Bath’s MP, Wera Hobhouse, who is also Liberal Democrat Climate spokesperson, has asked for a parliamentary debate on the expansion of Bristol Airport.
In 2020, Bath and North East Somerset Council rejected the application for expansion on environmental grounds. It is now revealed the expansion will produce an extra 1 million tonnes of CO2 emissions per year, double what is currently emitted by the rest of Bristol transport.
On Tuesday, the High Court ruled that the rejection of the application does not comply with national planning rules.
In the Chamber, Mrs Hobhouse said the decision “flies in the face of local democracy” before asking the Leader of the House, Penny Mordaunt, to make time for a debate on how expanding airports like Bristol fits in with the UK’s net zero target.
Wera Hobhouse, Liberal Democrat Climate Change Spokesperson and MP for Bath, commented:
“I join my Liberal Democrat colleagues on B&NES Council in strongly opposing the expansion of Bristol Airport. Strong public opinion on the airport’s expansion extends well beyond Bath to our wider region.
“With the need to urgently act on the climate emergency growing ever stronger, airport expansion is not the way forward.
“The Leader of the House said she will be contacting the relevant Department to raise the concerns of my constituents over the matter. It is not just good enough for the Government to listen to the concerns of my constituents, they must act on them.
“It is my constituents’ lives who will be impacted yet their voices are the ones being ignored. This decision is a gross denial of their democratic rights.”
Here is the transcript of Wera Hobhouse MP’s exchange with the Leader of the House:
Wera Hobhouse: The decision to allow Bristol airports expansion flies in the face of local democracy and action on net zero. The expansion will produce an extra 1 million tonnes of CO2 emissions per year, double what is currently emitted by the rest of Bristol transport. The government’s planning rules have allowed this to happen, which puts airport expansion ahead of net zero.
And despite the Climate Change Committee recommending no net zero expansion of airport capacity. Can we have a debate in government time, please, on how expanding airports like Bristol fits in with the UK’s net zero targets?
Penny Mordaunt: I thank the honorable lady for raising this. It is clearly a very important matter for her constituents. And in all these decisions, we have to balance economic growth and the ability to to make the transition that we want to to a higher wage economy and to to level up the country. But clearly, we have legally binding net zero targets, and we are committed to those. I think this is a matter which has been largely dealt with at a local level. But I shall make sure that the relevant department has heard our concerns today.