Inspector at Bristol Airport expansion inquiry says views of the…

inspector-at-bristol-airport-expansion-inquiry-says-views-of-the…

Inspector at Bristol Airport expansion inquiry says views of the…

Inspector at Bristol Airport expansion inquiry says views of the public will be properly taken into account
2021-08-01 16:40:00
The public inquiry into the possible future expansion of Bristol airport started on 22nd July and is expected to last for 10 weeks. There are concerns, as at many inquiries, that the views of the public will not be taken into account, and not fully considered. Campaigners have warned that ignoring thousands of comments opposing the expansion of Bristol Airport, from residents and others, would damage public trust and threaten the integrity of local democracy.  However, planning inspector Phillip Ware said: “We’ve read an enormous amount of written material that’s come in from people for and against. We’ve obviously got a lot of people appearing at the inquiry in person and virtually.  It is absolutely not a tick-box exercise.  We will be dealing with the public views in our decision whichever way the decision goes.”  Green MP Caroline Lucas said: “Local democracy thoroughly considered the airport’s plans and decided against them and despite this the airport has now ignored these voices and called for this appeal. Now not only does that threaten to override local democracy, it also threatens the efforts that local communities and councils are trying to take to address the climate crisis themselves.” .Tweet   Public views on Bristol Airport expansion won’t fall on deaf ears, inspectors confirm Heartfelt pleas and reasoned arguments were heard in the first week of the inquiry By Stephen Sumner, Local Democracy Reporter (Somerset Live) 29 JUL 2021 Ignoring thousands of comments on the expansion of Bristol Airport would damage public trust and threaten the integrity of local democracy, campaigners have warned. Impassioned residents and expert witnesses have clocked up more than 24 hours of testimonies since the 10-week inquiry opened last week. The planning inspectors hearing the appeal have given assurances it will not be a “tick-box” exercise and said the verbal and written submissions will be taken into account when they decide to uphold or overturn North Somerset Council’s decision. The airport – which wants to boost passenger numbers from 10million to 12million a year – has complained it was treated unfairly by the authority and put to substantial cost by its “wrong and unreasonable” behaviour. Speaking at the inquiry, Butcombe resident John Adams from the Stop Bristol Airport Expansion campaign group said: “This planning application and now the appeal against its refusal has aroused widespread public interest in deep passion. “We can find little reassurance that there is a sound transparent mechanism through which public opinion articulated so widely over many months will play a significant role in the decision-making process. “Evidence of the weight of public opinion is very material to the decisions of this inquiry and should therefore play a major role in the decision-making process. “Without transparency it’s difficult to sway to scepticism expressed in some quarters who see this inquiry or might see this inquiry as a bureaucratic tick-box exercise designed to reign in the willful and unruly tendencies of local democracy. “If this inquiry were simply a technical exercise the guidelines and the extensive expensive consultation will be revealed as a simple cosmetic. “This will constitute a major and cynical abuse of public trust in the planning procedure with wider implications for the integrity of local democracy.” Planning inspector Phillip Ware replied: “We’ve read an enormous amount of written material that’s come in from people for

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