This Council does not believe that expansion of Bristol International Airport is necessary for the economic success of Bristol, nor does it believe it is compatible with the target of 80% cuts in greenhouse gas emissions introduced by the Climate Change Act 2008.....As expected the motion was supported by the Lib-Dems but then defeated by a Labour 'wrecking amendment' which was voted through with Conservative support. A familiar pattern, mirroring the events of exactly one year ago when Charlie's motion to 'save the Railway Path' was supported by the Lib-Dems and then defeated by a Labour wrecking amendment supported by the Tories.
However these debates are by no means a waste of time. On each occasion the overall agenda moves forward a few more inches. The Green Party position gains credibility, the Lib-Dems move towards a greener agenda, the Labour Party are exposed as fundamentally anti-environmental (clumsy word that) and the Conservatives are shown to be largely bereft of environmental awareness despite Cameron's efforts.
Whether such inching forward will lead us to a sustainable model of social and economic organisation in time to avert the worst effects of Climate Change is doubtful, but change for the most part consists of such modest adjustments. We either support it, ignore it or oppose it. So let's give credit to those who have supported change in this case, to Charlie Bolton for tabling the motion and to the Lib-Dems for supporting it.
I was planning to continue this post with an exploration of the issues, but they are too complex to be touched on lightly. Don't underestimate the difficulty of this issue for politicians, especially those appealing for support from a broader constituency than the Green Party. Few of us have not taken advantage of the opportunities for cheap and fast travel afforded by Bristol Airport and many of us regard it as our gateway to the wider world. The contradictions with sustainability cannot any longer be brushed aside.