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Independent NEF report challenges claims made by Bristol airport

An independent study, commissioned for CPRE by the independent think tank, the New Economics Foundation, casts major doubt on the potential economic benefits claimed for the proposed expansion of Bristol Airport.

The study’s conclusions about the development include:

  • It is incompatible with the recent commitment by the UK Government to adopt a target of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050;
  • The economic benefits claimed for the West of England have been overstated by almost 50%;
  • The economic benefits claimed for the wider South West Region and Wales have been overstated by as much as 70%;
  • Much of the methodology used by the Airport’s advisors appears to be inconsistent with methods recommended and used nationally;
  • National growth models, set out by the Department of Transport, estimate air traffic growth at Bristol Airport to reach 8.5 million by 2030, not the 12 million stated by Bristol Airport;
  • The recently approved Heathrow Airport expansion plans are projected, by the Department for Transport, to reduce air traffic growth at Bristol Airport by around 1 million passengers;
  • Most of the additional air traffic claimed by Bristol Airport is likely to come from ‘displaced’ activity, for example, another local airport, despite significant extra capacity available at other South West and Welsh airports.

Download our press release

Evaluating the case for expansion of Bristol Airport

Added 18 January 2021
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