University experts respond to Bristol Airport expansion

Professor Mike Lewis (Management) and Professor Lorraine Whitmarsh (Psychology) comment on the planning inspectorate decision to expand Bristol airport.

University of Bath climate experts are available for media interviews today and this week in relation to the decision to allow Bristol Airport to expand.

Professor Mike Lewis , from the University of Bath’s School of Management, specialises in operations and supply chains, major projects and the route to achieving Net Zero. He said: -Given the strength of the evidence that led to the initial rejection of expansion plans, I’m surprised at this decision on three grounds:

"Firstly, the UK Climate Change Committee concludes that for Net Zero to be achieved there can be no more than 25% growth in aviation passenger numbers on 2018 levels. Yet, overall planned airport expansions will result in nearly three times this number. In short airport expansion needs to be done very carefully - as part of a clear prioritisation - posing the question how does Bristol Airport fit into national plans?

-Secondly, domestic flights - a significant part of the Bristol Airport mix - are particularly problematic from a carbon budget perspective, and more and more organisations are stopping funding them.

"Finally, it-s hard to see the economic case for the expansion given the location of the airport and the limited scope for adjacent development. Connectivity and productivity arguments seem relatively weak.-

Professor Lorraine Whitmarsh MBE is an environmental psychologist and Director of the Centre for Climate Change and Social Transformations (CAST).

She said: -This decision beggars belief. Expanding Bristol airport will lead to a huge increase in flying - the most polluting form of transport. Tackling the climate crisis requires reducing - not increasing - how much we fly. This decision goes against local wishes and completely undermines UK claims to be climate leaders - all the more shameful while our nation holds the COP presidency to lead global efforts to cut emissions.-

See our full list of climate change experts