remove those who said they wouldn't fly less) or whether those who appeared would actually stick to what they said and fly less in the future.

What are forumer's opinions on this 'new' flight shame movement? Should we be flying less? Should there be frequent flyer taxes? Should frequent flyer schemes (BA Exec Club, Virgin Flying Club, etc) be banned? The often quoted figure is 15% of the population take 70% of the flights, and that almost 50% of us don't fly in any given year. Maybe I'm being naive but I struggle to believe the figures are as high as that.

(I appreciate there's threads elsewhere on the site already discussing these topics)
 

TheLocalYokel

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I doubt you'd find many parishes or local councils across the UK with airports in their 'domain' that had a different opinion unfortunately.

I wonder how much of it is a small but very vocal minority against airports expanding further (or even existing in the first place) that forces the parishes/councils to have these views. Because the only opinion being voiced is of one against aviation, in order to remain popular and in their position they also need to hold those views.

It's been quite interesting to see politicians voice their opposition to Heathrow expansion when their sole job has been as a local MP, and in order to keep being elected they've agreed with the opinion of their (vocal) voters.

Once they've obtained a more important position (as SoS or even PM), its then interesting how their previously held opposition has fallen away.

On a slightly different note I was watching a piece on the news about flying, the new flight shaming movement, and whether we should be flying less. The reporter went to an airport (I think it was actually Bristol) and was asking arriving passengers what their thoughts were. I was quite surprised when all those interviewed said that in future they would fly less.

I wonder how much the interviews were edited (to remove those who said they wouldn't fly less) or whether those who appeared would actually stick to what they said and fly less in the future.

What are forumer's opinions on this 'new' flight shame movement? Should we be flying less? Should there be frequent flyer taxes? Should frequent flyer schemes (BA Exec Club, Virgin Flying Club, etc) be banned? The often quoted figure is 15% of the population take 70% of the flights, and that almost 50% of us don't fly in any given year. Maybe I'm being naive but I struggle to believe the figures are as high as that.

(I appreciate there's threads elsewhere on the site already discussing these topics)
For at least 30 years BRS has been targeted by anti airport/anti-airport expansionists, even when it was handling fewer than a million passengers a year. The airport sits in a wealthy rural area with lots of 'professionals' living there and commuting to nearby cities and towns (mainly Bristol) to their work.

When the airport submitted their previous plans for major expansion which were approved in 2011 by the then Conservative-dominated local authority (North Somerset unitary authority, one of the smallest in the country), an organisation called StopBristolAirportExpansion (SBAE) was described in one of the 'heavyweight' Sunday newspapers as probably the best-organised, best-funded and best-connected of any similar group in the country. Despite that and subsequent legal challenges the planning consent remained in place and led to the latest huge round of infrastructure developments that have continued ever since and continue at this moment. This is on top of the redevelopment of the airport from the late 90s that included a new terminal, new control tower and diversion of the A38 main road.

SBAE still exists but it seems to me this time to be more of a grass routes organisation with differing priorities amongst its discrete membership. Some are concerned about climate change and want all aviation use cut back; others - the nimbys - say that further air expansion in the 'South West' should be at other airports, with CWL particularly highlighted and support on the SBAE pages for APD devolution to Wales to assist this being brought about. The two aims contradict each other entirely.

The North Somerset authority is now run by a 'Rainbow' council with the Conservatives very much in the minoirty, with liberally-minded councillors largely taking their place, some Independent, others Green, Liberal and Labour. I suspect that getting the current planning applications approved by them is a long shot. The airport would then have to consider an appeal to the Planning Inspectorate which might be no bad thing with a professional planning inspecter with no local baggage either way conducting an in-depth enquiry before coming to a decision. If he or she then agreed with a local authority rejection it would be difficult to argue further in my book.

As for 'flight shaming' if some people want to fly less, then let them, but I don't want people telling me what I can do and not do. As it happens, my wife and I do fly a lot less than we once did but for our own reasons and not those of zealots. We no longer enjoy air travel, far too much hassle. My wife was never a big fan of flying anyway but it was a means to an end. In the past decade we've been using the train far more for both domestic and European holidays.

Nevertheless, we haven't given up flying entirely and flew to Geneva and back recently and to Glasgow and back before that. We might be flying again before Christmas. We fly regularly to Australia for VFR and can't really use the train for that.
 

TheLocalYokel

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North Somerset Council's planning committee won't now hold a hearing into the airport's current expansion plan application until next year, but no date has yet been set. The application was submiited last December.

Given the make-up of the elected membership of the council it seems highly likely that they will reject the application which could then lead to an airport appeal to the Planning Inspectorate. If that course of action was taken it might be 18 months from now at the earliest before a planning inspector made a final decision.

Not a good prospect for the airport if someone like Jet 2 was looking to base a number of aircraft there from 2021 as almost certainly that would take the annual passenger numbers close to or through the 10 mppa current planning limit.

 

TheLocalYokel

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The Wrington Village monthly magazine (the village in whose parish Bristol Airport is located) features a regular piece from the North Somerset unitary authority councillor responsible for the Wrington area. This month he focuses on the Bristol Airport planning application.

He has to be careful what he says, not only because of the general election rules around 'Purdah' but also because he is a member of the planning committee that will be called upon to approve or reject the airport's planning application.

This councillor doesn't believe the application will be heard in January (it was submitted a year ago this month). The reason he gives is: The volume of objections from individuals and groups is such that it is taking many hours for NSC (North Somerset Council) planning officers to work through the arguments and link this all back to planning policy, core strategy etc before preparing their report and recommendations.

It's true that over 3,700 objections have been submitted to the local authority but 1,800 expressions of support have also been submitted, yet the councillor only mentions the objections. Both sides of the argument have to be considered by the planning officers before they submit their report and recommendations to the elected councillors who form the planning committee. Hardly the sort of one-sided comment one ought to expect from someone charged with being part of the committee delegated to determine the application.
 

TheLocalYokel

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The CEO is asking for a decision to be made.
It will interesting to see what the council's planning officers recommend. My sense is that the majority of elected councillors from whom the planning committee will be constituted would like to reject the airport's application.

If the planning officers recommend approval (which might be hedged with conditions) the councillors could still disagree and reject it. A recommendarion to reject would make it easy for the planning councillors to do so.

The whole saga has dragged on far too long and, as the CEO says, they will soon be in the position of having to turn away airlines if the way forward still hasn't been decided - something we've mentioned in these froums.
 

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A Green councillor was miffed because Bristol's Lord Mayor refused to extend a council meeting to debate a motion calling on the council to oppose Bristol Airport's expansion plans. Labour, Conservative and (perhaps surprisingly) some Lib-Dem councillors voted to end the meeting before a vote could be taken.

The Green councillor said, "There will be nearly 10,000 extra car journeys a day with enormous congestion on local roads, a multi-storey car park on the precious greenbelt and 4,000 unrestricted night flights with their many health implications."

10,000 extra car journeys a day?!

The airport is seeking an expansion to enable it to handle another two million passengers a year. I make that an average of an extra 5,479 passengers a day throughout the year. Even if every passenger, including children, drove a car with no-one else in it the total number of additional journeys would be little more than half that which the Green councillor states.
 

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I do wonder where they get there stats from!
 

Seasider

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Quote an outrageous figure, no one will check it, get maxlmum publicity and then get ridiculed for being "no ability to make sense".
The problem is that a lot of people will believe him.
 

TheLocalYokel

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I do wonder where they get there stats from!
They make them up. Clearly the local rag printed the claim without checking so, as Seasider points out, many people will believe it especially those who want to believe it.

Quote an outrageous figure, no one will check it, get maxlmum publicity and then get ridiculed for being "no ability to make sense".
The problem is that a lot of people will believe him.
There is an organisation called StopBristolAirportExpansion (SBAE) that unsurpsingly has its own website. Some of the claims that are made on it are so laughable that they would be better placed in a Christmas cracker.

I used to read their website as I did the predecessor SBAE that was set up to oppose the airport's major expansion applications that were approved in 2011.

I am not so blinkered that I believe that opponents of airport expansion can never have valid arguments. They can and I have learned from them in the past. However, I've not visited the current SBAE website for several months as all I was reading was emotive propaganda with far too often no basis in fact. The site was also littered with factual inaccuracies, or to put it more bluntly, untruths.
 

TheLocalYokel

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TheLocalYokel

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Looking at this picture, is there not room within the airport boundary to extend the runway to the boundary fence as they do in some countries?
It's certainly physically possible to extend the runway at the eastern end of the airfield although any type of extension would require the A38 to be dropped into a 150-metre long tunnel, and it's likely that even the most modest option would impact in some way on Felton Common which is beyond the A38.

In its current master plan, pubished in 2006, the airport set out a number of options for extending the runway, all at the eastern end of the airfield - the land beyond the western end of the runway falls away significantly and any extension there would require major civil engineering.

Although the promised new master plan has not materialised despite public consultations that began two years ago the airport has already said that a runway extension is not being considered. Presumably the reasons it gave in 2006 for maintaining the status quo are still in place.

Below is the airport's thinking on the matter as set out in its 2006 master plan.

Option 1 – do nothing

From the analysis above it is clear that it is likely that a significant proportion of any long haul demand could be handled without the need for a runway extension. However, it is not possible to make precise estimates with any degree of accuracy over such a long time frame. This option carries some risk, but the timescales are such that this risk can be reassessed in subsequent revisions of the Master Plan if necessary.

Option 2 – extend the runway by 140m

This is assessed as the maximum extension that can be accommodated within the existing airport land, without the need for airport control of Felton Common. Nevertheless the A38 would need to be lowered into a tunnel for a length of 150m. The instrument landing system for runway 09 would need to be relocated to just inside airport land at the boundary with the Common. If the existing landing threshold is retained for runway 27 there would be no need to relocate the existing approach light array. There is a possibility that some regrading of the Common may be needed to maintain satisfactory clearances from obstacle limitation surfaces.

Option 3 – extend the runway by 389m

This has been assessed as the maximum extension that can be accommodated within the existing airport land. The end of the runway clear and graded area would then be at the boundary with Felton Common. The ILS localiser and, potentially approach lighting as well, would need to relocated on to the Common and a 240m by 150m area of the Common would need to come into airport control. It may be necessary to regrade parts of the Common.

Option 4 – extend the runway by 239m with a 150m starter strip

A starter strip is a length of aircraft pavement that can be used by aircraft at the start of their take off run, but not for landing purposes. This option would add 389m to the runway 27 take off run, but only about 150m to the runway 09 take off run. This therefore means that runway 09 has performance penalties compared with runway 27. However the need to encroach on to Felton Common is avoided.

Option 5 – extend the runway further, with further encroachment onto the Common

Any improvements to the take off runs that would be achieved would be subject to licensing approval from the Civil Aviation Authority. It is possible that requirements to improve safety standards could erode some of the potential benefit. There is a further issue with the runway 27 approach lighting. The current approach light array is truncated to avoid the need to encroach on Felton Common. Any changes to the 27 landing threshold would require the approach lights to relocated and possibly extended. This could have a significant effect on the Common.

North Somerset Council has declared Felton Common as a Local Nature Reserve under the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949. BIA has not, at this stage, carried out a detailed assessment of the impact of extending the approach lights and airport control on to the Common, but it is clear that the effects could be potentially significant. Furthermore any extension would cause the noise impact on the houses adjacent to Felton Common to increase, probably requiring the relocation of some householders. On the positive side a runway extension might remove the need for some use of reverse thrust on landing and allow take-offs to be undertaken at lower, and hence quieter, power settings.

12.16 Our overall conclusion is that the improvement in performance that might be achieved by extending the runway is relatively small in comparison with the costs and the potential environmental impact. Our preferred option at this stage is therefore the 'do nothing' option. We expect that a departure from the White Paper proposals in this respect will have little or no effect on the projected passenger numbers. However it will be necessary to keep this issue under review this in subsequent updates of the Master Plan. Having considered the views expressed by York Aviation/North Somerset Council in respect of the runway length following the draft Master Plan consultation, we have concluded that there is no reason to change this approach.





 

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It looks as though there will be another march around the city centre protesting against the airport's expansion application. Yet again they will cause more gaseous emissions as the traffic snarls up - even more than it does on a normal day around Bristol.

The same newspaper article reckons the airport's planning appplication will be determined by North Somerset Council planning committee either at its next scheduled meeting on 19 February or on another date specially set aside to consider the application. If it is heard in February that will be 14 months after the application was submitted to the council.

If it's rejected and goes on appeal to the Planning Inspectorate that's likely to be another 14 months minimum, although they might get their act together a bit quicker than the council.
 

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As the day approaches when North Somerset Council will make a decision on BRS's expansion planning application, so the political party rhetoric ramps up.

Bristol's Labour elected mayor Marvin Rees has made no secret of his support for the role that BRS plays in the region. The overall majority Labour membership on the council broadly agrees with that position. The latest spat concerns the contents of a letter the mayor sent to North Somerset Council regarding the issue.

Bath & North East Somerset Council that returned an overwhelming Lib-Dem majority last May that ousted the previous Conservative leadership has, unsurprisingly, formally objected to the airport's application. North Somerset Council also underwent a startling metamorphosis last May when the previous Conservative adminstration was decimated to be replaced by a so-called 'rainbow council' with Independents, Lib-Dems and Greens between them holding 30 of the 50 seats.

Perversely, when BRS submitted its major expansion applications a decade ago (that were approved by the local authority and gave rise to all the infrastructure development since) Bristol City Council was Lib-Dem controlled and formally objected, as did the now extinct South West Regional Development Authority.
 
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