‘Bristol Arena and airport expansion should not go ahead’ says Extinction Rebellion representative on Bristol panel

bristol arena and airport expansion should not go ahead says extinction rebellion representative on bristol panel - 'Bristol Arena and airport expansion should not go ahead' says Extinction Rebellion representative on Bristol panel

Bristol’s long-awaited arena and planned airport expansion should not go ahead if the city hopes to reach its target of becoming carbon neutral by 2030, an expert claimed in a discussion around ‘building homes in a climate emergency’ this evening.

Experts at tonight’s (November 6) Bristol Question Time – an event organised by the Bristol City Council and Bristol Live to discuss a range of issues which affect our city – argued huge lifestyle changes were needed if we are going to tackle the climate emergency.

Anneka Sutcliffe, who represents Extinction Rebellion and was one of this evening’s panelists, said priorities needed to be made and luxuries such as building a new arena should be scrapped.

bristol arena and airport expansion should not go ahead says extinction rebellion representative on bristol panel 2 - 'Bristol Arena and airport expansion should not go ahead' says Extinction Rebellion representative on Bristol panel

From left to right: Juliet Bidgood, Marvin Rees, Richard Pancost, Mike Norton and Anneka Sutcliffe at the Bristol Question Time debate (Image: Bristol Live)

“With luxuries and the things we desire, we have to ask ‘should they be a priority to us at this time?” Anneka told the meeting hosted at the University of Bristol’s mathematics building.

“During this emergency we will face big issues.

“We have to prioritise feeding each other and places for people to live.”

Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees, who was also on tonight’s panel, argued that if Bristol Airport did not expand then there could be worse ramifications on the environment.

He said the number of people who fly is set to increase over the next decade and if our city’s airport did not expand, residents would travel to Birmingham or London for their flights which would only add to the carbon output.

“I don’t know if we will get change within the time frame,” said Mr Rees. “It’s a balance of risks -there are a number of risks that come into play if the number of people actually doesn’t come down.

 

“The consequences will be significant, it could have a huge impact on our climate if we get it wrong.”

Anneka responded that Bristol should not be scared to be leading the way and making a stand against people’s flying habits in the hope other cities would follow.

Tonight’s discussion focused on ‘building homes in a climate emergency’ but during previous Bristol Question Time panels transport, public health and the economy have all been debated.

Mr Rees said his main focus for tackling the city’s housing crisis was building homes ‘centrally, densely and high’.

It’s estimated 100,000 more people will be living in Bristol in the next 25 years.

“We need all the tools in our kit to tackle this housing crisis,” said Mr Rees.

“I’m not saying every development will be a high rise but we need that tool.”

Richard Pancost, head of the school of earth sciences at the university, told the meeting building low carbon houses was important but it was also crucial people cut down on what they bought.

And Juliet Bidgood, architect/urban designer argued the technology was already in place for carbon neutral homes but what was needed now is the government’s backing.

 

She said: “The answer is legislation. We could have been building carbon neutral homes since 2016.

“In 2016 David Cameron said ‘I would like to get rid of all that green crap’.”

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