Bath and North East Somerset Council has formally objected to Bristol Airport’s expansion plans.
The transport hub in North Somerset wants to boost passenger numbers to 12 million by 2026 and 20 million by the mid-2040s.
But B&NES Council members said in March the proposals were incompatible with the authority’s own aims of being carbon neutral by 2030 as they declared a climate emergency.
It has now submitted a formal objection that focuses on the impact the increased airport traffic will have on roads in Bath and North East Somerset.
The objection letter says: “There remains a significant concern that the proposed mitigation measures may not be able to resolve the existing problems experienced on the A38 road corridor, and this would result in traffic diverting through alternative routes.
“This includes the B3130 road corridor and surrounding routes.”
It adds: “To ensure that the potential traffic impacts of the airport expansion are managed, it is critical that active and effective measures are included to provide viable public transport connections to the airport site.”
Councillor Robin Moss’ Labour group led calls in March for B&NES Council to oppose the expansion of Bristol Airport.
He said this week the response gives the impression that, if the parking and transport issues were to be addressed, the authority would support the proposed expansion.
Mr Moss said: “The response goes nowhere near far enough as it completely ignores the decision taken by the council at its meeting in March, when it was agreed, as part of the debate on declaring a climate emergency, to oppose unconditionally the expansion of Bristol Airport because of the impact of air travel on climate change.
“If we are even to begin to address the climate emergency we need to be prepared to take tough decisions right now and not kick the can down the road.”
Former Labour councillor Joe Rayment, who proposed that B&NES Council opposed the expansion of Bristol Airport, added: “I think it’s disappointing that this new Liberal Democrat administration have not made any objection on the grounds that increasing air travel is a massive backwards step in tackling climate change.
“That’s the really big problem with expansion of this or any airport and what should be in the mind of anyone making a decision on expansion.”
Tim Ball, the Liberal Democrat cabinet member for housing, planning and economic development, said the authority had assessed highways as a grounds to object to the application, based on current planning policies.
Sarah Warren, the cabinet member for climate emergency and neighbourhoods, added: “The council has declared a climate emergency and is committed to providing leadership to enable carbon neutrality by 2030 in Bath and North East Somerset.
“The declaration included opposition to Bristol Airport expansion, as this is incompatible with that goal.
“We have created a cabinet portfolio specifically for climate emergency and every council decision will now be assessed for how it delivers on our climate emergency commitments.
“We will soon be laying out the council’s approach to the climate emergency declaration in more detail, including the commitment to oppose Bristol Airport expansion.”
The fate of the planning application will be decided by North Somerset Council.
Stephen Sumner, Local Democracy Reporter