'Silent majority' back Bristol Airport expansion

Bristol Airport image Image copyright Bristol Airport
Image caption Plans include a new transport interchange and another pedestrian walkway

A survey has revealed a "silent majority" are backing Bristol Airport's controversial expansion plans.

A regional transport board was told the findings of a YouGov poll at a meeting in Exeter on Wednesday.

The plans include thousands of extra parking spaces, a new transport interchange and a new front canopy.

More than 2000 people have objected to the proposals, including Bath and North East Somerset Council and campaign group Stop Bristol Airport Expansion.

The airport aims to grow from 8.5m passengers this year to 10m in 2021, doubling that by 2045.

It has also requested a change to the seasonal restrictions on night flights so there is an annual cap on movements instead, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

Planning and sustainability director of Bristol Airport Simon Earles told the Peninsula Transport Shadow Sub National Body: "Seventy three per cent of North Somerset residents support Bristol Airport's development plans. The silent majority has spoken."

He said the growth of the airport was important to the success of the whole region and could eventually support 25,000 jobs.

Image copyright Bristol Airport
Image caption Plans include thousands more parking spaces and a new transport interchange

"We want to be carbon neutral by 2030. Our carbon reduction is down 12% in absolute terms and 37% on a per-passenger basis in the last four years," Mr Earles said.

"We had a 50% increase in public transport to the airport on recent years... [although] it is starting from a low base."

In April, students living near the airport recorded an open video message with Stop Bristol Airport Expansion.

In it, students spoke of the environmental impact of expansion and begged the Ontario Teachers Federation to put pressure on their pension fund, which owns the airport, to put a stop to it.

The airport's planning application for its expansion plans is currently awaiting a decision by North Somerset Council.

12 June 2019: The article was amended to reflect the increased number of objections lodged.

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