Bristol Airport’s operators have confirmed they will appeal a decision to refuse its expansion plan.
Airport bosses want to build a new car park and transport hub to boost the number of travellers from 10 to 12m a year.
North Somerset Council rejected the application in February saying it would be harmful to the environment.
A spokesman for the Stop Bristol Airport Expansion campaign described the appeal as a “slap in the face”.
The council said it will defend its position “vigorously”.
Bristol Airport said opting to reject the planning application was contrary to the recommendation of its own planning officers.
The decision will now move to a national level and will be made by an independent planning inspector, or, if the appeal is recovered, by the Government.
Councillors at North Somerset had refused Bristol Airport’s expansion application by 18 votes to seven.
The application had some 8,800 objections from members of the public and 2,400 messages of support.
Bristol Airport claimed the plans will offer passengers more routes and flights from the South West, create jobs, and attract investment as well as stopping “millions of people” from the region driving to London airports.
Chief executive David Lees said the sector has been operating at “close to capacity” for some time and expansion at regional airports will allow growth to benefit all regions across the UK.
North Somerset Council said that following the decision in February to reject the plans a special meeting of its Planning and Regulatory committee was held in March confirming the decision.
Professor John Adams, a member of the advisory group for the Stop Bristol Airport Expansion campaign, described the appeal as “incomprehensible” when the council turned down the application for “very good reasons”.
“We’re obviously very disappointed,” he added.
“The airport has gone in the face of popular opinion, and democratic opinion in the most extraordinary way.”