The Stop Bristol Airport Expansion (SBAEx) campaign group has expressed its joy at the decision by North Somerset Council’s planning committee to reject the airport’s proposals to expand.

In a resounding victory for the campaigners, the committee turned down Bristol Airport’s plans by a majority of 18 to seven with one abstention.

Those opposed to the expansion had been waiting inside and outside Weston-super-Mare’s Town Hall, and a huge cheer erupted when the decision was broadcast.

The material reasons for refusal were that some environmental issues were not resolved, that the economic benefits did not outweigh environmental harm, the potential adverse effects on heath and wellbeing due to noise and emissions.

Professor John Adams of SBAEx said: “We are delighted that our councillors have listened to what the people want and had the courage and foresight to act upon it. This is a victory for the planet and the people over corporate greed.

“We congratulate councillors for taking on board the views of the officers but coming to their own independent conclusions within existing legal framework.

“This is probably the most important decision the council will ever have to make and we applaud our councillors for standing up against the Airport and its owners, who have thrown vast resources at the expansion plans without regard for the damage they would cause.

“We’re incredibly proud of all those people who gave up their time, energy and skills to support the campaign against expansion and grateful to everyone who helped in whatever way.”

Around 78 per cent (8,909) of the 11,485 comments posted on North Somerset Council’s website were opposed to expansion, many on the grounds of climate change but others were worried about noise, light and air pollution, traffic congestion and the parking sprawl on greenbelt land.

Opposition came from sources as diverse as Dr Liam Fox, Conservative MP for North Somerset, and Bristol music collective and eco-warriors Massive Attack.

This article first appeared in the Independent. To get the latest articles when they appear, buy the print edition every Sunday or subscribe to our online edition HERE.