When an issue picks you…

This post was first published on our sister blog, Grassroots Alternatives. As it covers planning policy issues which we’ve written about in various ways on this blog, it makes sense to re-post it here. Also in the interests of transparency, we feel followers of this blog deserve an explanation of what we feel obliged to do with our activism.

When the two of us moved down here last year to be closer to our family, we did have a vague idea we’d have a bit of leeway to pick and choose what kind of activism we would engage in. If we’re being honest, that was pretty naïve of us! We’ve learned since then that issues will directly impact upon us and as a consequence, we’ll have no option other than to get involved in dealing with them.

One such issue is the proposed expansion of the capacity of Bristol Airport from handling 10 million passengers a year up to 12 million. The eventual ambition is to double the capacity to 20 million passengers a year. This was a post we wrote a few months ago outlining our objections to the expansion of the capacity of the airport: Why it has to be no go for Bristol Airport expansion 21.10.22. Rather than re-hash the arguments in full here, we would urge readers to have a look at this piece to see where we stand.

We’ve got skin in the game when it comes to the adverse consequences of the capacity expansion of the airport. Firstly, as we live in Keynsham, we’re under the flight path. Secondly, as we live close to the bypass that carries the A4 around the north side of the town, the increase in vehicle traffic going to and from the airport will inevitably have an impact on our quality of life. They’re the kind of impacts we can’t ignore, so we’re obliged to do what we can to make sure they don’t happen.

Anyone who knows the region knows that Bristol Airport is pretty much in the arse end of nowhere and apart from the bus service going to and from the airport, there are no other public transport options available. Given that the operators of the airport make a fortune from car parking charges at the airport, there’s sod all incentive for them to lobby for extra public transport provision. So, if the expansion is allowed to go ahead, it will mean a lot more cars on road networks in the region. A consequence of that could well be pressure to build new, environmentally destructive roads to accommodate that extra traffic.

On Tuesday 31st January, we attended the vigil outside the Bristol Civil Justice Centre when the decision of the High Court judge who heard the challenge Bristol Airport Action Network (BAAN) made against the expansion of the airport was announced. The judge, for reasons that defy logic, dismissed the challenge. This is the post we wrote after attending the vigil: The system is rigged… 1.2.23. We think you can guess what our view on the decision was by the title of our post!

As an immediate response to the decision, BAAN will be appealing it. Even with a sympathetic legal team willing to charge rates way below what would be the norm, going down this route is still an expensive option. A crowd funder has been launched to raise the money needed:

Stop Bristol Airport’s expansion; help us WIN at the Court of Appeal!

by Bristol Airport Action Network (BAAN)

It was also decided to call a rally which took place on College Green on Saturday 4th February. We went along to it to offer our support. For an event called at very short notice, the attendance was pretty encouraging. This is what BAAN had to say about the rally:

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

What a great event we had on College Green today in continuing the fight against the decision to expand Bristol Airport. Fantastic support especially as we gave only 4 days notice to friends and supporters who turned up to hear a wonderful array of speakers and be present at the launch of our crowdfunder which has already made a good start.

Big thanks to the tech team including Row and Johnny – couldn’t have done this without sound and stage.

To help lift our spirits we had the graceful Landing Crew, wonderful voices of the Bristol Climate Choir as well as the enigmatic Red Rebels.

So we surge forward with determination and fortitude to create climate justice out of the chaotic mess of confused and out of date planning policy that this current government presides over. This airport expansion is totally illogical and cannot go ahead when can see the climate and ecological breakdown happening here and around the globe.




– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

What’s interesting about BAAN is that as the name suggests, it’s a network and that means it’s pretty diverse. It goes from the so called ‘usual suspects’ such as Extinction Rebellion all the way over to Tory councillors on Bath & North East Somerset Council representing mainly rural wards. That diversity is something we noticed when we were back in Thurrock fighting the proposed Lower Thames Crossing. Existential threats to the environment can attract opposition that stretches across a fair bit of the political spectrum and beyond it. Some people may see that as a weakness. We actually see it as a strength, particularly as in these weird, increasingly dystopian times, the left vs right divide is becoming ever more redundant.

Anyway, it was good to attend the rally to meet a few current and many future comrades in the fight to stop the expansion of Bristol Airport. It will be a long slog but we’re pretty convinced we have right and logic on our side. Hopefully, it’s onwards and upwards from here.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s